Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Indifference and Despair

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Reading Arundhati Roy

[Excerpts from The God of Small Things; picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

He was exasperated because he didn't know what that look meant. He put it somewhere between indifference and despair. He didn't know that in some places, like the country that Rahel came from, various kinds of despair competed for primacy. And that personal despair could never be desperate enough.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

To Those Who Did Not Survive

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Other Memories
She has other...

After All These Years
It had been...

Very Young
A weak, watery moon...

A Rhodes Scholar
Chacko's room was...

Like a Passenger
Rahel drifted into...

No Locusts Stand I
Chacko told Rahel...

A Liquid Ache
Occasionally, when Ammu...

Comrade! Comrade!
People of the...

Very Quiet
On the roof...

An Accomplished Carpenter
Apart from his...

Blend into the Background
Over time he...

Scrambled Swirling
The world, locked...

The Only One
Never again will...

Suppressed Unhappiness
Chacko often said...

Final Ordeal
When Khubchand, his...

Oxford Moods
When he was...

Accidental Release of the Spirit
Rahel grew up...

Caught Feasting
Chacko was in...

May in Ayemenem
The days are...

Friendly Smile
He had none...

Aching Desire
She went to...

She Had Gifts
That she had...

Vernacular Architecture
It was while...

May in Ayemenem
The days are...

Around Her
But, around her...

Reading Aloud Voice
We're Prisoners of...

Civil, Solitary
In each of...

His Supple Grace
As she watched...

German Sensibility
He had his...

Depravity
Rahel was first...

Christmas Present
It was an...

Unbearably Precious
He held her...

His Youngness
At the moment...

Her Eyes
But when they...

Release of the Spirit
So long as...

Human Nature
Of the four...

Pleasant-looking
He wore old-fashioned...

How Precious a Feeling
Rahel giggled...

Aching Desire
Velutha with his...

The Cost of Living
They all crossed...

My Sweetheart
Ammu held out...

Young and Cheeky
When Ammu and...

Genuine Bourgeoise
Ammu smiled and...

Release of the Spirit
Rahel grew up...

Sexual Excitement
Father Mulligan was...

Jazz Tune
Her wild hair...

The Twins
The twins were...

Cold Knowledge
She was twenty-seven...

Outdoorsy
People got used...

Happy Man
Anybody could see...

His Own Inconsequence
Inured by the...

An Average Student
Estha finished school...

Blend into the Background
Over time he had...

Solitary Form
In each of...

Release of the Spirit
So long as...

A Photogenic Man
On his dressing...

Reading Aloud
Anything's possible...

Sexual Excitement
Of the two...

It was Velutha
That much Rahel...

That Look
He was exasperated...

Truly Indifferent
Nothing mattered much...

A Cloudy Kiss
She pulled his...

The Most Beautiful Woman
On that skyblue...

Jazz Tune
There goes a...

Stubborn Single-mindedness
Displaying a...

Unbearably Precious
He held her...

Capable of Anything
She didn't even...

How Precious a Feeling
Rahel giggled...

Banana Jam
Crush ripe banana...

One Thing at a Time
If he held...

May in Ayemenem
The days are...

Vernacular Architecture
It was while...

Around Her
But, around her...

We or Us
In those early...

It was Velutha
That much Rahel...

Sitting Down
Rahel drifted into...

My Wife, Margaret
Anybody could see...

It was Velutha
Vellya Paapen feared for his...

Lucky Rich Boy
Finish the drink...

Release of the Spirit
Rahel grew up without...

Bands of Love
His thoughts returned...

Jazz Tune
He first noticed Rahel...

Unbearably Precious
But when they made...

Wiser Than He Really Was
People got used to...

His Youngness
He just stood there...

A Quiet Child
Over time he had acquired...

The Liquid Ache
Occasionally, when Ammu listened to songs...

Simple Things
The man standing...

It was Velutha
Vellya Paapen feared for his...

Wedding Photographs
Looking at herself...

Numb
Once the quietness arrived...

Hoping That it Wouldn't
She hadn't learned to...

Foreign Returnees
She walked down the runway...

Worst Transgressors
They all broke the rules...

Small God
The source of his brittle elation...

...this Unsafe Edge
She wore flowers in her hair and...

He longed for the river
Driving past the inky sea...

...just Let Her Be
On days like this, there was something restless...

She was their Ammu
The steel door of the incinerator went up...

But a viable die-able age
Anyway, now she thinks of Estha and Rahel as Them...

May in Ayemenem
The days are long and humid...

