segunda-feira, 30 de janeiro de 2012

Shantaram - David Gregory Roberts

This was definitely one of the BEST books I’ve read in my entire life. I picked it up by chance at the bookstore and couldn’t bear to let my eyes get off the page and my hands let go of the book. It is a ]long book – more than 900 pages – but each and every one of them filled with suspense, schemes, Indian culture, feistiness, and a whole bunch of lessons on love and life.
A few things that I admire in David Gregory Robert’s writing is how he describes feelings, people and smells. Yes, smells. The way he will describe how Karla smells one day is fascinating. Or even how a feeling “smelt” – you stay stranded, hanging on his every word for dear life.
And not to say that the book doesn’t get out of your head – day and night – its characters are there reminding you of their last fight, witty comment, heartbreak or dream achieved. It ends up driving you crazy because you feel like you need to know what comes next, what will the next page you turn bring.
Something that I will never forget, which I garnered and will forever keep as a personal belief is that there are no good or bad people. There are only “good deeds”  and “bad deeds”  and the sum of those deeds – the actions we preform – are what make us into someone good or bad. And just the same way that a socially and morally “good person” can with no apparent reason do some horrendous act an outlaw, sinner or “bad person” might also do a mighty and wondrous act of goodness to someone he never set eyes on before – and so that is when it dawned on me the big answer to my always present question of: why do good men do bad things and every now and then I hear of a bad person doing something truly astounding and wonderful.
There is also the theory of complexity which I added below for those who are interested – that and many, many quotes – summing into more than thirty pages of wisdom, wittiness, laughter and insight that this book gives anyone who stops, opens and reads.
One of the reasons I am pretty sure made me love and esteem this book so much is because of where the story is told: India. My dream land, the place that I desire with all my heart, longing and soul to travel to and get to experience all its exoticness, freedom, liberty and so much more that it has to offer. And the author passes on his love and adoration in such a clear and honest way that there is no way for you not to change from slightly twitter-pated to totally in love with such an astounding country.
Just this year of 2011 I have read 50 books and written reviews on every single one of them. But this book won the “Christy’s best book in 2011” prize!!! Coincidence or not, it was the last book I read in the year as well. Go figure! All that to say that this book is most most worth your time. You will be compelled to do something about the way you see others, your beliefs on faith, love, hope, help, salvation, war, crime, forgiveness, friendship, goodness and badness in the world, the human heart, and a lot of Indian culture of course!!!

The choice you make between hating and forgiving can become the story of your life. – Linbaba
The most dangerous and fascinating animal in the world: a brave, hard man, without a plan. – Karla
Wisdom, in one sense, is the opposite of love. Love survives in us precisely because it isn’t wise. – Linbaba
The simple and astonishing truth about India and Indian people is that when you go there, and deal with them, your heart always guides you more wisely than your head. There's nowhere else in the world where that's quite so true. – Linbaba
The past reflects eternally between two mirrors --the bright mirror of words and deeds, and the dark one, full of things we didn't do or say. – Linbaba

Look the world in the eye and stare it down. – Linbaba

Repression breeds resistance. – Linbaba

The world and I are not on speaking terms. The world keeps trying to win me back, but it doesn't work. –Karla

Sometimes you break your heart in the right way. You learn something or you feel something completely new, when you break your heart that way –Karla

-      A good listener is dangerous, because he’s so hard to resist. Being listened to--really listened to--is the second-best thing in the world.
-      What's the first best thing?
-      The best thing in the world is power. Apart from the biology, sex is all about power. That's why it's such a rush.
-      And what about love? A lot of people say that love is the best thing in the world, not power.
-      They're wrong. Love is the opposite of power. That's why we fear it so much. And what about you? What would you say?
-      I'd have to say freedom.
-      The freedom to do what?
-      I don't know. Maybe just the freedom to say no. If you've got that much freedom, you really don't need any more.
-      It's funny, but I was thinking it's more important to have the freedom to say yes

Craziness is the basis of many a fine relationship. In fact, craziness is the basis of every fine relationship! – Didier

