Nuggets and Aphorisms

Food for thought. These first appeared in Amit Varma's blog, India Uncut

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


She felt terribly sorry for people who suffered from constipation, and she knew that there were many who did. There were probably enough of them to form a political party -- with a chance of government perhaps -- but what would such a party do if it was in power? Nothing, she imagined. It would try to pass legislation, but would fail.
From "The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency" by Alexander McCall Smith. An utterly charming book.
amit varma, 1:36 PM| write to me | email this to a friend | permalink | homepage |

Friday, July 22, 2005

Trouble in the next world

You just wait for the next world, you civilians, then we clergy will show you who's going to be saved. You may have the upper hand now but later on you're really going to be in the shit.
Père Marais, a French priest, teasing Julian Barnes about his atheism during a stint Barnes had as a lecteur d'anglais at the Collège Saint-Martin in Rennes in 1966-67. Quoted in Barnes's fine book of essays on France, "Something to Declare".

I'm an atheist, by the way, and I think we're all in the shit. Let's have fun while it lasts.
amit varma, 5:01 AM| write to me | email this to a friend | permalink | homepage |

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

A saint in every dream

And they all pretend they're Orphans
And their memory's like a train
You can see it getting smaller as it pulls away
And the things you can't remember
Tell the things you can't forget
That history puts a saint in every dream
From "Time" by Tom Waits. It's track 9 of Raindogs, one of Waits's finest albums, and its lyrics contain some haunting images, though they seem to mean nothing overall. I also love the bit where Waits sings that "the wind is making speeches/ And the rain sounds like a round of applause." Lovely stuff.

And while I'm on Waits, here's a bonus nugget from another great song called "I Don't Wanna Grow Up", from the album Bone Machine:
Well when I see my parents fight
I don't wanna grow up
They all go out and drinking all night
And I don't wanna grow up
I'd rather stay here in my room
Nothin' out there but sad and gloom
I don't wanna live in a big old Tomb
On Grand Street

When I see the 5 o'clock news
I don't wanna grow up
Comb their hair and shine their shoes
I don't wanna grow up
Stay around in my old hometown
I don't wanna put no money down
I don't wanna get me a big old loan
Work them fingers to the bone
I don't wanna float a broom
Fall in and get married then boom
How the hell did I get here so soon
I don't wanna grow up
Me neither, but it's too late.
amit varma, 11:40 AM| write to me | email this to a friend | permalink | homepage |

Monday, July 18, 2005


[T]he new American home is a residential SUV.
Robert Samuelson, in a fine article on homes in America.
amit varma, 10:00 AM| write to me | email this to a friend | permalink | homepage |

Sunday, July 03, 2005

The invisible writer

I believe that writers lose a lot when they are seen in the flesh. In the old days the really popular writers were totally anonymous, just a name on the book cover, and this gave them an extraordinary mystique. [...] I believe that this is the ideal condition for a writer, close to anonymity: that is when his maximum authority develops, when the writer does not have a face, a presence, but the world he portrays takes up the whole picture. Like Shakespeare...
Italo Calvino, in "Hermit in Paris: Autobiographical Writings".
amit varma, 12:19 AM| write to me | email this to a friend | permalink | homepage |