Thursday, April 30, 2009

thinking in circles

there's actually a cool breeze blowing out on the veranda. just got out of the shower, so that's also keeping me cool. the boys next door are reciting their morning Qur'an.

i'm thinking too much. wondering even more. have so many questions. a lot to say. even more to write. but i don't know where to start and, even if i did, where it would end. because, like my mind, my words would just go in circles.

"But when they made love he was offended by her eyes. They behaved as though they belonged to someone else. Someone watching. Looking outside the window at the sea. At a boat in the river. Or a passerby in the mist in a hat.

He was exasperated because he didn't know what the look meant. He put it somewhere between indifference and despair. He didn't know that in some places, like the country Rahel came from, various kinds of despair competed for primacy. And that personal despair could never be desperate enough. That something happened when personal turmoil dropped by at the wayside shrine of the vast, violent, circling, driving, ridiculous, insane, unfeasible, public turmoil of a nation. That Big God howled like a hot wind, and demanded obeisance.

Then Small God (cozy and contained, private and limited) came away cauterized, laughing numbly at his own temerity. Inured by the confirmation of his own inconsequence, he became resilient and truly indifferent. Nothing mattered much. Nothing much mattered. It was never important enough. Because worse things had happened. In the country that she came from, poised forever between the terror of war and horror of peace, worse things kept happening.

So Small God laughed a hollow laugh, and skipped away cheerfully. Like a rich boy in shorts. He whistled, kicked stones. The source of his brittle elation was the relative smallness of his misfortune. He climbed into people's eyes and became an exasperating expression.

What Larry McCaslin saw in Rahel's eyes was not despair at all, but a sort of enforced optimism. And a hollow where Estha's words had been. He couldn't be expected to understand that. That the emptiness in one twin was only a version of the quietness in the other. That the two things fitted together. Like stacked spoons. Like familiar lovers' bodies."

Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things.

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