God of Small Things

On page 37, it read ‘Ammu said that they were had for her eyes and had advised her to wear them as seldom as possible.’

She cursed her eyes that were not trained as well as her genes permitted them to be. Her optic nerves must be twisted in some sort of evil way, she thought. She read the line again to make sure it were eyes that confused her. ‘Ammu said that they were had for her eyes’ What in the devil did she just read? It must surely be the damned bumpy ride of the bus, she cursed under her breath and read it again. ‘they were had for her eyes’.

She was reading it right but it didn’t read right. Could it be a new phrase added to the English language? So many get added everyday and this must be just one of them. But this book was written over a decade​ ago which only meant that she had somehow remained unaware of it’s existence. ‘had for her eyes’ —it would take a while before she felt comfortable around it. What could it mean? Phrases had a strange way of conveying a thought or idea. And she spent a few seconds baffled at the new twist that this phrase had brought into her reading.

Wait! It then suddenly dawned on her that it was a word spelled wrong and not her ignorance of the existence of such a phrase.

She was already beginning to reach into her bag that sat stiffly on her lap for a bright pink pencil. But it couldn’t be. No, it couldn’t be. An author of a book that won the booker prize, couldn’t have erred in her writing. Surely, she wouldn’t allow that of her editor either. She quickly looked through the list of acknowledgments only disappointed not to have found a mention of an editor. It must be right what she had just read. It must mean something, if an author so great had used it in her book.

While she sat there tossing these thoughts back at herself, her hand had already circled out the word that had caused her so many distressing thoughts. With her head titled to one side like a raven eyeing a piece of dead meat, she absentmindedly allowed another voice in her head ‘oh, look at the sinner hanging dead from the noose around him that you’ve drawn! How many (re)prints did he think he could escape unscathed before getting caught?’

The creatively malicious voice snapped out without warning and she resumed tossing her thoughts around in all seriousness until she finally had to submit to the fact that it was indeed a word spelled bad. That she was right in reading the word for what it was. With the relief of having arrived at a conclusion to the confusion, she decided to resume her reading.

Just then, another wave of thoughts rushed at her. Why didn’t she see the word for what it was the first time she read it? Why did she trust the author’s command of the language over her own? Why was it hard for her to believe in herself and in the many things she knew? Most of all why did she bleed for the carelessness of a stranger?


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