Other Memories

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Reading Arundhati Roy

[Excerpts from The God of Small Things; picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

She has other memories too that she has no right to have.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

After All These Years

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Reading Arundhati Roy

[Excerpts from The God of Small Things; picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

It had been quiet in Estha’s head until Rahel came. But with her she had brought the sound of passing trains, and the light and shade that fall on you if you have a window seat. The world, locked out for years, suddenly flooded in, and now Estha couldn’t hear himself for the noise.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Very Young

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Reading Arundhati Roy

[Excerpts from The God of Small Things; picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

A weak, watery moon filtered through the clouds and revealed a young man sitting on the topmost of thirteen stone steps that led into the water. He was very still, very wet. Very young.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Rhodes Scholar

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Reading Arundhati Roy

[Excerpts from The God of Small Things; picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

Chacko's room was stacked from floor to ceiling with books. He had read them all and quoted long passages from them for no apparent reason. Or at least none that anyone else could fathom. For instance, that morning, as they drove out through the gate, shouting their goodbyes to Mammachi in the verandah, Chacko suddenly said: “Gatsby turned out all right at the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men.”

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Like a Passenger

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Reading Arundhati Roy

[Excerpts from The God of Small Things; picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

Rahel drifted into marriage like a passenger drifts towards an unoccupied chair in an airport lounge. With a Sitting Down sense.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

No Locusts Stand I

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Reading Arundhati Roy

[Excerpts from The God of Small Things; picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

Chacko told Rahel and Estha that Ammu had no Locusts Stand I.

“Thanks to our wonderful male chauvinist society,” Ammu said.

Chacko said, “What’s yours is mine and what’s mine is also mine.” He had a surprisingly high laugh for a man of his size and fatness. And when he laughed, he shook all over without appearing to move.

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Liquid Ache

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Reading Arundhati Roy

[Excerpts from The God of Small Things; picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

Occasionally, when Ammu listened to songs that she loved on the radio, something stirred inside her. A liquid ache spread under her skin, and she walked out of the world like a witch, to a better, happier place.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

To Those Who Did Not Survive

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Comrade! Comrade!
People of the...

Very Quiet
On the roof...

An Accomplished Carpenter
Apart from his...

Blend into the Background
Over time he...

Scrambled Swirling
The world, locked...

The Only One
Never again will...

Suppressed Unhappiness
Chacko often said...

Final Ordeal
When Khubchand, his...

Oxford Moods
When he was...

Accidental Release of the Spirit
Rahel grew up...

Caught Feasting
Chacko was in...

May in Ayemenem
The days are...

Friendly Smile
He had none...

Aching Desire
She went to...

She Had Gifts
That she had...

Vernacular Architecture
It was while...

May in Ayemenem
The days are...

Around Her
But, around her...

Reading Aloud Voice
We're Prisoners of...

Civil, Solitary
In each of...

His Supple Grace
As she watched...

German Sensibility
He had his...

Depravity
Rahel was first...

Christmas Present
It was an...

Unbearably Precious
He held her...

His Youngness
At the moment...

Her Eyes
But when they...

Release of the Spirit
So long as...

Human Nature
Of the four...

Pleasant-looking
He wore old-fashioned...

How Precious a Feeling
Rahel giggled...

Aching Desire
Velutha with his...

The Cost of Living
They all crossed...

My Sweetheart
Ammu held out...

Young and Cheeky
When Ammu and...

Genuine Bourgeoise
Ammu smiled and...

Release of the Spirit
Rahel grew up...

Sexual Excitement
Father Mulligan was...

Jazz Tune
Her wild hair...

The Twins
The twins were...

Cold Knowledge
She was twenty-seven...

Outdoorsy
People got used...

Happy Man
Anybody could see...

His Own Inconsequence
Inured by the...

An Average Student
Estha finished school...

Blend into the Background
Over time he had...

Solitary Form
In each of...

Release of the Spirit
So long as...

A Photogenic Man
On his dressing...

Reading Aloud
Anything's possible...

Sexual Excitement
Of the two...

It was Velutha
That much Rahel...

That Look
He was exasperated...

Truly Indifferent
Nothing mattered much...

A Cloudy Kiss
She pulled his...

The Most Beautiful Woman
On that skyblue...

Jazz Tune
There goes a...

Stubborn Single-mindedness
Displaying a...

Unbearably Precious
He held her...

Capable of Anything
She didn't even...

How Precious a Feeling
Rahel giggled...

Banana Jam
Crush ripe banana...

One Thing at a Time
If he held...