But even as a fugitive, writing was still a daily custom and part of my instinctual routine. Even there, in Leopold's, my pockets were full of notes, scribbled onto napkins, receipts, and scraps of paper. I never stopped writing. It was what I did, no matter where I was or how my circumstances changed. One of the reasons I remember those early Bombay months so well is that, whenever I was alone, I wrote about those new friends and the conversations we shared. And writing was one of the things that saved me: the discipline and abstraction of putting my life into words, every day, helped me to cope with shame and its first cousin, despair. – Linbaba

But there's no nation uncorrupted. There's no system that's immune to the misuse of money. Privileged and powerful elites grease the wheels of their progress with kickbacks and campaign contributions in the noblest assemblies. And the rich, all over the world, live longer and healthier lives than the poor. – Linbaba

In matters of food I am French, in matters of love I am
Italian, and in matters of business I am Swiss. Very Swiss.
Strictly neutral. – Didier

A man in no hurry gets nowhere fast. – Didier

The politics of fear. I hate politics, and politicians even more. They make a religion of being greedy. It's unforgivable. A man's relationship to his greed is a deeply personal thing. – Didier

The only force more ruthless and cynical than the business of big politics is the politics of big business. – Didier

Civilization, after all, is defined by what we forbid, more than
what we permit. – Didier

I hate it when people take so long to drink a single glass. It is like putting on a condom to masturbate. – Didier

When you judge the power that is in a person, you must judge their capacities as both friend and as enemy. – Didier
Never let anyone know what you're thinking. Always know what the other thinks of you. – Didier

Friendship is like a kind of algebra test that nobody passes. In my worst moods, I think the best you can say is that a friend is anyone you don't despise. – Karla

Hypocrisy is just another kind of cruelty. – Linbaba

The truth is a bully we all pretend to like. – Karla

She did it for him. She would've done anything for him. Some women are like that. Some loves are like that. Most loves are like that, from what I can see. Your heart starts to feel like an overcrowded lifeboat. You throw your pride out to keep it afloat, and your self-respect and your independence. After a while you start throwing people out--your friends, everyone you used to know. And it's still not enough. The lifeboat is still sinking, and you know it's going to take you down with it. I've seen that happen to a lot of girls here. I think that's why I'm sick of love. – Karla

Sometimes, even with the purest intentions, we make things worse when we do our best to make things better. – Linbaba

All it takes to harden a man's heart is a system of justice. – Linbaba

There's a truth that's deeper than experience. It's beyond what we see, or even what we feel. It's an order of truth that separates the profound from the merely clever, and the reality from the perception. We're helpless, usually, in the face of it; and the cost of knowing it, like the cost of knowing love, is sometimes greater than any heart would willingly pay. It doesn't always help us to love the world, but it does prevent us from hating the world. And the only way to know that truth is to share it. – Linbaba

It is the mark of the age in which we live that the style becomes the attitude, instead of the attitude becoming the style. – Didier

This is India. Everyone who comes here falls in love—most of us fall in love many times over. And the Indians, they love most of all. Your little friend may be beginning to love you. There is nothing strange in this. I say it from a long experience of this country, and especially of this city. It happens often, and easily, for the Indians. That is how they manage to live together, a billion of them, in reasonable peace. They are not perfect, of course. They know how to fight and lie and cheat each other and all the things that all of us do. But more than any other people in the world, the Indians know how to love one another. India is about six times the size of France but it has almost twenty times the population. Twenty times! Believe me, if there were a billion Frenchmen living in such a crowded space, there would be rivers of blood. Rivers of blood! And, as everyone knows, we French are the most civilized people in Europe. Indeed, in the whole world. No, no, without love, India would be impossible.– Didier

People, who can wear an obsession with panache, always win me over because their honesty speaks directly to my heart. – Linbaba

Optimism is the first cousin of love, and it's exactly like love in three ways: it's pushy, it has no real sense of humor, and it turns up where you least expect it. –Linbaba

I think that we all, each one of us, we all have to earn our future. I think the future is like anything else that's important. It has to be earned. If we don't earn it, we don't have a future at all. And if we don't earn it, if we don't deserve it, we have to live in the present, more or less forever. Or worse, we have to live in the past. I think that's probably what love is--a way of earning the future. – Karla

It's impossible to be really sad when you're asleep. You can be happy and afraid and angry in your dreams, but you have to be wide awake to be sad. – Ulla

