A Suitable Boy Quotes

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A Suitable Boy (A Suitable Boy, #1) A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
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A Suitable Boy Quotes (showing 1-27 of 27)
“God save us from people who mean well.”
Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy
“But I too hate long books: the better, the worse. If they're bad they merely make me pant with the effort of holding them up for a few minutes. But if they're good, I turn into a social moron for days, refusing to go out of my room, scowling and growling at interruptions, ignoring weddings and funerals, and making enemies out of friends. I still bear the scars of Middlemarch.”
Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy
“Think of many things. Never place your happiness in one person's power. Be just to yourself.”
Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy
“She was quite pretty too in those days; indeed, perhaps she still was. But for some reason none of her boyfriends remained boyfriends for long. She had a very decided personality and fairly soon took to telling them what they should do with their lives and studies and work. She began to mother them or perhaps brother them (since she was something of a tomboy) - and this sooner or later took the edge off their romantic excitement. They even began to find her vivacity over-powering, and sooner or later edged away from her - with guilt on their side and pain on hers. This was a great pity, for Kalpana Gaur was a lively, affectionate, and intelligent woman, and deserved some recompense for the help and happiness she gave others”
Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy
“Quietly they moved down the calm and sacred river that had come down to earth so that its waters might flow over the ashes of those long dead, and that would continue to flow long after the human race had, through hatred and knowledge, burned itself out.”
Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy
“You can't blame her,' said Amit. 'After a life so full of tragedy anyone would become hard.'

'What tragedy?' asked Mrs. Chatterji.

'Well, when she was four,' said Amit, 'her mother slapped her--it was quite traumatic--and then things went on in that vein. When she was twelve she came in second in an exam...It hardens you.”
Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy
“And an equation is the same whether it's written in red or green ink”
Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy
“Man without life companion is either god or beast.”
Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy
“Of course, the greater one's need, the greater one's propensity to be mesmerized.”
Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy
“Every object strives for its proper place. A book seeks to be near its truest admirer. Just as this helpless moth seeks to be near the candle that infatuates him.”
Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy
“She had dispersed. She was the garden at Prem Nivas (soon to be entered into the annual Flower Show), she was Veena's love of music, Pran's asthma, Maan's generosity, the survival of some refugees four years ago, the neem leaves that would preserve quilts stored in the great zinc trunks of Prem Nivas, the moulting feather of some pond-heron, a small unrung brass bell, the memory of decency in an indecent time, the temperament of Bhaskar's great-grandchildren. Indeed, for all the Minsisster of Revenue's impatience with her, she was his regret.

And it was right that she should continue to be so, for he should have treated her better while she lived, the poor, ignorant, grieving fool.”
Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy
“Oh, no said her mother sadly. You know nothing of the pettiness of women. When brothers agree to split a joint family they sometimes divide lakhs of rupees worth of property in a few minutes. But the tussle of their wives over the pots and pans in the common kitchen--that nearly causes bloodshed.”
Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy
“The ifs and buts of history...form an insubstantial if intoxicating diet.”
Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy
“The Fever Bird

The fever bird sand out last night.
I could not sleep, try as I might.

My brain was split, my spirit raw.
I looked into the garden, saw

The shadow of the amaltas
Shake slightly on the moonlit grass

Unseen, the bird cried out its grief,
Its lunacy, without relief:

Three notes repeated closer, higher,
Soaring, then sinking down like fire

Only to breathe the night and soar,
As crazed, as desperate, as before.

I shivered in the midnight heat
And smelt the sweat that soaked my sheet.

And now tonight I hear again
The call that skewers though my brain,

The call, the brain-sick triple note--
A cone of pain stuck inits throat.

I am so tired I could weep.
Mad bird, for God's sake let me sleep

Why do you cry like one possessed?
When will you rest? When will you rest?

Why wait each night till all but I
Lie sleeping in the house, then cry?

Why do you scream into my ear
What no one else but I can hear?”
Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy
“I've always felt that the performance of a raag resembles a novel - or at least the kind of novel I'm attempting to write. You know,' he continued, extemporizing as he went along, 'first you take one note and explore it for a while, then another to discover its possibilities, then perhaps you get to the dominant, and pause for a bit, and it's only gradually that the phrases begin to form and the tabla joins in with the beat...and then the more brilliant improvisations and diversions begin, with the main theme returning from time to time, and finally it all speeds up, and the excitement increases to a climax.”
Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy
“He had come to a decision about the next step in his life. This decision was irrevocable unless he changed his mind.”
Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy
“There was a few seconds' pause. Then Amit said: I meant, what were you thinking just now.

When? said Lata.

When you were looking at Pran and Savita. Over the pudding.


Well, what?

I can't remember, said Lata with a smile.

Amit laughed.

Why are you laughing? asked Lata

I like making you feel uncomfortable, I suppose.

Oh. Why?

--Or happy--or puzzled--just to see your change of mood. It's such fun. I pity you!

Why? said Lata, startled.

Because you'll never know what a pleasure it is to be in your company.

Do stop talking like that, said Lata. Ma will come in any minute.

You're quite right. In that case: Will you marry me?

