Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Memorable Quotes 2 - "The Inheritance of Loss" by Kiran Desai
Year by year, his life wasn't mounting to anything at all; in a space that should have included family, friends, he was the only one displacing the air.
Shouldn't he return to a life where he might slice his own importance, to where he might relinquish this overrated control over his own destiny and perhaps be subtracted from it's determination altogether? He might even experience that greatest luxury of not noticing himself at all.
All the NRIs holding their green cards and passports, looked complacent and civilized. that's just how it was, wasn't it? Fortune piled on more good fortune.
And they couldn't wait for the shopping-"Shopping ke liye jaayengey, bhel puri khaenge... dollars mein kamaenge, pum pum pum. Only eight rupees to the tailor, only twenty-two cents!" they would say, triumphantly translating everything to American currency;and while the shopping was converted into dollars, tips to the servants would be calculated in local currency:"Fifteen hundred rupees, is he mad? Give him one hundred, even that's too much."
A Calcutta sister accompanying a Chicago sister "getting value for her daaller, getting value for her daaller," discovering the first germ of leprous, all-consuming hatred that would in time rot the families irreversibly from within.
He knew what his father thought: that immigration, so often presented as a heroic act, could just as easily be the opposite; that it was cowardice that led many to America; fear marked the journey not bravery; a cockroachy desire to scuttle to where you never saw poverty, not really, never had to suffer a tug of conscience; where you never heard the demands of servants, beggars, bankrupt relatives, and where your generosity would never be openly claimed; where by merely looking after your own wife-child-dog-yard you could feel virtuous.
One true thing Jemubhai learned: a human heart can be transformed into anything. It was possible to forget if not essential to do so.
She felt grateful for the greatness of this landscape, walked on trying to recover the horizon-for it felt as if the space bequeathed her at the end of a romance that had promised a wide vista-well it was nonexistent. Sadness was claustrophobic.,
What could his father have known? This way of leaving your family for work had condemned them over several generations to hav their hearts always in other places, their minds thinking about people elsewhere; they could never be in a single existence at one time. How wonderful it was going to be to have things otherwise?
The five peaks of Kanchenjunga turned golden with the kind of luminous light that made you feel, if briefly, that truth was apparent. All you needed to do was to reach out and pluck it.
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