“He tried to hate her.
She’s one of them, he told himself. Just another one of them.
She had deep dimples when she smiled. Her eyes were always somewhere else.
“That afternoon, Ammu traveled upwards through a dream in which a cheerful man with one arm held her close by the light of an oil lamp. He had no other arm with which to fight the shadows that flickered around him on the floor.
Shadows that only he could see.
Ridges of muscle on his stomach rose under his skin like divisions on a slab of chocolate.
He held her close, by the light of an oil lamp, and he shone as if he had been polished with a high-wax body polish.
He could do only one thing at a time.
If he held her, he couldn’t kiss her. If he kissed her, he couldn’t see her. If he saw her, he couldn’t feel her.
She could have touched his body lightly with her fingers, and felt his smooth skin turn to gooseflesh. She could have let her fingers stray to the base of his flat stomach. Carelessly, over those burnished chocolate ridges. And left patterned trails of bumpy gooseflesh on his body, like flat chalk on a blackboard, like a swathe of breeze in a paddyfield, like jet streaks in a blue church-sky. She could have so easily done that, but she didn’t. He could have touched her too. But he didn’t, because in the gloom beyond the oil lamp, in the shadows, there were metal folding chairs arranged in a ring and on the chairs there were people, with slanting rhinestone sunglasses, watching. They all held polished violins under their chins, the bows poised at identical angles. They all had their legs crossed, left over right, and all their left legs were shivering.
“If he touched her he couldn’t talk to her, if he loved her he couldn’t leave, if he spoke he couldn’t listen, if he fought he couldn’t win.
“The God of Loss.
The God of Small Things.
He left no footprints in sand, no ripples in water, no image in mirrors.”
- from The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
It’s ironic that you lent THIS book to me. It’s ironic that YOU lent this book to me.
It’s a great book. Life is ironic.
Not only good dreams come true, you know. I had so many nightmares about you and they all became a reality. This book of yours brought out a feeling of sad satisfaction in me. Sad, but satisfying.
The part above is so deep in its tragedy yet so beautiful. I reread it many times, receiving a bit of a gentle relief each time. It reminds me of one of those soothing melodies I listen to when riding my bike late in the evening. They blend with the freshness of wind pushing against my face and give me that tickling sensation of a flight above all the insignificant things in the world. They only matter if we choose for them to matter.
The part below is more earthly, but still captivating. It made me think a lot, but not about you any more. It made me look into me. I think it’s better this way, to finally think about me for once.
“In the year she knew him, before they were married, she discovered a little magic in herself, and for a while felt like a blithe genie released from her lamp. She was perhaps too young to realize that what she assumed was her love for Chacko was actually a tentative, timorous acceptance of herself.”
Despite all the pain I felt, I won’t deny that you played a significant part in my life, a role in my world that made me stop abruptly. To think. Although you’ll never know it, you helped me find the sides of me that I haven’t yet discovered. You helped me realized new truths and dig out the truths long forgotten, the ones that were covered with dust somewhere in the deep corner of my conscience, behind the shelves of doubts and stacks of fears. That corner was so dark it took the light out of my dreams. It made me want to postpone them until better times. Until when I’m strong enough. Until later. Lay Ter. But there is now, there’s today and I want to live it to the fullest.
You didn’t politely pat me on the shoulder, asking me whether by any chance I took a wrong route. This isn’t your way. You kicked me hard, pushed me against the wall and slapped me in the face, calling me a fool for not noticing a one-way sign for so long, jumping out of our time, onto your street, slamming my door, never to travel with me again.
I cried as you left, but then I smiled. I started accepting myself more and more each day and I liked it.
You reminded me who I really am and then you set me free. Always look for the positive side of things. They will only matter if we choose for them to matter.
I matter now.