Sunday, August 24, 2003

From Henry Beard and Chris Cerf's The Official Politically Correct Dictionary and Handbook (1992):

Vertically challenged = short

Chronologically gifted = old

Terminally inconvenienced = dead

Involuntarily leisured = unemployed

Incompletely successful individual = a failure

Sobriety deprived = drunk

Not necessarily unconstitutional = clearly wrong, but not illegal.


‘And what is a genuine lunatic?

‘He is a man who prefers to go mad, in the social sense of the word, rather than forfeit a certain higher idea of human honor.

‘That's how society strangled all those it wanted to get rid of, or wanted to protect itself from, and put them in asylums, because they refused to be accomplices to a kind of lofty swill.

‘For a lunatic is a man that society does not wish to hear, but wants to prevent from uttering certain unbearable truths.’

- ANTONIN ARTAUD, "Van Gogh: The Man Suicided by Society," 1947

‘We are all born mad. Some remain so.’
- SAMUEL BECKETT, 'Waiting for Godot', 1955

‘Mad, adj. Affected with a high degree of intellectual independence; not conforming to standards of thought, speech and action derived by the conform[ists] from study of themselves; at odds with the majority; in short, unusual.’
- AMBROSE BIERCE, The Devil's Dictionary, 1911

‘The men who really believe in themselves are all in lunatic asylums.’
- G. K. CHESTERTON, Orthodoxy, 1909

‘It may be a question which is the worst delirium, that by which a man possessing some great truth has lost the use of his practical intellect, or that other widespread delirium, in which the mind is enslaved to the lowest cares and meanest aims, and all that is loftiest and greatest in the soul is stupefied and deadened in worldliness.’
- JAMES FREEMAN CLARKE, "Jones Very," 1839

‘Those whom God wishes to destroy, he first makes mad.’

‘You are mad, Paul! Your great learning is driving you mad!’
- FESTUS (Roman procurator in Judea, -62 A.D.), to Paul who was being held as a prisoner, Acts 26:24

‘For the nineteenth century, the initial model of madness would be to believe oneself to be God, while for the preceding centuries it had been to deny God.’
- MICHEL FOUCAULT, Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason, 1961

‘Madness is man's desperate attempt to reach transcendence, to rise beyond himself.’
- ABRAHAM JOSHUA HESCHEL, The Prophets, 1962

‘A fixed idea ends in madness or heroism.’
- VICTOR HUGO, Ninety-Three, 1879

‘Madness need not be all breakdown. It may also be a breakthrough. It is potentially liberation and renewal as well as enslavement and existential death.’
- R. D. LAING, The Politics of Experience, 1967

‘Having stripped myself of all illusions, I have gone mad.’
- FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE (1844-1900), written in an asylum, My Sister and I

(To be continued)slq

I’m looking for the best bargain on broadband. Asianet’s cable connexion is interesting, but just discovered a catch. I had thought a cable connexion had unlimited download (since it is called a permanent connexion). But the cheapest scheme – the one intended for home users – has a monthly download limit of 500 MB. I don’t know, but how much is half a gig? Suppose I listen to streaming audio from a webcast station for an hour a day. How many MB would that notch up? And also heard something about BSNL entering the fray with a characteristically (much) cheaper offer. Got to do a bit of digging on this issue. And read that someone in TVM had the consumer court order Asianet to refund his money for failure to fulfil their promise of ‘500 times faster’ connexions!

Been watching a lot of television nowadays. No films; just television. One of the passions I developed during my last days in Pune was The Economist – a fine newsmagazine, probably the best in the world. For a hundred rupees a month I could borrow the weekly issues fresh from the newsstand, for three days. Reading an issue cover to cover took up the best part of my weekend, but that was time damn well spent. Been looking for a substitute for that here, in another medium. BBC World does not have a daily capsule programme that sums up the news of the day. Their website mentions an international news programme at 0030 hrs IST, but that turned out to be only five days a week. They do however have a half-hour weekly summary of world events in ‘This Week’ (Sat 1900, and repeated). And CNN – against which I should confess an early bias – appears to have a pretty good current affairs programme named ‘Insight’ (Mon to Thu nights, 0230 hrs – yeah, the timer rec feature on the VCR comes handy), hosted by the earnest and searching Jonathan Mann. CNN also has ‘World Business This Week’ (Sat 0400).

Other programmes that caught my interest include:
Design 360 (CNN, Sun 1100): design, architecture, commercial art. Last week’s lead piece was on a celebrated Japanese architect, who happened to come in second in the competition for designing the replacement for NYC’s twin towers.
Click Online (BBC, Fri 0100 and repeated): computing, technology, the internet. The last edition had an informative piece on GPS and its new competition. The only hitch with this programme is that the presenters’ attempts to jazz it up come off too often as clunky.
Profiles (BBC, Fri 0300 and repeated): Caught just one episode but that one was really good. The series is made of profiles of eminent personalities by someone well-known in that field. The life and work of Chinua Achebe was explored through images of a changing Africa and an interview with the renowned author. He spoke of how it is possible for one people to use the power of story to gain dominance over another: smuggle into their consciousness a one-sided version of their history and destiny.

Hey, it’s been a while. But how things have changed in the meanwhile! I am back home. I get to return home after each day’s work, and what a difference that makes! And as for verdant Kerala, I think my longing had made Kerala greener in my mind. And, when you have to walk or ride along these messed-up roads, the rains are quite a different thing from what you think of it as you contemplate it serenely form the window.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

The things I did during my two month absence from salon.
Shifted my business from the city to the suburb. Very near to the Cochin University campus.
Removed one of my business associate from the partnership for unprofessional conducts in business.
Read the biography of the humanist thinker M Govindan.
Read the book 'Modern Painting' by the scholar Kesari Balakrishna Pillai.
Went back to my detailed study of Paul Gaugin and El Greco.
Read the book 'Kerala History' by sreeDhara Menon.
Completed The Roller coaster ride simulation.
Met a soft spoken guy named Jyothish- he is an animator. ( today i read a short story by him. It was good.)
Read a book with highly volatile content- 'Re-incarnation of Bharat' (The book is in Malayalam. the title is my translation) by Aurobindo.
Read the chapter on spinoza.(again!!!) from Will Durants story of philosophy. Fortunately didn't understand a thing.
Read the book 'Sree Narayana Guru'. (Biography)

So, from this shore, last two months was not that bad.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

welcome home Clement.

sorry i wasnt around for a while.

I will get back to you soon.

One question to Clement.

Does Kerala look more greener now?