Lata dropped her cup. It fell to the floor and broke. She looked at the broken pieces--luckily, it has been empty--and then at Amit.

Quick! said Amit. Before they come running to see what's happened. Say yes.

Lata had knelt down; she was gathering he bits of the cup together and placing them on the delicately patterned blue-and-gold saucer.

Amit joined her on the floor. Her face was only a few inches away from his, but her mind appeared to be somewhere else. he wanted to kiss her but he sensed that there was no question of it. One by one she picked up the shards of china.

Was it a family heirloom? asked Amit.

What? I'm sorry--said Lata, snapped out of her trance by the words.

Well, I suppose I'll have to wait. I was hoping that by springing it on you like that I'd surprise you into agreeing...

...Do stop being idotic, Amit, said Lata. You're so brilliant, do you have to be so stupid as well? I should only take you seriously in black and white.

And in sickness and health.

Lata laughed: For better and for worse, she added.”
Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy
“And you spend your day going around from the house of the washerman to the house of the sweeper, asking about this one's son and that one's nephew, but spending no time with your own family. It is no secret that many people here think that you are a communist.'

Rasheed reflected that this probably meant only that he loathed the poverty and injustice endemic to the village, and that he made no particular secret of it.”
Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy
“All over India, all over the world, as the sun or the shadow of darkness moves from east to west, the call to prayer moves with it, and people kneel down in a wave to pray to God. Five waves each day - one for each namaaz - ripple across the globe from longitude to longitude. The component elements change direction, like iron filings near a magnet - towards the house of God in Mecca.”
Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy
“Whenever she opened a scientific book and saw whole paragraphs of incomprehensible words and symbols, she felt a sense of wonder at the great territories of learning that lay beyond her - the sum of so many noble and purposive attempts to make objective sense of the world.”
Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy
“Wherever his faltering mind,
unsteadily wanders,
he should restrain it
and bring it under self-control
Krishna, the mind is faltering,
violent, strong, and stubborn;
I find it as difficult
to hold as the wind.”
Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy
“I'm not a mouse or a tigress, she thought, I'm a hedgehog.”
Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy
“I triumph and rejoice that my action should have obtained your approval; nor am I disturbed when I hear it said that those whom I have sent off alive and free will again bear arms against me; for there is nothing which I so much covet as that I should be like myself, and they like themselves.”
Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy
“There was just enough room for the tonga to get through among the bullock-carts, rickshaws, cycles and pedestrians who thronged both the road and the pavement--which they shared with barbers plying their trade out of doors, fortune-tellers, flimsy tea-stalls, vegetable-stands, monkey-trainers, ear-cleaners, pickpockets, stray cattle, the odd sleepy policeman sauntering along in faded khaki, sweat-soaked men carrying impossible loads of copper, steel rods, glass or scrap paper on their backs as they yelled 'Look out! Look out!' in voices that somehow pierced though the din, shops of brassware and cloth (the owners attempting with shouts and gestures to entice uncertain shoppers in), the small carved stone entrance of the Tinny Tots (English Medium) School which opened out onto the courtyard of the reconverted haveli of a bankrupt aristocrat, and beggars--young and old, aggressive and meek, leprous, maimed or blinded--who would quietly invade Nabiganj as evening fell, attempting to avoid the police as they worked the queues in front of the cinema-halls. Crows cawed, small boys in rags rushed around on errands (one balancing six small dirty glasses of tea on a cheap tin tray as he weaved through the crowd) monkeys chattered in and bounded about a great shivering-leafed pipal tree and tried to raid unwary customers as they left the well-guarded fruit-stand, women shuffled along in anonymous burqas or bright saris, with or without their menfolk, a few students from the university lounging around a chaat-stand shouted at each other from a foot away either out of habit or in order to be heard, mangy dogs snapped and were kicked, skeletal cats mewed and were stoned, and flies settled everywhere: on heaps of foetid, rotting rubbish, on the uncovered sweets at the sweetseller's in whose huge curved pans of ghee sizzled delicioius jalebis, on the faces of the sari-clad but not the burqa-clad women, and on the horse's nostrils as he shook his blinkered head and tried to forge his way through Old Brahmpur in the direction of the Barsaat Mahal.”
Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy
tags: india
“What I mean is,’ continued Amit, ‘it sprouts, and grows, and spreads, and drops down branches that become trunks or intertwine with other branches. Sometimes branches die. Sometimes the main trunk dies, and the structure is held up by the supporting trunks. When you go to the Botanical Garden you’ll see what I mean. It has its own life—but so do the snakes and birds and bees and lizards and termites that live in it and on it and off it. But then it’s also like the Ganges in its upper, middle and lower courses—including its delta—of course.”
Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy
“ghazal that he had heard Saeeda Bai sing, but, oddly,”
Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy
“But what should I do?' Varun was saying. 'I'm not good for anything.'
'Write a book! Pull a rickshaw! Live! Don't make excuses,' said Dr. Ila Chattopadhyay, shaking her grey hair vigorously. 'Renounce the world like Dipankar. No, he's joined a bank, hasn't he? How did you do in your exams anyway?' she added." - Vikram Seth, "A Suitable Boy”
Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy

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