मेघदूत: "नीचैर्गच्छत्युपरि च दशा चक्रनेमिक्रमेण"

समर्थ शिष्या अक्का : "स्वामीच्या कृपाप्रसादे हे सर्व नश्वर आहे असे समजले. पण या नश्वरात तमाशा बहुत आहे."

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.”

Friedrich Nietzsche: “Everybody wants the same, everybody is the same: whoever feels different goes voluntarily into a madhouse.”

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);...”

सदानंद रेगे:
"... पण तुकारामाची गाथा ज्या धुंदीनं आजपर्यंत वाचली जात होती ती धुंदी माझ्याकडे नाहीय. ती मला येऊच शकत नाही याचं कारण स्वभावतःच मी नास्तिक आहे."
".. त्यामुळं आपण त्या दारिद्र्याच्या अनुभवापलीकडे जाऊच शकत नाही. तुम्ही जर अलीकडची सगळी पुस्तके पाहिलीत...तर त्यांच्यामध्ये त्याच्याखेरीज दुसरं काही नाहीच आहे. म्हणजे माणसांच्या नात्यानात्यांतील जी सूक्ष्मता आहे ती क्वचित चितारलेली तुम्हाला दिसेल. कारण हा जो अनुभव आहे... आपले जे अनुभव आहेत ते ढोबळ प्रकारचे आहेत....."

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, September 29, 2018

Charles Addams 30th Death Anniversary


Robert Mankoff answering the question "What influence has Charles Addams’s work had on cartooning and American humor?":
"I think his influence is, like the man, largish. He tapped into that vein of American gothic that has a touch of paranoia about it, seeing behind every comforting façade the uncomfortable truth about the duality of human nature. But where Gothic literature usually combined these themes with romance, Addams made the horror hilarious: disturbing, but at the same time friendly, identifiable, and acceptable. In cartooning, you can see the direct influence of his work in someone like Gahan Wilson, and in many other cartoonists. Horror films that combine humor with horror, such as “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” with its wise-cracking Freddy Krueger, are also in his debt. And, of course, Addams’s humor was “black” and “sick” before those terms applied.

But I think his influence extends beyond the horror genre, to humor not as a comforting “laughter is the best medicine” anodyne but as something deeply skeptical of the purported values of middle-class American life. By making us laugh at, and with, his fiendish protagonists, he makes us temporarily share their values, and doubt our own."

Charles McGrath:
“Punch failed, moreover, to produce anyone on the order of a Saul Steinberg, a Peter Arno, a Charles Addams — an artist who raised cartooning to something approximating fine art.” 

Andrew Stark:
“....The mix, in Charles Addams's world, of virtue and "evil"—of love and sadism, of the grotesque and the homespun—makes his drawings, taken as a whole, much richer than cartoons aimed at simple gags and artistically more nuanced—if unsettlingly incomplete. Addams furnishes a perspective on our own world, too: a world in which the average human has learned to be physically nonviolent in light of our physical fragility and emotionally intact (more or less) in the face of the emotional abuse that life regularly hurls our way.
We are lucky in our own physical and emotional ecology. Ours may not be the best of all worlds. But Addams's inability to realize the alternative fully suggests that it may be the best of all possible worlds. One of the signs of genius is that an artist sheds new light on the human condition. Or, in Addams's case, casts new shadows....”

"Medusa for Haircut"

The New Yorker,  August 15 1936

The New Yorker, February 9 1946

२०व्या शतकातील एका सर्वोत्कृष्ट व्यंगचित्रकाराबद्दल काय लिहायच?...... त्यांची अनेक कार्टून ह्या ब्लॉगवर आली आहेत.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

पद्मा सहस्रबुद्धे- त्या चारचौघी...Padma Sahasrabuddhe's Four Women

#PadmaSahasrabuddhe #VasantSahasrabuddhe  #सहस्त्रबुद्धे #वाङ्मयशोभा

रत्नाकर मतकरी, लोकसत्ता , नोव्हेंबर २०१२:
"...पुस्तक पाहताना पहिल्या क्षणीच ज्यांच्या कर्तृत्वाचा साक्षात्कार होतो, त्या माझ्या उपकारकर्त्यांचा आता अगदी शेवटी उल्लेख करतो. हे आहेत अर्थपूर्ण, आकर्षक मुखपृष्ठं तयार करून पुस्तकाला चेहरा देणारे कसबी चित्रकार. माझं भाग्य थोर म्हणून माझ्या पुस्तकांना वसंत सरवटे, श्याम जोशी, रघुवीर तळाशीलकर, पद्मा सहस्रबुद्धे, सुभाष अवचट, पुंडलिक वझे, साईनाथ रावराणे, कमल शेडगे आणि अर्थातच चंद्रमोहन कुलकर्णी या सर्वच काळात आधुनिक ठरलेल्या थोर चित्रकारांची मुखपृष्ठं लाभली!..."

