Saturday, July 25, 2015

Favorite Sentences from one of my favorite books: The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy


1. It (the quietness) rocked him to the rhythm of an ancient, foetal heartbeat. It sent its stealthy, suckered tentacles inching along the insides of his skull, hovering the knolls and dells of his memory, dislodging old sentences, whisking them off the tip of his tongue.

2. To Estha- steeped in the smell of old roses, blooded on the memories of a broken man- the fact that something so fragile, so unbearably tender had survived, had been allowed to exist, was a miracle. A bird in flight reflected in an old dog's balls. It made him smile out loud.

3.  The loss of Sophie Mol stepped softly around the Aymenem House like a quiet thing in socks.

4. "There goes a jazz tune," Larry McCaslin thought to himself.

5. So Small God laughed a hollow laugh and skipped away cheerfully. Like a rich boy in shorts. He whistled, kicked stones. The source of his brittle elation was the relative smallness of his misfortune. He climbed into people's eyes and became an exasperating expression.

6. ..like a passenger drifts towards an unoccupied chair in an airport lounge. With a sitting down sense.

7. She suspected that these days, even the innocent and the round-eyed could be crockery crooks, or cream-bun cravers or theiving diabetics cruising Ayemenem for imported insulin.

8. Banana jam after the FPO banned it because according to their specifications, it was neither jam nor jelly. Too thin for Jelly and too thick for Jam. An ambiguous, unclassifiable consistency, they said.
..Looking back now, to Rahel, it seemed as though this difficulty that their family had with classification ran much deeper than the jam-jelly question. ..........They all broke the love rules. They all tampered with the laws that lay down who should be loved and how. And how much. The laws that make grandmothers grandmothers, uncles uncles, mothers mothers, cousins cousins, jam jam and jelly jelly.

9. It was lodged there, deep inside some fold or furrow, like a mango hair between molars.

10. Little events, ordinary things, smashed and reconstituted, imbued with new meaning suddenly become the bleached bones of a story.

11. It puzzled everybody that such an eighteen-minute age difference could cause such a discrepancy in front-tooth timing.

12. Ammu said that human beings were creatures of habit and it was amazing the kind of things they could get used to. You only had to look around you, Ammu said, to see that beatings with brass vases were the least of them.

13. Rahel wasn't sure what she suffered from, but occasionally she practiced sad faces and sighing in the mirror.

14. Mammachi (with impenetrable Touchable logic) often said that if only he hadn't been a Paravam, he might have become an engineer.

15. 'D'you know what happens when you hurt people?" Ammu said. "When you hurt people, they begin to love you less. That's what careless words do. They make people love you a little less".

16. ..But now that Estha wasn't well and love had been reproportioned (Ammu loved her a little less)....

17. ...."Ammu", Rahel said, "shall I miss my dinner as a punishment?". She was keen to exchange punishments. No dinner, in exchange for Ammu loving her the same as before.

18. Some things come with their own punishments. Like bedrooms with built-in cupboards.

19. Of the four things that were possible in Human Nature, Rahel thought that Infinnate joy sounded the saddest. Infinnate joy. With a church sound to it. Like a sad fish with fins all over.

20. "My aunt, Baby," Chacko said,
Sophie Mol was puzzled. She knew of cow-babies and dog babies. Bear babies- yes. But aunt babies confounded her.

21.Rahel's list (of the people she loved) was an attempt to order chaos. She revised it constantly, tor forever between love and duty. It was by no means a true gauge of her feelings.

22. And once again, only the small things were said. The Big Things lured unsaid inside.

23. "I was very sorry to hear about...Joe," Mammachi said. She sounded only a little sorry. Not very sorry. There was a short, Sad-About-Joe silence.

24. It is only now, these years later, that Rahel with adult hindsight , recognized the sweetness of that gesture. A grown man entertaining three raccoons, treating them like real ladies. Instinctively colluding in the conspiracy of their fiction, taking care not to decimate it with adult carelessness. Or affection.
It is after all, so easy to shatter a story To break a chain of thought. To ruin a fragment of a dream being carried around carefully like a piece of porcelain.
To let it be, to travel with it as Velutha did, is much the harder thing to do.

25. Estha always tought of Pectin as the youngest of three brothers with hammers, Pectin, Hectin and Abednego. He imagined them building a wooden ship in failing light and a drizzle.

26. Here they had discovered for themselves the disconnected delights of underwater farting.

27. After Chella died, he was moved into her corner, the corner that Kuttappen imagined was the corner of his home that Death had reserved to administer her daily affairs. One corner for cooking, one for clothes, one for bedding rolls, one for dying in.

28. "If you are happy in a dream, Ammu, does that count?," Estha asked. "The happiness- does it count?". Because the truth is, that only what counts, counts. The simple, unswerving wisdom of children.

29. Ammu wandered at the transparence of that kiss. It was a clear-as-glass kiss. Unclouded by passion or desire- that pair of dogs that sleeps to soundly inside children, waiting for them to grow up. It was a kiss that demanded no kiss-back.

30. It (this story) is the vessel into which he pours himself.

31. 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.

32. Margaret Kochamma's tiny ordered life relinquished itself to this truly baroque bedlam with the quiet gasp of a warm body entering a chilly sea.

33. It was not entirely his fault that he lived in a society where a man's death could be more profitable than his life had ever been.

34. Though, one the one hand, he was taken by surprise, on the other, he knew, had known, with an ancient instinct that one day history's twisted chickens would come home to roost.

35. Not death. Just the end of living.