Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni · 360 pages
Rating: (20.4K votes)
“Love comes like lightning, and disappears the same way. If you are lucky, it strikes you right. If not, you'll spend your life yearning for a man you can't have.”
“I am buoyant and expansive and uncontainable--but I always was so, only I never knew it!”
“Can't you ever be serious?' I said, mortified.
'It's difficult,' he said. 'There's so little in life that's worth it.”
“Your childhood hunger is the one that never leaves you.”
“There was an unexpected freedom in
ﬁnding out that one wasn't as important as one had always assumed!”
“Because ultimately only the witness -- and not the actors -- knows the truth (Vyasa to Draupadi)”
“The heart itself is beyond control. That is its power, and its weakness.”
“Expectations are like hidden rocks in your path—all they do is trip you up.”
“For men, the softer emotions are always intertwined with power and pride. That was why Karna waited for me to plead with him though he could have stopped my suffering with a single world. That was why he turned on me when I refused to ask for his pity. That was why he incited Dussasan to an action that was against the code of honor by which he lived his life. He knew he would regret it—in his fierce smile there had already been a glint of pain.
But was a woman's heart any purer, in the end?
That was the final truth I learned. All this time I'd thought myself better than my father, better than all those men who inflicted harm on a thousand innocents in order to punish the one man who had wronged them. I'd thought myself above the cravings that drove him. But I, too, was tainted with them, vengeance encoded into my blood. When the moment came I couldn't resist it, no more than a dog can resist chewing a bone that, splintering, makes his mouth bleed.
Already I was storing these lessons inside me. I would use them over the long years of exile to gain what I wanted, no matter what its price.
But Krishna, the slippery one, the one who had offered me a different solace, Krishna with his disappointed eyes—what was the lesson he'd tried to teach?”
“She who sows vengeance must reap its bloody fruit.”
“Aren't we all pawns in the hands of time, the greatest player of them all?”
“...this time I didn't launch into my usual tirade. Was it a memory of Krishna, the cool silence with which he countered disagreement, that stopped me? I saw something I hadn't realized before: words wasted energy.”
“Above us our palace waits, the only one I've ever needed. Its walls are space, its floor is sky, its center everywhere. We rise; the shapes cluster around us in welcome, dissolving and forming again like fireflies in a summer evening.”
“I saw something I hadn't realized before: words wasted energy. I would use my strength instead to nurture my belief that my life would unfurl uniquely.”
“Wisdom that isn't distilled in our own crucible can't help us.”
“A situation in itself,” he said, “is neither happy nor unhappy. It’s only your response to it that causes your sorrow.”
“I tried to hold on to this compassion, sensing its preciousness, but even as I reached to grasp it, it dissipated into wisps. No revelation can endure unless it is bolstered by a calm pure mind- and I'm afraid I didn't possess that.”
“A problem becomes a problem only if you believe it to be so. And often others see you as you see yourself.” I”
“time is the great eraser, both of sorrow and of joy.”
“You could also call it waking,' Krishna continues. 'Or intermission, as one scene in a play ends and the next hasn't yet begun.”
“we cannot force ourselves to love—or to withhold it. At best, we can curb our actions. The heart itself is beyond control. That is its power, and its weakness.”
“Isn’t that what truth is? The force of a person’s believing seeps into those around him—into the very earth and air and water—until there’s nothing else.”
“Doesn’t the imagination always exaggerate—or diminish—truth?”
“I broke the first rule, the unwritten one, meant not just for warriors but all of us: I took love and used it as a balm to soothe my ego.”
“But truth, when it’s being lived, is less glamorous than our imaginings.”
“Can our actions change our destiny? Or are they like sand piled against the breakage in a dam, merely delaying the inevitable?”
“I thought that if lokas existed at all, good women would surely go to one where men were not allowed so that they could be finally free of male demands.”
“Ii would no longer waste time on regret. I would turn my face to the future and carve it into the shape I wanted. - Panchali”
“Distance is a great promoter of harmony:”
“The power of a man is like a bull’s charge, while the power of a woman moves aslant, like a serpent seeking its prey. Know the particular properties of your power. Unless you use it correctly, it won’t get you what you want.” His words perplexed me. Wasn’t power singular and simple? In the world that I knew, men just happened to have more of it. (I hoped to change this.)”
“God was beyond faithful, always, all the time.”
“Lawrence could proceed no further with his jape. Holo looked at him as if stricken. “…That’s not fair,” he grumbled. “Mm-hm. Female privilege.”
“But when you’re a kid it’s like you’re wearing these binoculars strapped to your eyes and you can’t see anything except what’s in the dead center of the lenses”
“When we heard those shots and he saw Ploeg lying in front of the house, what he said was, 'My God, the lizards!'"
With wide-eyed disbelief Anton looked out over her head.”
“My head grew muddled with it all; the silly ways adults acted with one another, never saying what they meant, trusting in sighs and glances and distance to speak for them instead. How dangerous that was! How easy it must be to misinterpret a sigh or a look. I was quite sure I’d never get it right when it came my time to grow up. Fortunately, that was a long way off. Unlike Ina, I was in no hurry to learn that particular, peculiar language.”
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