Quotes For The Book

It was like an advertisement for Leo Toys, the way little Siddharth sat on the floor, playing with his doll’s house with a happy smile on his face. I looked up at Shankar who was taking in the scene appreciatively. And I heard his voice in the dark, whispering: ‘Such a soft skin, like satin. And your hair, like silk. From where does it get this wonderful fragrance? You’re my harbour Gayatri, you’re the final port for the ship that returns from a rough voyage.’
‘Look here!’ said Siddharth. ‘That’s my house. My grandma and grandpa live here.’
‘And who else lives here?’ smiled Shankar.
‘And me, Siddharth, live here,’ replied the child firmly, clapping his hands.
Suddenly, the small bright plastic house suffocated me. I was short of breath, gasping. The room had poor ventilation, thanks to the small window that let in very little air. Still, I got up and went over to the window. The mango tree in a corner of our neighbour’s garden was in full bloom. Young, glossy, copper-coloured leaves glistened in the half-light of dusk, as if each leaf had been individually oiled by someone.
Every alternate year, the tree comes alive with fresh, tender young leaves and mango blossoms in creamy white with the faintest tinge of green. An odour reached my nose from the clusters of mango blossoms, a delicately mild and sour smell that wafted on the breeze. I inhaled it eagerly
The blossom will become a mango, and then ripen in the heat. A sticky, pungent gum will ooze from the stem. The raw mango will swell, will mature and turn into a golden yellow fruit. They will stay as on the tree as resident-fruits for a while. After offering all the fruits, the tree will stand bare for a year. And then bloom again with healthy, flourishing leaves and flowers. Bloom…vanish….bloom again on a rhythmic cycle of its own.
‘Amma,’ said my son Arvind. ‘Let’s have tea when my brat is still in a good mood, or else…Would you like to change your clothes first?’
I absorbed his question while I continued to look out of the window. Dusk had set in, the distant horizon deepening into a velvety hue spread out in a fairy-tale beauty.
‘Amma,’ asked Arvind again. ‘Shall we have out tea first or would you rather change your clothes?’
Should I change my clothes or discard them altogether? Cast them off?
And then? Rip off my ears, my nose, my eyes, toss them all away… Peel off my skin and fling it far away. Rub off my name with my own feet, efface it, wipe it off clean and then…quit. Just leave. Run, run…run away, breaking through this house that suffocates me, the house that closes in on me… Break through this cage that is my body, pressing upon me till I cannot breathe…break through my skull, spring up from this center, fight free of it all and run…keep running…