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."

Monday, November 10, 2014

Did Desai-bai Ever Hold a Cricket Bat or Wear a Hat?...काळा सूर्य आणि हॅट घालणारी बाई

Today November 10 2014 is 86th Birth Anniversary of Kamal Desai (कमल देसाई), author of 'Kala Surya aani hat ghalanari bai' ('काळा सूर्य आणि हॅट घालणारी बाई')- 'Black Sun and Hat Wearing Woman'

Sylvia Plath:

"...Widow. The bitter spider sits
And sits in the center of her loveless spokes.
Death is the dress she wears, her hat and collar.
The moth-face of her husband, moon white and ill,
Circles her like a prey she'd love to kill..."


 
Jonathan Yardley, May 31 2014:

"...(Rebecca) West was a feminist before the word had gained wide usage, but as a daughter of late Victorian and Edwardian England, she was a feminist with an asterisk. She “wrote angrily about the necessity of better working conditions for women,” yet “more than once she remarked to friends that there was nothing as sad and lonely as the lot of a woman who did not have a man.”..."

Our family called the late Ms. Kamal Desai:  'Desai-bai'.

On January 13 2013, this is what I wrote on a blog dedicated to Kamal Desai.

"I never commented on the Ms. Desai's art either on my blog or here because I never liked what she wrote. (Not that I have a read a lot written by her but whatever little I did.)

I did not like even her supposedly last essay- on Anil Awchat (अनिल अवचट)- in 'Lalit' Diwali (ललित दिवाळी) 2012.

But I liked her as a person.

She and our family went back a long way. We lived just 100 meters from her house in Miraj (मिरज). She and my father were colleagues at a Bhiwandi (भिवंडी) college and at one point we would have classified her as our good 'family friend'. 


She came to our house a few times in Miraj and I still remember a very pleasant evening our family spent on the terrace of Ms. Desai's house at Miraj.

I think her sister and very old mother (?) too were around. As a kid I liked her because she came across as funny.



 My father, she and another of their colleague saw a performance of celebrated Marathi play 'Natsamrat' (टसम्राट) in Mumbai, soon after its launch, around 1970 (?). My father later told me the kind of commentary she was doing while watching the play. She called my father 'GD'. She said something like this: "what are you watching so seriously GD? This all is xxxxxxxx!"

I know some of the family feuds she had to suffer. Various writers on her have alluded to them on the blog already referred to. In fact, I know a lot of gory details because once she came to our house and met my mother after an 'incident'...Very unpleasant. Almost unbelievable. But I won't recount them here.

I tried to meet her in Pune when Sadhana (साधना) award was bestowed on her. Just after the function, I touched her feet and tried to make small conversation. But she was lost somewhere. I realised I was unable to take the relationship forward.

I lost all the interest in her literature after reading Vilas Sarang's (विलास सारंग) criticism of her work (by the way, my father too never spoke about her writing but often spoke about her witticism),
('मराठी नवकादंबरी', 1983, 'अक्षरांचा श्रम केला', 2000). When you love Sarang's literary-critical writing, as I do, that is the price you pay. Now, there was no motivation to make even an attempt to read her work.

Today, I don't possess a single book written by Desai-bai. But I remember her as a very pleasant, funny personality."


I looked at the following picture in January 2014. Apart from realizing that my own batting stance was better than that, I thought of Desai-bai and wondered if she ever held a cricket bat in her hand. 

Or wear an actual hat? I never saw her wearing any.


Pictured: Virginia Woolf and her sister Vanessa playing cricket

Photo-artist: Not known to me; Year: Unknown to me

courtesy: the Paris Review and Facebook

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