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.”

W H Auden: "But in my arms till break of day / Let the living creature lie. / Mortal, guilty, but to me/ The entirely beautiful."

Will Self: “To attempt to write seriously is always, I feel, to fail – the disjunction between my beautifully sonorous, accurate and painfully affecting mental content, and the leaden, halting sentences on the page always seems a dreadful falling short. It is this failure – a ceaseless threnody keening through the writing mind – that dominates my working life, just as an overweening sense of not having loved with enough depth or recklessness or tenderness dominates my personal one.”

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."

Art Spiegelman: "You know words in a way are hitting you on the left side of your brain, music and visual arts hit on the right side of the brain, so the idea is to pummel you, to send you from left brain to right brain and back until you're as unbalanced as I am."

विलास सारंग: "संदर्भ कुठलेही असोत, संस्कृत, इंग्रजी, बुद्धिवादी, तांत्रिक, इतिहासाचे, खगोलशास्त्राचे, आधुनिक पदार्थविज्ञानाचे, शिवकालीन व पेशवाईतील बखरीचे, अगणित ज्ञानक्षेत्रांचे, अशा वैविध्यपूर्ण ज्ञानावर लेखन- विशेषत: कवितालेखन- उभं राहत."

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Agastya of 21st Century! Filling Up a Damn Dam

B R Ambedkar:

"To become a politician is like going to work in the drain."

Henry Miller:

"Often, when I listen to the radio, to a speech by one of our politicians, to a sermon by one of our religious maniacs, to a discourse by one of our eminent scholars, to an appeal by one of our men of good will, to the propaganda dined into us night and day by the advertising fiends, I wonder what the men of the coming century would think were they to listen in for just one evening."

विनोबा भावे (Vinoba Bhave):

"सबंध ज्ञानेश्वरीमध्ये तुम्हाला एकही कठोर शब्द सापडणार नाही...आमच्या साहित्याच्या उगमस्थानी इतके मार्दव आहे ही फार मोठी आनंदाची गोष्ट आहे..."

("You will not find a single hard word in the entire Dnyaneshwari...such tenderness lies at the beginning of our literature is a matter of great happiness...")

Joseph Brodsky:

"...Freedom is when you forget the spelling of the tyrant’s name..."

Agastya (also Agasti) was one of the Vedic Rishis (inspired poets); his name is given as the author of several hymns in the first of the 10 chapters of the Rigveda

Vinoba Bhave (विनोबा भावे)  has written a brilliant essay on him. Here is a part of the same:


['विनोबा सारस्वत' (Vinoba Saraswat) edited by राम शेवाळकर (Ram Shewalkar) 1987]

But today I remember him for another thing. 


"One story about Agastya goes that once the demons had taken refuge in the ocean and it was difficult for the gods to vanquish them, so they went to Sage Agastya for help. Then, after hearing the gods, the sage drank the entire ocean water and held it within him until the demons were destroyed. After the demons were destroyed, Devtas requested him to save the sea animals who were dying because of lack of water. At Devtas request Agastya Rishi released all the water as urine and that is why the sea water became salty."

It has happened before:  A great man has peed to fill up an ocean. 

Therefore, I wonder why another great man of this century can't do it again to fill up a damn dam.







Artist: Unknown, Courtesy: Blog http://maharishis.blogspot.in



Roger Ebert: Cartoon Caption Contest Will Miss You More than Films!

I have read a few film reviews of Mr. Ebert. In recent years, I have used them to decide whether to watch a film or not. (By the way- I was mildly surprised to see some Marathi newspapers reporting passing of Mr. Ebert. I wonder if any of them has ever printed a translation of his review.)

Mostly,  I have benefited from his advice.

I like what Maureen Dowd wrote about him  in The New York Times in September 2011:

"...Ebert likes movies about Good People who do the right thing, like “Casablanca”; Bad People who do the right thing, like “The Silence of the Lambs”; and Bad People who have a sense of humor, like “Goodfellas.”

He asserts that “modern actors are handicapped by the fact that their films are shot in color” rather than the more mysterious black and white. “Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet are, and will remain, more memorable than most of today’s superstars with their multimillion-dollar paychecks,” he writes.

He complains that his life “has been devoted in such large part to films of -worthlessness.”
Hollywood dialogue was once witty, intelligent, ironic, poetic, musical,” he says. “Today it is flat.” He mourns that “it sometimes seems as if the movies are more mediocre than ever, more craven and cowardly, more skillfully manufactured to pander to the lowest tastes instead of educating them.”..."

(From the list of movies above, I love Casablanca, I like Goodfellas and I don't like The Silence of the Lambs.)

..."it sometimes seems as if the movies are more mediocre than ever, more craven and cowardly, more skillfully manufactured to pander to the lowest tastes instead of educating them" is more true of Hindi films than Hollywood ones.

(Marathi films are slightly different. Ideas behind some of them are good but the final product that comes out on the screen- cinema-  is mediocre.  Marathi news TV, newspapers and people involved with the film try talking it up but it does not work for me. You don't laugh while promoting a comedy. No sermonising on your own love, happy marriage will help. It has to come from within of the watcher while watching your film.)

But I like another side of  the late Mr. Ebert more: a New Yorker  cartoon caption contestant. He won the contest after failing at 107 of them earlier.

Bob Mankoff has written about this on his blog in April 2011 and now after Mr. Ebert's death.

Following is one of Mr. Ebert's failed attempt and, it was a failure only because of the 'Caption Contest Board of Censors' at the New Yorker. 

(I wonder why it was not sent to Playboy. Playboy has published some great cartoons. Marathi Diwali magazine Awaaz would have probably published it.)

This picture lifted my spirit as much as the tray on that plane! I have not traveled on a plane since I saw this. If and when I do, I will remember this.


Drawing Artist: Leo Cullum (1942-2010), Caption Artist: Roger Ebert (1942-2013)