The facts of life are very simple. In the beginning we feared everything--animals, the weather, the trees, the night sky--everything except each other. Now we fear each other, and almost nothing else. No-one knows why anyone does anything. No-one tells the truth. No-one is happy. No-one is safe. In the face of all that is so wrong with the world, the very worst thing you can do is survive. And yet you must survive. It is this dilemma that makes us believe and cling to the lie that we have a soul, and that there is a God who cares about its fate. And now you have it. – Didier

Every city in the world has a village in its heart. You will never understand the city, unless you first understand the village. – Didier

The real trick in life is to want nothing, and to succeed in getting it. – Karla

It's good to know what's wrong with the world, but it's just as important to know that sometimes, no matter how wrong it is, you can't change it. A lot of the bad stuff in the world wasn't really that bad until someone tried to change it. – Karla

Never respect a man who doesn’t have the good sense to be at least a little bit afraid of you. – Karla

Wisdom is very over-rated. Wisdom is just cleverness, with all the guts kicked out of it. I'd rather be clever than wise, any day. Most of the wise people I know give me a headache, but I never met a clever man or woman I didn't like. – Karla

The soul has no culture. The soul has no nations. The soul has no color or accent or way of life. The soul is forever. The soul is one. And when the heart has its moment of truth and sorrow, the soul can't be stilled. –Linbaba

One of the reasons why we crave love, and seek it so desperately, is that love is the only cure for loneliness, and shame, and sorrow. But some feelings sink so deep into the heart that only loneliness can help you find them again. Some truths about yourself are so painful that only shame can help you live with them. And some things are just so sad that only your soul can do the crying for you. –Linbaba

No happiness exists without its woe, no wealth without its cost, and no life without its full measure, sooner or later, of sorrowing and death. – Linbaba

What changes in nature is restored with one wheel of the seasons. What comes from the earth always returns. What flourishes, dies away to bloom again. – Linbaba

Life on the run puts a lie in the echo of every laugh, and at least a little larceny in every act of love. –Linbaba

A dream is the place where a wish and a fear meet. When the wish and the fear are exactly the same, we call the dream a nightmare.

You often love more people than you trust. –Linbaba

Waiting for nothing; that is what kills the heart of a man. –Prabaker

If fate doesn't make you laugh, then you just don't get the joke.

We can compel men not to be bad, but we cannot compel them to be good. – Khaderbhai

The worst thing about corruption as a system of governance, is that it works so well. – Didier

There is no act of faith more beautiful than the generosity of
the very poor. –Abdullah

Sometimes the lion must roar, just to remind the horse of his fear.
 – Abdullah

There is no believing in God. We either know God, or we do not.
 – Khaderbhai

God is impossible. That is the first proof that He exists.
– Khaderbhai

The sane man is simply a better liar than the insane man.
– Khaderbhai

Fate has every power over us, but two. Fate cannot control our free will, and fate cannot lie. Men lie, to themselves more than to others, and to others more often than they tell the truth. But fate does not lie. – Khaderbhai

Reality--as you see it and as most people see it—is nothing more than an illusion. There is another reality, beyond what we see with our eyes. You have to feel your way into that reality with your heart. There is no other way. –Khaderbhai

To know the truth, all you have to do is close your eyes. We can know God, for example, and we can know sadness. We can know dreams, and we can know love. But none of these are real, in our usual sense of things that exist in the world and seem real. We cannot weigh them, or measure their length, or find their basic parts in an atom smasher. Which is why they are possible. – Khaderbhai

-      The truth is found more often in music than it is in books of philosophy.
-      What is the truth?
-      The truth is that there are no good men, or bad men. It is the deeds that have goodness or badness in them. There are good deeds, and bad deeds. Men are just men--it is what they do, or refuse to do, that links them to good and evil. The truth is that an instant of real love, in the heart of anyone--the noblest man alive or the most wicked--has the whole purpose and process and meaning of life within the lotus-folds of its passion. The truth is that we are all, every one of us, every atom, every galaxy, and every particle of matter in the universe, moving toward God.

In this life, we do what we can to improve ourselves. – Linbaba

Good doctors have at least three things in common: they know how to observe, they know how to listen, and they're very tired.

Most of us wait for the future to come to us. The wise man dreams the future, and then he plans it, and then he makes it happen. That is the difference between him and the rest of us. – Abdullah

Suffering is the way we test our love, especially our love for God.