पद्मा , सौ पद्मा म्हणजेच पद्मा सहस्त्रबुद्धे (Padma Sahasrabuddhe) .... कितीतरी मराठी पुस्तकांची उत्कृष्ट मुखपृष्ठे त्यांनी केली आहेत ... त्यांनी आणि वसंत सहस्रबुद्धेंनी कितीतरी वर्षे 'वाङ्मय शोभा' सजवले ... (पहा http://searchingforlaugh.blogspot.com/…/mukhprushtha-shobha…)

काही वर्षांपूर्वीच माझ्याघरी एकदा आले असता कै वसंत सरवटेंनी सुद्धा पद्मा सहस्त्रबुद्धे यांच्या कामाची खूप तारीफ केली होती.

सर्व चित्रांसाठी कृतज्ञता: पद्मा सहस्त्रबुद्धे, वाङ्मय शोभा, बुकगंगा.कॉम

हे त्यांचे चित्र मला फार आवडले.. हा जो मॉडर्न लुक त्यांनी त्या स्त्रीला दिला आहे तो त्याकाळी (१९७३) भारतात प्रचलीत नव्हता....हिंदी सिनेमातील त्याकाळातील स्त्रिया पहा .... नूतन, गीताबाली , नर्गिस , मधुबाला , मीनाकुमारी नंतरचा काळ .... केसाचे घोसले... स्लीव्हलेस... मोठ्या आयलॅशेस.... कृत्रीम पणे बोलणे ... कानात, गळ्यात मोठ , बटबटीत ....कपाळावर कुंकू नाही...
याउलट या चित्रात ... मंद लिपस्टिक, केस स्टायलिश पण कॉमिक नाहीत, बाह्यांचे ब्लॉउज , न बडबड करता विचाराधीन ,कानात कुड्या, गळा मोकळा....डिस्प्रपोर्शनेटली मोठी अंगठी ...कपाळावर कुंकू ...
कोण असेल श्रीमती पद्माच्या डोळ्यासमोर ?

Saturday, September 22, 2018

New Age Trophy Hunters of Pune Roads: World Car Free Day


Today September 22 2018 is World Car Free Day.

In 2017, our building neighbor, Mr. Deshpande, about 60,  who had just retired, was killed in a hit-and-run accident, in a broad daylight, in a very crowded square, not too far from where we live in a Pune suburban. 

His 'hunter' is still on the loose.

 The Spectator, July 2013

If you still have NOT, please note the human trophy head on the wall

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

समुद्, अकिलीस आणि जीएंचे अस्तिस्तोत्र.... What Does Sea Make Of It All?

जी ए कुलकर्णी : 
"... समुद्राचा अवजड करडा पडदा स्थिर आहे. त्याच्यात आपली प्रतिबिंबे आहेत म्हणून आपण अस्तित्वात आहो  असे निःशंकपणे खडकांना वाटते. व  ते अलिप्तपणे उभे आहेत. 
        समुद्र केवळ निरीक्षक आहे..."
('अस्तिस्तोत्र', १९७१, 'सांजशकुन', १९७५,२०१५)
Friedrich Nietzsche:

“How differently the Greeks must have viewed their natural world, since their eyes were blind to blue and green, and they would see instead of the former a deeper brown, and yellow instead of the latter (and for instance they also would use the same word for the colour of dark hair, that of the corn-flower, and that of the southern sea; and again, they would employ exactly the same word for the colour of the greenest plants and of the human skin, of honey and of the yellow resins: so that their greatest painters reproduced the world they lived in only in black, white, red, and yellow).”