May in Ayemenem
The days are...

Vernacular Architecture
It was while...

Around Her
But, around her...

We or Us
In those early...

It was Velutha
That much Rahel...

Sitting Down
Rahel drifted into...

My Wife, Margaret
Anybody could see...

It was Velutha
Vellya Paapen feared for his...

Lucky Rich Boy
Finish the drink...

Release of the Spirit
Rahel grew up without...

Bands of Love
His thoughts returned...

Jazz Tune
He first noticed Rahel...

Unbearably Precious
But when they made...

Wiser Than He Really Was
People got used to...

His Youngness
He just stood there...

A Quiet Child
Over time he had acquired...

The Liquid Ache
Occasionally, when Ammu listened to songs...

Simple Things
The man standing...

It was Velutha
Vellya Paapen feared for his...

Wedding Photographs
Looking at herself...

Numb
Once the quietness arrived...

Hoping That it Wouldn't
She hadn't learned to...

Foreign Returnees
She walked down the runway...

Worst Transgressors
They all broke the rules...

Small God
The source of his brittle elation...

...this Unsafe Edge
She wore flowers in her hair and...

He longed for the river
Driving past the inky sea...

...just Let Her Be
On days like this, there was something restless...

She was their Ammu
The steel door of the incinerator went up...

But a viable die-able age
Anyway, now she thinks of Estha and Rahel as Them...

May in Ayemenem
The days are long and humid...

Comrade! Comrade!

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Reading Arundhati Roy

[Excerpts from The God of Small Things; picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

'People of the World', he would chirrup, 'be courageous, dare to fight, defy difficulties and advance wave upon wave. Then the whole world will belong to the People. Monsters of all kinds shall be destroyed. You must demand what is rightfully yours. Yearly bonus. Provident fund. Accident insurance.'

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Very Quiet

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Reading Arundhati Roy

[Excerpts from The God of Small Things; picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

On the roof of the abandoned factory, the lonely drummer drummed. A gauze door slammed. A mouse rushed across the factory floor. Cobwebs sealed old pickle vats. Empty, all but one – in which a small heap of congealed white dust lay. Bone dust from a Bar Nowl. Long dead. Pickledowl.

An Accomplished Carpenter

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Reading Arundhati Roy

[Excerpts from The God of Small Things; picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

Apart from his carpentry skills, Velutha had a way with machines. Mammachi (with impenetrable Touchable logic) often said that if only he hadn't been a Paravan, he might have become an engineer.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Blend into the Background

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Reading Arundhati Roy

[Excerpts from The God of Small Things; picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

Over time he had acquired the ability to blend into the background of wherever he was -- into bookshelves, gardens, curtains, doorways, streets -- to appear inanimate, almost invisible to the untrained eye.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Scrambled Swirling

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Reading Arundhati Roy

[Excerpts from The God of Small Things; picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

The world, locked out for years, suddenly flooded in, and now Estha couldn't hear himself for the noise. Trains. Traffic. Music. The Stock Market. A dam had burst and savage waters swept everything up in a swirling. Comets, violins, parades, loneliness, clouds, beards, bigots, lists, flags, earthquakes, despair were all swept up in a scrambled swirling.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Only One

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Reading Arundhati Roy

[Excerpts from The God of Small Things; picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

Never again will a single story be told as though it's the only one.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Suppressed Unhappiness

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Reading Arundhati Roy

[Excerpts from The God of Small Things; picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

Chacko often said that his ambition was to die of overeating. Mammachi said it was a sure sign of suppressed unhappiness. Chacko said it was no such thing. He said it was Sheer Greed.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Final Ordeal

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Reading Arundhati Roy

[Excerpts from The God of Small Things; picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

When Khubchand, his beloved, blind, bald, incontinent, seventeen-year-old mongrel decided to stage a miserable, long drawn-out death, Estha nursed him through his final ordeal as though his own life somehow depended on it.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Oxford Moods

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Reading Arundhati Roy

[Excerpts from The God of Small Things; picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

When he was in this sort of mood, Chacko used his Reading Aloud voice. His room had a church-feeling. He didn't care whether anyone was listening to him or not. And if they were, he didn't care whether or not they had understood what he was saying. Ammu called them his Oxford Moods.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Accidental Release of the Spirit

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Reading Arundhati Roy

[Excerpts from The God of Small Things; picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

Rahel grew up without a brief. Without anybody to arrange a marriage for her. Without anybody who would pay her a dowry and therefore without an obligatory husband looming on her horizon.