A hundred-percenter is the kind of man who'll put his life on the line if he calls you his friend; the kind who'll put his shoulder beside yours, without question or complaint, and stand with you against any odds.
Because men like that are so often the heroes in films and books, we forget how rare they are in the real world. –Linbaba

Justice is a judgment that is both fair and forgiving. Justice is not done until everyone is satisfied, even those who offend and must be punished. Justice is not only the way we punish those who do wrong. It is also the way to save them. –Qasim Ali

Poverty and pride are devoted blood brothers until one, always and inevitably, kills the other. – Linbaba

Fear and guilt are the dark angels that haunt rich men. Despair and humiliation haunt the poor.
– Khaderbhai

The size of our happiness is inversely proportional to the size of our house. – Karla

I take everything personally--that's what being a person is all about. –Karla

A politician is someone who promises you a bridge, even when there's no river. – Linbaba

Trouble is the only property that poor fellows are allowed to own.
– Johnny Cigar

Gimme an honest frown over a false smile, any day. – Linbaba

What I didn't tell Karla was that the girlfriend had described me as interested in everything, and committed to nothing. –Linbaba

I don't know what scares me more, the madness that smashes people down, or their ability to endure it. – Karla

You can’t hate love but you sure as hell can be sick of it. It's such a huge arrogance, to love someone, and there's too much of it around. There's too much love in the world. Sometimes I think that's what heaven is--a place where everybody's happy because nobody loves anybody else, ever. – Karla

You love clothes so much that you can't bear to wear anything but the few things that feel just right. – Karla

Everyone in the whole world is superstitious. –Karla

It's one of the five hundred things I love about Indians: if they like you, they do it quickly, and not by half. –Linbaba

Happiness is a myth. It was invented to make us buy things. –Karla

I think that suffering is a matter of choice. I think that we do not have to suffer anything in this life, if we are strong enough to deny it. The strong man can master his feelings so completely that it is almost impossible to make him suffer. When we do suffer things, like pain and so, it means that we have lost control. So I will say that suffering is a human weakness.
We have to be weak to suffer, and we have to suffer to be strong, so we have to be weak to be strong?
I think that when we grow up, and learn that happiness is rare, and passes quickly, we become disillusioned and hurt. And how much we suffer is a mark of how much we have been hurt by this realization. Suffering, you see, is a kind of anger. We rage against the unfairness, the injustice of our sad and sorry lot. And this boiling resentment, you see, this anger, is what we call suffering.
Real suffering comes from the same place where love and freedom and pride are born. And it's the same place where those feelings and ideals die. That suffering never stops. We only pretend it does. We only tell ourselves it does, to make the kids stop whimpering in their sleep.
I think that happiness is a really thing, a truly thing, but it is what makes us crazy people. Happiness is a so strange and power thing that it makes us to be sick, like a germ sort of thing. And suffering is what cures us of it, the too much happiness.
The burden of happiness can only be relieved by the balm of suffering.
Without the suffering, the happiness would squash us down.
Think that suffering is the way we test our love. Every act of suffering, no matter how small or agonizingly great, is a test of love in some way. Most of the time, suffering is also a test of our love for God.
Pain and suffering are connected, but they are not the same thing. Pain can exist without suffering, and it is also possible to suffer without feeling pain what we learn from pain--for example, that fire burns and is dangerous—is always individual, for ourselves alone, but what we learn from suffering is what unites us as one human people. If we do not suffer with our pain, then we have not learned about anything but ourselves. Pain without suffering is like victory without struggle. We do not learn from it what makes us stronger or better or closer to God.
Suffering is exactly like happiness, but backwards. One is the mirror image of the other, and has no real meaning or existence without the other.
Suffering is happiness, backwards.
The universe is a process of struggle between opposites--light and darkness, hot and cold, suffering and pleasure--and that nothing can exist without the existence of its opposite.
Suffering, of every kind, is always a matter of what we've lost. When we're young, we think that suffering is something that's done to us. When we get older--when the steel door slams shut, in one way or another—we know that real suffering is measured by what's taken away from us.
Its easy--suffering is hungry, isn't it? Hungry, for anything, means suffering. Not hungry for something, means, not suffering. But everybody knows that. – Conversation about suffering in Khadebhai’s home.