Maria Michela Sassi:

“In trying to see the world through Greek eyes, the Newtonian view is only somewhat useful. We need to supplement it with the Greeks’ own colour theories, and to examine the way in which they actually tried to describe their world. Without this, the crucial role of light and brightness in their chromatic vision would be lost, as would any chance to make sense of the mobility and fluidity of their chromatic vocabulary. If we rely only on the mathematical abstractions of Newton’s optics, it will be impossible to imagine what the Greeks saw when they stood on their shores, gazing out upon the porphureos sea stretching into the distant horizon.”

 "What do you think the sea makes of it all, Patroclus? We come here, we fight, we bleed, patch up . . fight again. To us, it's everything. But to the sea?"

David Gyasi, left, as Achilles and Lemogang Tsipa as Patroclus in 'Troy: Fall of a City', 2018


Sunday, September 16, 2018

Where and How Is Nirav Modi?


Artist: Alex Gregory , The New Yorker, September 2018

Sure, honey....then I go design PNB's LoU's.....

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Self-Honking Cars: Something Badly Needed In Pune!


The Times of India, September 2 2018: "Pune: The city will observe the ‘no horn day’ on September 12"


“These self-honking cars make it so much easier to focus on driving.” 

 Artist: Drew Dernavich , The New Yorker, March 2015

I have always thought that most Pune motor vehicles were self-honking already....therefore I did not quite think this could be the subject of a cartoon. 

10 Years : David Foster Wallace


David Foster Wallace died 10 years ago, on September 12 2008.


Ostap Karmodi : A popular modern Russian writer, Viktor Pelevin, has said that the main character of much of modern cinema and pop-literature—all of pop-culture—is a black briefcase full of money. We mostly follow its fate, and the fates of the other characters depend on it. 

David Foster Wallace : I’ve heard about Viktor Pelevin, and everything I’ve heard about him is that he’s very smart and very astute. I think one reason his image is so funny is that it’s somewhat accurate. At least here in America, we’re in a time that’s very, very cynical. So that when you have a piece of pop-culture that has a very virtuous person or a hero, people see those qualities much more as presentations by someone who’s trying to get something, whether money or approval, than true human virtue or true qualities. One consequence of what American scholars call a post-modern era is that everyone has seen so many performances, that American viewers and American readers, we simply assume now that everything is a performance and it’s strategic and it’s tactical. It’s a very sad situation and I think the chances are that nations go through periods of great idealism and great cynicism, and that America and Europe, at least Western Europe right now, are in periods of great cynicism.....”    (September 2006)

Artist: Benjamin Schwartz, The New Yorker, April 2018

Friday, September 07, 2018

@IIT, Madras: ...You Heard A Deer Fart!

IIT, Madras turned 60 on July 31 2018

I have probably mentioned on this blog how common the deer were (say like stray dogs in Pune today or donkeys and buffaloes  in Miraj) on IIT Madras campus and how they suffered during a particularly severe drought of 1982-1983.

Lots of IITians, as usual, left India for good at the end of that academic year. Deer had no such choice. They could either die, get poached or survive and procreate.

One of the ways they survived (or died) was eating whatever junk (if any)- for instance thick paper carton of Surf washing powder- I (and people like me) threw outside our rooms at Brahmputra hostel.

Then I never had a camera and there never was any urge to capture any moment either. But I never saw any of them inside the hostel.

Photo courtesy: Varun Jain
In October 2016, I saw the above image on IIT Madras' FB page....I used to stay in one of such rooms on the third floor...and for a few weeks at least, there was a newly wed couple staying a couple of rooms away from my room. (By the way- they did not make any noises in the night unlike a typical hotel room in USA.)

Artist: James Thurber, The New Yorker, January 30 1932

Monday, September 03, 2018

असा मी.. तसा मी.. कसा मी कळेना.. Illusion of Selfhood and Paul Cézanne

  Self-portrait, 1883-1887

In a wonderful essay on Cézanne's art Jonathan Jones writes in The Guardian on August 11 2017:

"...In a beautiful pairing by the curators, Cézanne in 1885-6 portrays himself in a tall bowler hat (in French it’s a chapeau melon) looking from the side, as if he has just turned round and spotted himself. He looks displeased. This painting has a strong, solid, almost sculptural finish. But then he thinks again. In a second painting he has the same pose and hat but the image is dappled, incomplete, vanishing. Did he really see what he thought he saw? He’s uncertain now. Another unsettling reperception of his own image is a painting from about 1885 based on a photograph taken in 1872. Can the Cézanne who is painting it even be sure he is the same man he was 13 years earlier? He seems far from convinced. One eye in the portrait is almost closed. The figure is isolated in ghostly blue. Who was I, then?

