Arundhati Roy on love

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Naga’s pursuit of Tilo had not turned out as planned. She was meant to be just another easy conquest, yet another woman who succumbed to his irreverent brilliance and edgy charm and had her heart broken. But Tilo had crept up on him, and become a kind of compulsion, an addiction almost. Addiction has its own mnemonics- skin, smell, the length of the loved one’s fingers.

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In Tilo’s case it was the slant of her eyes, the shape of her mouth, the almost-invisible scar that slightly altered the symmetry of her lips and made her look defiant even when she did not mean to, the way her nostrils flared, announcing her displeasure even before her eyes did. The way she held her shoulders. The way she sat on the pot stark naked and smoked cigarettes.

So many years of marriage, the fact that she was not young any more – and did nothing to pretend otherwise – didn’t change the way he felt. Because it had to do with more than all that. I t was the haughtiness (despite the question mark over her “stock,” as his mother had not hesitated to put it). It had to do with the way she lived, in the country of her own skin. A country that issued no visas and seemed to have no consulates.

… . Naga married Tilo because he was never really able to reach her. And because he couldn’t reach her he couldn’t let her go.


.Arundhati Roy, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness.

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