People always hurt us with their trust. The surest way to hurt someone you like is to put all your trust in him. – Karla

A man must love his bear. –Prabaker

Nothing in the world is as soft and pleasing to the touch as the skin of a woman's thigh. No flower, feather, or fabric can match that velvet whisper of flesh. No matter how unequal they may be in other ways, all women, old and young, fat and thin, beautiful and ugly, have that perfection. It's a great part of the reason why men hunger to possess women, and so often convince themselves that they do possess them: the thigh, that touch. – Linbaba

I always tell the truth, even when I'm lying. – Karla

To make sure none followed where you led
I used my hair to cover our tracks.
Sun set on the island of our bed
night rose
eating echoes
and we were beached there, in tangles of flicker,
candles whispering at our driftwood backs.
Your eyes above me
afraid of the promises I might keep
regretting the truth we did say
less than the lie we didn't,
I went in deep, I went in deep,
to fight the past for you.
Now we both know
sorrows are the seeds of loving.
Now we both know I will live and
I will die for this love.
- Sadiq Khan

Sometimes we love with nothing more than hope. Sometimes we cry with everything except tears. In the end that's all there is: love and its duty, sorrow and its truth. In the end that's all we have—to hold on tight until the dawn.- Linbaba

The world is run by one million evil men, ten million stupid men, and a hundred million cowards. The evil men are the power--the rich men, and the politicians, and the fanatics of religion—whose decisions rule the world, and set it on its course of greed and destruction. There are only one million of them, the truly evil men, in the whole world. The very rich and the very powerful, whose decisions really count--they only number one million. The stupid men, who number ten million, are the soldiers and policemen who enforce the rule of the evil men. They are the standing armies of twelve key countries, and the police forces of those and twenty more. In total, there are only ten million of them with any real power or consequence. They are often brave, I'm sure, but they are stupid, too, because they give their lives for governments and causes that use their flesh and blood as mere chess pieces. Those governments always betray them or let them down or abandon them, in the long run. Nations neglect no men more shamefully than the heroes of their wars. And the hundred million cowards, they are the bureaucrats and paper shufflers and pen-pushers who permit the rule of the evil men, and look the other way. They are the head of this department, and the secretary of that committee, and the president of the other association. They are managers, and officials, and mayors, and officers of the court. They always defend themselves by saying that they are just following orders, or just doing their job, and it's nothing personal, and if they don't do it, someone else surely will. They are the hundred million cowards who know what is going on, but say nothing, while they sign the paper that puts one man before a firing squad, or condemns one million men to the slower death of a famine. So, that's it, the world is run by one million evil men, ten million stupid men, and a hundred million cowards.
The rest of us, all six billion of us, do pretty much what we are
told! - Abdul Ghani
Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going? Those are the three big questions. – Abdul Ghani

You are not a man until you give your love, truly and freely, to a child. And you are not a good man until you earn the love, truly and freely, of a child in return. – Khaderbhai

People do not understand the truly fantastic effort required in the corruption of a simple man. And the more simple the man, the more effort it requires. – Didier

A king is a bad enemy, a worse friend, and a fatal family relation.
– Didier

Only a wicked man would derive such benefit from good works. A good man, on the other hand, would simply be worn out and bad tempered. – Didier

Are we ever justified in what we do? When we act, even with the best of intentions, when we interfere with the world, we always risk a new disaster that mightn't be of our making, but that wouldn't occur without our action. Some of the worst wrongs were caused by people who tried to change things. – Linbaba

No man is saved without love. – Linbaba

What characterizes the human race more, cruelty, or the capacity to feel shame for it? It isn't cruelty or shame that characterizes the human race. It's forgiveness that makes us what we are. Without forgiveness, our species would've annihilated itself in endless retributions. Without forgiveness, there would be no history. Without that hope, there would be no art, for every work of art is in some way an act of forgiveness. Without that dream, there would be no love, for every act of love is in some way a promise to forgive. We live on because we can love, and we love because we can forgive. – Linbaba

Everyone in the world who smokes wants to die at least as much as they want to live. – Linbaba

Nothing grieves more deeply or pathetically than one half of a great love that isn't meant to be. – Didier