Cézanne not only anticipates Picasso but also Proust and Joyce as he meditates on the nature of the self. We are not continuous beings, his portraits suggest. We are mysteries to ourselves and others, divided and fragmentary behind our masks. He is the true inventor both of modern art and the modern soul."

This reminded me of John Gray's writings:

"In (David) Hume’s view, we cannot even know that the external world really exists. Indeed we do not even know that we ourselves exist, since all we find when we look within is a bundle of sensations. Hume concluded that, knowing nothing, we must follow the ancient Greek Sceptics, and rely on nature and habit to guide our lives...
...For Hume, selfhood is only a rehearsal of continuities. As he wrote:
The mind is a kind of theatre, where several perceptions successively make their appearance; pass, re-pass, glide away, and mingle in an infinite variety of postures and situations. There is properly no simplicity in it at one time, nor identity in different; whatever natural propensity we have to imagine that simplicity and identity. The comparison of the theatre must not mislead us. They are the successive perceptions only, that constitute the mind; nor have we the most distant notion of the place, where these scenes are represented, or of the materials, of which this is compos’d.

Hume’s experience of finding no simplicity or identity in himself was also (Goronwy) Rees’s. In a fascinating memoir, Rees’s daughter confirms his account of himself as ‘Mr Nobody, a man without qualities, a person without a sense of “self”’. Rees’s experience may have been unusual in its intensity, as the name his daughter gave him suggests; but it is in no way abnormal. The discontinuities he perceived in himself are present in everyone. We are all bundles of sensations. The unified, continuous self that we encounter in everyday experience belongs in maya. We are programmed to perceive identity in ourselves, when in truth there is only change. We are hardwired for the illusion of self.
We cannot look steadily at the momentary world, for if we did we could not act. Nor can we observe the changes that are taking place incessantly in ourselves, for the self that witnesses them comes and goes in the blink of an eye. Selfhood is a side effect of the coarseness of consciousness; the inner life is too subtle and transient to be known to itself. But the sense of self has another source. Language begins in the play of animals and birds. So does the illusion of selfhood.

On watching two monkeys playing, Gregory Bateson wrote thus:
… this phenomenon, play, could only occur if the participant organisms were capable of some degree of meta-communication, i.e. of exchanging signals which would carry the message ‘this is play’.… Expanded, the statement ‘This is play’ looks something like this: ‘These actions in which we now engage do not denote what those actions for which they stand would denote.’
Bateson concluded:
Not only does the playful nip not denote what would be denoted by the bite for which it stands, but in addition, the bite itself is fictional. Not only do the playing animals not quite mean what they are saying, but they are usually communicating about something which does not exist.

Ravens have been recorded swooping over bands of gorillas, teasingly playing at attacking them. Again, they have been observed pretending to make a cache in which to hide food and then – when they believe they are unobserved – secreting it elsewhere. These birds show the ability to deceive that comes with the power of language. In this they are no different from humans. Where humans differ from ravens is that they use language to look back on their lives and call up a virtual self.

The illusion of enduring selfhood arises with speech. We acquire a sense of ourselves by our parents speaking to us in infancy; our memories are strung together by many bodily continuities, but also by our names; we contrive shifting histories of ourselves in a fitful interior monologue; we form a conception of having a lifetime ahead of us by using language to construct a variety of possible futures. By using language we have invented a fictive self, which we project into the past and the future – and even beyond the grave. The self we imagine surviving death is a phantom even in life.

Our fictive selves are frail constructions. The sense of I is dissolved or transformed in trance and dreams, weakened or destroyed in fever and madness. It is in abeyance when we are absorbed in action. We may forget it in ecstasy or contemplation. But it always returns. The dissolution of self that mystics seek comes only with death.

The I is a thing of the moment, and yet our lives are ruled by it. We cannot rid ourselves of this inexistent thing. In our normal awareness of the present moment the sensation of selfhood is unshakeable. This is the primordial human error, in virtue of which we pass our lives as in a dream."

('Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals')

“First, let him look at the night sky, so he’ll realize how insignificant he is.” 

Artist: Frank Cotham, The New Yorker, July 2015