G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

H. P. Lovecraft: "What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!"

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Sarang Chapalgaonkar... Who? केल नीट म्हणजे बराबर मझा येतो ...

"When the spring arrives
And I sit outside, working,
I am never bored.
With a chisel in hand
I can raise flowers from stones."  

(A Japanese Haiku quoted by the late N J Nanporia in his article on Japan in The Times of India dated around 1980)

Steve Rose, The Guardian, February 28 2013:

"..."Indian films have this obsession with hygienic clean spaces, even though the country's not so clean," says Anurag Kashyap. "They're either shot in the studios or shot in London, in America, in Switzerland – clean places. Everywhere except India." By contrast, Kashyap's latest movie, Gangs Of Wasseypur, seems determined to show the India you don't see in the movies. Wasseypur is a nondescript industrial town in Bihar, India's poorest region. And rather than drugs or casinos, these gangs are fighting for control of coal mines and scrap metal. It was filmed on bustling streets and industrial wastelands, even – since one of the movie's central clans are butchers by trade – an abattoir. "That was difficult," Kashyap recalls. "The smell was so bad. While we were shooting, 60 buffaloes and a camel got slaughtered before our eyes. I don't think any of us could eat meat for a month."..."

Sarang Chapalgaonkar (सारंग चपळगावकर),  for me Sarang-mama,  is dead. He died on December 20 2012. He was my wife's mother's maternal uncle (मामा).

He was an interesting, handsome  man...He was a groupie of  Pune city's one biographer V N Natu ('आधीच पुणे  गुलजार'  वि. ना. नातू.....Btw- I really like Natu's book)...Knowing my tastes, he strongly recommended to me Hari Narayan Apte's (हरि नारायण आपटे) book 'Madhali Sthiti' (मधली स्थिती). I have still not able to get hold of the book.

We could talk for hours on many subjects. Once he told me how the Dalits were not allowed to construct houses in a certain direction of the Pune city because the wind blew from that direction into the city!

He spent his entire working life- from 1942 for 39 years-  in Indian (central) railways. A few years go, he wrote a book- "Tikit Please" (तिकीट प्लीज)- based on his experiences there. It was only for private circulation.

It turned out to be a wonderful book. I finished it in one sitting. A lot of the then celebrities make guest-appearances in the book. Among them are Manohar Malgaonkar (मनोहर माळगावकर),  Bal Gandharva (बालगंधर्व)...

Mr. Malgaonkar presented him with his autographed book and Balgandharva treated him with great  sensitivity and affection . The latter experience made Sarang-mama cry and reading that made me cry! Another instance of Balgandharva's greatness.

But the best thing about the book comes in its foreword by the author:

"टी सी म्हणून साधारण वाटणाऱ्या नोकरीत मी अत्यंत स्वाभीमानाने व समाधानाने दिवस काढले. त्या नोकरीचा मला अद्याप अभिमान वाटतो."

("I spent days with dignity and satisfaction working in an ordinary sounding job like ticket-checker. I still feel proud of that job.")


How rarely I get to read such a sentiment in a native Indian language.

Reminded me of following set of dialogues:

",,,उषा: तुम्हांला सगळ्याचाच मझा वाटतो.

काकाजी: पाहिलं नीट म्हणजे बराबर मझा दिसतो. इंदूर स्टेशनात एकदा एक भंगी दोन लंब्या झाडू घेऊन कचरा काढीत होता. उषा, अरे ऐश्या झाडू फिरवीत होता, की तुझ्या सतीशला बॅट देखील फिरवता येणार नाही तशी."

("...Usha: You think everything is fun.

Kakaji: If you look carefully, you notice fun alright. At Indore station once a street-sweeper was sweeping using two long brooms. Usha, the way he was brandishing broom, your Satish would't be able to wave even a (cricket) bat.")

['Tujhe Ahe Tujapashi', 1957 (तुझें आहे तुजपाशीं) by P L Deshpande (पु  देशपांडे)]

So many books remain unwritten in Marathi....

Has there been a great Marathi book by a nurse? By a house-maid? By an under taker at crematorium?  By autopsy (post-mortem) conductors? By a butcher? By a person engaged in manual scavenging? By an auto-rickshaw or a tonga driver? By an ST bus conductor? By a postman? By a dangerous-chemical factory worker? By MSEDCL worker exposed to high-voltage live wires? By a coal-engine train driver?.....What 'Marathi' or language do they use on the job?

And I am not talking about some howling rebel (विद्रोही) books, not the kind whose authors are now 'parallel' celebrities making monthly/quarterly appearances on TV channels anchored by 'socialist' anchors,  but written matter-of-factly, making people appreciate: Despite all the likely misery of the job, I did it with quiet dignity and satisfaction and my job was perhaps as important as that of an IT professional or a journalist or a priest or a publisher or an artist or a doctor or an architect or a teacher or a lawyer or an ad-man or an actor or a writer or a builder or a politician or a broker or a pilot or a cricketer or Miss Beauty-queen or a TV anchor...