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."

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

When All That Is Over, Will Rankala Be Still There?

Paul Kingsnorth: 

"What am I to do with feelings like these? Useless feelings in a world in which everything must be made useful. Sensibilities in a world of utility. Feelings like this provide no “solutions”. They build no new eco-homes, remove no carbon from the atmosphere. This is head-in-the-clouds stuff, as relevant to our busy, modern lives as the new moon or the date of Lughnasadh. Easy to ignore, easy to dismiss, like the places that inspire the feelings, like the world outside the bubble, like the people who have seen it, if only in brief flashes beyond the ridge of some dark line of hills."

('Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist', Orion Magazine, Jan/Feb 2012)

 In May 2013, I went to Kolhapur (कोल्हापूर) after almost a decade.

I visited Ambabai (अंबाबाई) temple.

It has now become very crowded for my taste. Although more majestic and elegantly beautiful than the most, once it was like a temple in my neighborhood where we loved to go as kids, the way we went to Dutt (दत्त)  temple at Miraj. Now, it's a destination for almost all  Hindu religious tourism. Commerce, wealth and security on display are overwhelming.

Is it better to meet Ambabai in one's heart?

As a kid,  I always wondered: if the main temple is so crowded, why are the most other temples on the campus so empty? Are other deities less important or less magnanimous? This time too I wondered the same because when we went to Shakambhari (शाकंभरी) temple, there was almost no one. Even the priest  was sitting outside.

Earlier, I visited  Rankala (रंकाळा). Once, I used to go there at least once a year. What a pleasure it was walking a couple of km to the lake (some of it on unpaved road) with my elder cousin - Diluappa (दिलुअप्पा) and loitering there for a while and breathing deep in that cool gust. I felt as if I never left the place...I felt 40 years younger.

There were kites/hawks  flying over, occasionally swooping in to pick up pieces of bread/ trash thrown by visitors into the water. But that act of vandalism by humans had no effect on me.  Rankala was simply overwhelmingly seductive...Ambabai's in her Temple/ All's right with the world!

 This is how H G Wells describes 'the end' in his ‘The Time Machine’:


“The darkness grew apace; a cold wind began to blow in freshening gusts from the east, and the showering white flakes in the air increased in number. From the edge of the sea came a ripple and whisper. Beyond these lifeless sounds the world was silent. Silent? It would be hard to convey the stillness of it. All the sounds of man, the bleating of sheep, the cries of birds, the hum of insects, the stir that makes the background of our lives—all that was over. As the darkness thickened, the eddying flakes grew more abundant, dancing before my eyes; and the cold of the air more intense. At last, one by one, swiftly, one after the other, the white peaks of the distant hills vanished into blackness. The breeze rose to a moaning wind. I saw the black central shadow of the eclipse sweeping towards me. In another moment the pale stars alone were visible. All else was rayless obscurity. The sky was absolutely black.”


When "All the sounds of man, the bleating of sheep, the cries of birds, the hum of insects, the stir that makes the background of our lives—all that was over" arrives, will Rankala still be there?

I hope so.



Artist: Les Edwards, 1979 portraying when 'all that was over'