Our life, it probably began inside of the ocean. About four thousand million years before now. Probably near hot places, like volcanoes, under the sea. And for almost all of that long time, all the living things were water things, living inside the sea. Then, a few hundred million years ago, maybe a little more--just a little while, really, in the big history of the Earth--the living things began to be living on the land, as well. But in a way you can say that after leaving the sea, after all those millions of years of living inside of the sea, we took the ocean with us. When a woman makes a baby, she gives it water, inside her body, to grow in. That water inside her body is almost exactly the same as the water of the sea. It is salty, by just the same amount. She makes a little ocean, in her body. And not only this. Our blood and our sweating, they are both salty, almost exactly like the water from the sea is salty. We carry oceans inside of us, in our blood and our sweat. And we are crying the oceans, in our tears. – Johnny Cigar

There's no meanness too spiteful or too cruel, when we hate someone for all the wrong reasons. –Didier
Lovers find their way by such insights and confidences: they're the stars we use to navigate the ocean of desire. And the brightest of those stars are the heartbreaks and sorrows. The most precious gift you can bring to your lover is your suffering. – Linbaba

Although love might not have been invented in India, it was certainly perfected there. – Linbaba

I pressed my lips against the sky, and licked the stars into my mouth. She took my body into hers, and every movement was an incantation. Our breathing was like the whole world chanting prayers. Sweat ran in rivulets to ravines of pleasure. Every movement was a satin skin cascade. Within the velvet cloaks of tenderness, our backs convulsed in quivering heat, pushing heat, pushing muscles to complete what minds begin and bodies always win. I was hers. She was mine. My body was her chariot, and she drove it into the sun. Her body was my river, and I became the sea. And the wailing moan that drove our lips together, at the end, was the world of hope and sorrow that ecstasy wrings from lovers as it floods their souls with bliss. –Linbaba

Mistakes are like bad loves, the more you learn from them the more you wish they'd never happened. – Karla

Silence is the tortured man's revenge. – Linbaba

Prisons are the temples where devils learn to prey. Every time we turn the key we twist the knife of fate, because every time we cage a man we close him in with hate. – Linbaba

In prison, a man rations his smiles because predatory men see smiling as a weakness, weak men see it as an invitation, and prison guards see it as a provocation to some new torment. – Linbaba

Every virtuous act has some dark secret in its heart, and every risk we take contains a mystery that can't be solved. –Khaderbhai

The only victory that really counts in prison is survival. But survival means more than simply being alive. It's not just the body that must survive a jail term: the spirit and the will and the heart have to make it through as well. If any one of them is broken or destroyed, the man whose living body walks through the gate, at the end of his sentence, can't be said to have survived it. And it's for those small victories of the heart, and the spirit, and the will that we sometimes risk the body that cradles them. –Linbaba

Cruelty is a kind of cowardice. Cruel laughter is the way cowards cry when they're not alone, and causing pain is how they grieve. –Linbaba

Guilt is the hilt of the knife that we use on ourselves, and love is often the blade; but its worry that keeps the knife sharp, and worry that gets most of us, in the end. –Linbaba

Despotism despises nothing so much as righteousness in its victims. –Linbaba

The worst things that people do to us always make us feel ashamed. The worst things that people do always strike at the part of us that wants to love the world. And a tiny part of the shame we feel, when we're violated, is shame at being human. –Linbaba

None of us lie or guard our secrets when we sing, and India is a nation of singers whose first love is the kind of song we turn to when crying just isn't enough. –Linbaba
I've known men in prisons, on battlefields, and in the dens where smugglers, mercenaries, and other exiles meet. They all have certain characteristics in common. They're tough, because there's a kind of toughness that's found in the worst sorrow. They're honest, because the truth of what happened to them won't let them lie. They're angry, because they can't forget the past or forgive it. And they're lonely. Most of us pretend, with greater or lesser success, that the minute we live in is something we can share. But the past for every one of us is a desert island; and those who find themselves marooned there, are always alone. –Linbaba

People say that money is the root of all evil but it's not true. It's the other way round. Money isn't the root of all evil. Evil is the root of all money. There's no such thing as clean money. All the money in the world is dirty, in some way, because there's no clean way to make it. If you get paid in money, somebody, somewhere, is suffering for it. That's one of the reasons, why just about everybody—even people who'd never break the law in any other way--is happy to add an extra buck or two to their money on the black market. –Khaled

