In Town – Readers of Arundhati Roy

Reading Arundhati Roy

Possessed by The God of Small Things.

[Text and picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

I have tempered with the laws that lay down who should be loved, and how. And how much. I have crossed into forbidden territory. I love a novel. The God of Small Things.

Last night I again dreamt of Arundhati Roy even though it was Anna Karenina who was my sleeping companion. In the morning, I woke up with memories of Ayemenem, the little town in the novel, where “May is always a hot and brooding month”. At this moment I’m thinking of Sophie Mol who was A Sunbeam Lent To Us Too Briefly. Later in the day, my thoughts may wander to Khan Market where Larry McLasin noticed Rahel with her “absurdly beautiful collarbones and a nice athletic run”.

No matter where I am, which novel I’m reading, whom I’m talking to, Rahel, Estha and Ammu are always in my mind. Always.

A few weeks ago I was reading Ammu’s death scene to my brother and I did what I would never dare to do in front of any other person: I cried, read, cried, read…Bhai, my brother, did not interrupt me…

The steel door of the incinerator went up and the muted hum of the eternal fire became a red roaring. The heat lunged out at them like a famished beast. Then Rahel’s Ammu was fed to it. Her hair, her skin, her smile. Her voice

…Bhai looked on…

Sometimes it gets too much. Weighed down by several copies of The God of Small Things, stuffed tight in the bookshelves of my being, I imagined I could carry on. However, in vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. I must be allowed to express how ardently I admire and love The God of Small Things.

I have created a new blogsite — Reading Arundhati Roy. While it is dedicated to all those who did Not survive (think Ammu, Velutha, Estha, Sophie Mol…), everyone’s invited. Even Baby Kochamma!