Caught Feasting

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Reading Arundhati Roy

[Excerpts from The God of Small Things; picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

Chacko was in his room. Caught feasting. Roast chicken, finger chips, sweetcorn and chicken soup, two parathas and vanilla icecream with chocolate sauce.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

May in Ayemenem

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Reading Arundhati Roy

[Excerpts from The God of Small Things; picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

The days are long and humid. The river shrinks and black crowd gorge on bright mangoes in still, dustgreen trees.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Friendly Smile

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Reading Arundhati Roy

[Excerpts from The God of Small Things; picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

He had none of the vagueness or the apologetic awkwardness that one usually associates with untidy, absent-minded men. He looked cheerful, as though he was with an imaginary friend whose company he enjoyed.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Aching Desire

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Reading Arundhati Roy

[Excerpts from The God of Small Things; picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

She went to him and laid the length of her body against his. He just stood there. He didn't touch her.

Monday, April 6, 2009

She Had Gifts

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Reading Arundhati Roy

[Excerpts from The God of Small Things; picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

That she had deep dimples when she smiled and that they stayed on long after her smile left her eyes. He saw that her brown arms were round and firm and perfect. That her shoulders shone, but her eyes were somewhere else.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Vernacular Architecture

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Reading Arundhati Roy

[Excerpts from The God of Small Things; picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

It was while she was at the School of Architecture that she met Larry McCaslin who was in Delhi collecting material for his doctoral thesis on Energy Efficiency in Vernacular Architecture.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

May in Ayemenem

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Reading Arundhati Roy

[Excerpts from The God of Small Things; picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

The days are long and humid. The river shrinks and black crows gorge on bright mangoes in still, dustgreen trees. Red bananas ripen. Jackfruits burst. Dissolute bluebottles hum vacuously in the fruity air. Then they stun themselves against clear windowpanes and die, flatly baffled in the sun.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Around Her

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Reading Arundhati Roy

[Excerpts from The God of Small Things; picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

But, around her, the air was sad, somehow. And behind the smile in her eyes, the Grief was a fresh, shining blue.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Reading Aloud Voice

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Reading Arundhati Roy

[Excerpts from The God of Small Things; picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

'We're Prisoners of War,' Chacko said. 'Our dreams have been doctored. We belong nowhere. We sail unanchored on troubled seas. We may never be allowed ashore. Our sorrows will never be sad enough. Our joys never happy enough. Our dreams never big enough. Our lives never important enough. To matter.'

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Civil, Solitary

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Reading Arundhati Roy

[Excerpts from The God of Small Things; picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

In each of the schools she went to, the teachers noted that she:

(a) Was an extremely polite child.
(b) Had no friends.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

His Supple Grace

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Reading Arundhati Roy

[Excerpts from The God of Small Things; picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

As she watched him she understood the quality of his beauty. How his labour had shaped him. How the wood he fashioned had fashioned him. Each plank he planed, each nail he drove, each thing he made, had moulded him. Had left its stamp on him. Had given him strength, his supple grace.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

German Sensibility

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Reading Arundhati Roy

[Excerpts from The God of Small Things; picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

He had his own set of carpentry tools and a distinctly German sensibility. He built Mammachi a Bauhaus dining table with twelve dining chairs in rosewood and a traditional Bavarian chaise lounge in lighter jackwood.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Depravity

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Reading Arundhati Roy

[Excerpts from The God of Small Things; picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

Rahel was first blacklisted in Nazareth Convent at the age of eleven, when she was caught outside her Housemistress's garden gate decorating a knob of fresh cowdung with small flowers. At Assembly the next morning she was made to look up depravity in the Oxford dictionary and read aloud its meaning.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Christmas Present

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Reading Arundhati Roy

[Excerpts from The God of Small Things; picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

It was an old black and white picture. One that Chacko took with the Rolleiflex camera that Margaret Kochamma had brought him as a Christmas present.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Unbearably Precious

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Reading Arundhati Roy

[Excerpts from The God of Small Things; picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

He held her as though she was a gift. Given to him in love. Something still and small. Unbearably precious.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

His Youngness

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Reading Arundhati Roy

[Excerpts from The God of Small Things; picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

At the moment that she guided him into her, she caught a passing glimpse of his youth, his youngness, the wonder in his eyes at the secret he had unearthed and she smiled down at him as though he was her child.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Her Eyes

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Reading Arundhati Roy

[Excerpts from The God of Small Things; picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

But when they made love he was offended by her eyes. They behaved as though they belonged to someone else. Someone watching.