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."

Saturday, November 08, 2014

पुलंचे गुडघे, पाठ, पाऊस, प्रभाकर कारेकर...To Perish or to Live in Pain?

Today November 8 2014 is 95th Birth Anniversary of P L Deshpande (पु ल देशपांडे)


Abul Ala al-Ma’arri (973-1058), 'The Epistle of Forgiveness':

"...Over many a race the sun’s bright net was spread

And loosed their pearls nor left them even a thread.

This dire world delights us, though all sup –

All whom she mothers – from one mortal cup.

Choose from two ills: which rather in the main

Suits you? – to perish or to live in pain?..."

To perish or to live in pain?

Weather patterns are certainly changing across India. I don't know how they will look in the long run but one senses the big change alright.

The late P L Deshpande (1919-2000) suffered (a kind of) arthritis for a number of years. He of course made fun of it, at least, in public.

In one of the best pieces of humour I have heard, he once said that his joint started acting up even when he heard  Marathi song "Nabh Meghani Akramile" (नभ मेघांनी आक्रमिले), sung by Prabhakar Karekar (प्रभाकर कारेकर), from one of the most popular Marathi plays- 'Sangit Saubhadra' (संगीत सौभद्र), 1882 by Annasaheb Kirloskar (अण्णासाहेब किर्लोस्कर).

'Nabh Meghani Akramile' translates as 'the sky is invaded by clouds'.

When I heard the joke first time, I realised what  funny head the late Mr. Deshpande carried.

I often remember Pu La for something or the other. I don't own most of his books. I mayn't have read his book for a very long time now but he remains an integral part of my ecosystem.

I remember in one of his TV interviews, in a kind of response to his wife's autobiographical, rather grim, book ('Aahe Manohar Tari' आहे मनोहर तरी), not one of my favorites, he said : "मला उदास-बिदास  काही वाटत नाही… " (I don't feel depressed etc.)

It was funny but said with such conviction, I felt it deep inside me and has stayed there since then. I feel he never took himself seriously, an attribute most middle-class Maharashtrians seriously lack. Most of them, especially from  the writing/talking community, are full of themselves.

Let me now return to the invasion of clouds and arthritis.

WSJ on October 14 2013 reports:

"The Wolff family of Paramus, N.J., was eyeing the gathering clouds and debating whether to cancel a planned park trip when 6-year-old Leora piped up with an idea: "Let's call Grandma. Her knees always know when it's going to rain!"

Leora's grandmother, Esther Polatsek, says she started being sensitive to the weather in her 20s, when a fracture in her foot would ache whenever a snowstorm approached. Now 66 and plagued by rheumatoid arthritis, Mrs. Polatsek says she suffers flare-ups whenever the weather is about to change..."

I recently bought my favorite book of PLD:  "Nasti Uthathev" (नस्ती उठाठेव), first published in 1952. ["tyache vyavachhedak lakshan" (त्याचे व्यवच्छेदक लक्षण), an essay in there, is one of the best pieces of comic writing I have ever read]

The cover is by Vasant Sarwate (वसंत सरवटे). The subject of the picture is 'Majhi Path Dharate" (माझी पाठ धरते)-  my back sprains!


No comments: