Some Quotes from ‘Kathputli’

Just in case you’re the sort who likes to know what you’re getting into. Here are a few quotes from the book that some of the readers have said they enjoyed. And, some that I enjoyed writing. 🙂

 

An enormously relieved Chitrangda mopped up the sweat on her face with a forearm as she got her bearings on the crowded platform. She sidestepped a couple of red-turbaned coolies, hefted her bag onto her shoulder and set out for the taxi stand. There was a bounce in her step and a tingly feeling in her ears.

Chitrangda was just a step behind her story, she could feel it, at long last.

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…she had drifted from one soul-killing job to another, peddling her facility with the English language to a variety of bosses who believed they could do just as good a job as she but didn’t have the time or the inclination for it — ergo, felt no need to pay her more than a pittance for her work. Why pay someone well for something you could do yourself if you only felt like it?

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They had barely averted a head-on collision, she realized, blinking in her seat as she processed this. But worse still, where she should feel relief at the last minute reprieve from sure death; all Chitrangda felt was…a sense of disappointment.

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Chitrangda waited with barely restrained patience for dupur to turn into bikel at 5, and officially end siesta time.

She went upstairs to her grandmother’s book-lined part of the house. It was a little dark, a little musty-smelling now that multi-storied buildings had sprouted on each side of their four-storeyed home. The house, once one of the taller ones in the neighbourhood, now sat squatly amidst a neighbourhood bristling with gleaming high-rises built on the dust of old homes. It was an oft-discussed topic among the neighbours, some of whom had now moved into their sliding-glass-doored flats; that the family would only hold out as long as Thamma lived.

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He fell over in agony. It was over. All he could hope for was mercy, as the gang of servants converged on him, sticks aloft. He heard shouts and hoots as more men came running up from the edge of his vision. The dog bayed in his face.

He closed his eyes. No, he could only hope for it to be over soon.

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“Can you come with me?”

“No, my dear, I am 80 and have earned my rest. I am no longer obliged to do anything but sleep  until insomnia robs me of it, eat as well as my digestion allows, and read my books until my sight goes.”

Chitrangda made a little moue of disappointment, but didn’t press her. I’ve got my lead, I can deal with everything else. Take deep breaths, they’re family, I will be like the prodigal daughter returning to the fold. How bad can they get?

“And besides,” her grandmother flashed Chitrangda her infectious grin, “I didn’t even go much when I was obliged. A den of vipers if ever there was one.”

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Lata slapped her hard across the face. What was a slap after having murdered a man in cold blood? she thought, wondering how a day could change everything.

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She’d tried her best. And she’ll keep trying, even though Mala didn’t want to be helped. She owed her sister that much.

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After many years of puzzling over it, she’d decided it was that Ma had one of each, a girl and a boy, so she had no need for Lata — just a spare, and not a spare of the right gender either.

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“Love is hardly an appropriate subject at a respectable wedding.”

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We’ll beat someone on the head with some blame we think she’s unaware of; the thought that she feels no guilt for what she’s doing is anathema to us; but the moment the person exhibits signs of remorse and feels pain for it, we hasten to assure her it’s not that bad at all, that she shouldn’t beat herself up about things. It’s almost like we want to see pain. Once we see signs of distress we are comforted that things are as they should be.

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