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, 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'