The God of Small Things- Arundhati Roy

“They never did look much like each other, Estha and Rahel,… The confusion lay in a deeper, more secret place”. p.2

“Her own grief grieved her. His devastated her”. p.5

“A Sunbeam Lent To Us Too Briefly”. (Sophie Mol’s tombstone) p.7


“Ammu’s tears made everything that had so far seemed unreal, real”. p.8

“Estha occupied very little space in the world”. p.11

“They provided the care (food, clothes, fees), but withdrew the concern”. p.15

“It is curious how sometimes the memory of death lives on for so much longer than the menory of the life that it purloined”. p.16

“So long as she wasn’t noisy about it, she remained free ti make her own enquiries: into breasts and how much they hurt. Into false hair buns and how well they burned. Into life and how it ought to be lived”. p.17

“Nothing mattered much. Nothing much mattered. And the less it mattered, the less it mattered”. p.19

“That the emptiness in one twin was only a version of the quietness in the other. That the two things fitted together. Like stacked spoons. Like familiar lovers’ bodies”. p.20

“That was all she wanted. All she ever dared to hope for. Just to be near him. Close enough to smell his beard. To see the coarse weave of cassock. To love him just by looking at him”. p.24

“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”. p.31

“Perhaps it’s true that things can change in a day. That a few dozen hours can affect the outcome of whole lifetimes”. p.32

“However, for practical purposes, in a hopelessly practical world…” p.34


“It was the kind of time in the life of a family when something happens to nudge its hidden morality from its resting place and make it a bubble to the surface and float for a while. In a clear view. For everyone to see”. p. 35

Ämmu said that Chacko had never stopped loving Margaret Kochamma. Mammachi disagreed. She liked to believe that he had never loved her in the first place”. p.36

“..they had no surname because Ammu was considering reverting to her maiden name, though she said that choosing between her husband’s name and her father’s name didn’t give a woman much of a choice”. p.37

“Rahel’s new teeth were waiting inside her gums, like words in a pen”. p.37

“They emerged without much fuss, within eighteen minutes of each other. Two little ones, instead of one big one. Twin seals, slick with their mother’s juices. Wrinkled with the effort of being born”. p.40

“Ämmu left her husband and returned, unwelcomed, to her parents in Ayemenem. To everything that she had fled from only a few years ago. Except that now she had two young children. And no more dreams”. p.42

“Ämmu loved her children (of course), but their wide eyed vulnerability, and their willingness to love people who didn’t really love them, exasperated her and sometimes made her want to hurt them – just as an education, a protection”. p.43

“To Ammu her twins seemed like a pair of small bewildered frogs engrossed in each other’s company, lolloping arm in arm down a highway full of hurtling traffic. Entirely oblivious of what trucks can do to frogs”. p.43

“What was it that gave Ammu this Unsafe Edge? This air of unpredictability? It was what she had battling inside her. An unmixable mix. The infinite tenderness of motherhood and the reckless rage of a suicide bomber”. p.44

“But most of all, she grudged them the comfort they drew from each other. She expected from them some token unhappiness. At the very least”. p.46

“Ammu said that human beings were creatures of habit, and it was amazing the kind of things they could get used to”. p.50

“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”. p.53

“..the twins would shout in high voices. Not together, but almost”. p.59

“This was the twouble with families. Like invidious doctors, they knew just where it hurt”. p.70

“A lucky leaf that wasn’t lucky enough”. p.73

“It was a little like having to sweep away your footprints without a broom. Or worse, not being allowed to leave footprints at all”. p.74

“Not until he saw what his Untouchable son had touched. More than touched. Entered. Loved”. p.78

“They remembered being pushed around a room once, from Ammu to Baba to Ammu to Baba like billiard balls. Ammu pushing Estha away:’Here, you keep one of them. I can’t afford to look after them both.’ Later, when Estha asked Ammu about that, she hugged him and said he mustn’t imagine things”. p.84

“A pale daymoon hung hugely in the sky and went where they went. As big as the belly of a beer-drinking man”. p.87



Masaan has to be the purest of films I have seen. It has been rightly captioned ‘Celebrate Life, Death and Everything in between’. That’s pretty much how one would say what the film is about. It has been months since I watched the film, and hence attempting to write anything like a review would be unfair. All I can say is that the essence of the film has stayed even now. It lingers in my mind and knocks at me sometimes, specially when I listen to these beautiful songs (Man Kasturi Re & Tu Kisi Rail Si)



Pay close attention to the lyrics. They are painfully touching.

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Inequality For All

Quotes from the lecture by P.Sainath on 21st Sept’15 at Ashoka University:

“The wars are already there. We just don’t want to see them.”

“We look at poverty as a disease. It’s not. In fact my preferred word is ‘deprivation’. Because there is an active agent depriving you of something.”

“There is nothing more cheerful than the Forbes billionaire page.” (sarcasm alert)

“Every five years Russia sends all its billionaires to prison, we send ours to the Parliament”.

On water being diverted for commercial purposes (Villas with swimming pools):

“I love their captions. ‘Luxury homes with an attached forest reserve’. In Maharashtra, even the tiger doesn’t have an attached forest reserve.”

“You didn’t know it was this bad because you didn’t want to know. You wanted to believe the stuff about double digit growth rate. If you still want to believe that, go ahead.”

“Inequality is not an accident. It comes from a philosophy which believes inequality is good. An economist once told me “A little inequality is a good thing, it raises competition.” I asked him, can you be a little bit pregnant? You started a process which is going to mature.”

“If there is any socialism in India, it’s in your constitution.”

“In India, governments will set up any number of commissions on the same subject until one of the commissions gives them the report they want”

“There’s an African saying which goes ‘If lions were historians, the tales of the jungles would not always favor the hunter’..”

“You have this input and output (supply and demand), but an economist cannot see that between an input and output of agriculture, there is something called “soil”. We have killed that soil.”

“I love this trickle down theory. It argues essentially that all the food in this room should be on my table and because my table can’t hold so much food, something’s going to fall off and you get to eat crumbs.”

“Another is the slice of the cake theory. But maybe people don’t want a slice. Maybe they want to own the bakery!”

“Self-righteousness is a pain in the ass”

“What gives you strength is the collective.”

Even putting this all together and remembering those two hours from that day makes me hopeful. About what? I’m not so sure. But it does.