Suffering is the truth. Not suffering is the lie. That's just the way the world is. – Khaled

Black markets for things exist because the white markets are too strict. It's all about greed, and control. These are the two elements that make for commercial crime. Any one of them, on its own, is not enough. Greed without control, or control without greed won't give you a black market. Men can be greedy for the profit made from, let's say, pastries, but if there isn't strict control on the baking of pastries, there won't be a black market for apple strudel. And the government has very strict controls on the disposal of sewage, but without greed for profit from sewage, there won't be a black market for shit. When greed meets control, you get a black market. – Khaled

Life has a lot of surprises, and most of them ain't happy ones for a working stiff. –Khaled

It isn't a secret, unless keeping it hurts. - Karla

There's a little arrogance at the heart of every better self.
And there's an innocence, essential and unblinking, in the heart of every determination to serve. –Linbaba

This is India, man. This is India. This is the land of the heart. This is where the heart is king, man. The fuckin' heart. That's how we keep this crazy place together--with the heart. Two hundred fuckin' languages, and a billion people. India is the heart. It's the heart that keeps us together. There's no place with people like my people. There's no heart like the Indian heart. Vikram

Once you make your heart into a weapon, you always end up using it on yourself. –Linbaba

Sooner or later, fate puts us together with all the people, one by one, who show us what we could, and shouldn't, let ourselves become. Sooner or later we meet the drunkard, the waster, the betrayer, the ruthless mind, and the hate-filled heart. But fate loads the dice, of course, because we usually find ourselves loving or pitying almost all of those people. And it's impossible to despise someone you honestly pity, and to shun someone you truly love.

Wherever you go in the world, in any society, it is always the same when it comes to questions of justice. We concentrate our laws, investigations, prosecutions, and punishments on how much crime is in the sin, rather than how much sin is in the crime. The most important thing is the amount of sin that is in the crime.
– Khaderbhai

If a man gives his soul, if he becomes a soul-less man, it takes nothing less than a miracle for him to regain it. – Khaderbhai

Sin is a measure of evil. – Khaderbhai

The history of the universe is a history of motion. The universe, as we know it, in this one of its many lives, began in an expansion that was so big, and so fast that we can talk about it, but we cannot in any truth understand it, or even imagine it. The scientists call this great expansion the Big Bang, although there was no explosion, in the sense of a bomb, or something like that. And the first moments after that great expansion, from the first fractions of attoseconds, the universe was like a rich soup made out of simple bits of things. Those bits were so simple that they were not even atoms yet. As the universe expanded and cooled down, these very tiny bits of things came together to make particles. Then the particles came together to make the first of the atoms. Then the atoms came together to make molecules. Then the molecules came together to make the first of the stars. Those first stars went through their cycles, and exploded in a shower of new atoms. The new atoms came together to make more stars and planets. All the stuff we are made of came from those dying stars. We are made out of stars, you and I. None of these things, none of these processes, none of these coming together actions are what one can describe as random events. The universe has a nature, for and of itself, something like human nature, if you like, and its nature is to combine, and to build, and to become more complex. It always does this. If the circumstances are right, bits of matter will always come together to make more complex arrangements. And this fact about the way that our universe works, this moving towards order, and towards combinations of these ordered things, has a name. In the western science it is called the tendency toward complexity, and it is the way the universe works. As we know it, and from everything that we can learn about it, has been getting always more complex since it began. It does this because that is its nature. The tendency toward complexity has carried the universe from almost perfect simplicity to the kind of complexity that we see around us, everywhere we look. The universe is always doing this. It is always moving from the simple to the complex. The universe, this universe that we know, began in almost absolute simplicity, and it has been getting more complex for about fifteen billion years. In another billion years it will be still more complex than it is now. In five billion, in ten billion--it is always getting more complex. It is moving toward ... something. It is moving toward some kind of ultimate complexity. We might not get there. An atom of hydrogen might not get there, or a leaf, or a man, or a planet might not get there, to that ultimate complexity. But we are all moving towards it-- everything in the universe is moving towards it. And that final complexity, that thing we are all moving to, is what I choose to call God. If you don't like that word, God, call it the Ultimate Complexity. Whatever you call it, the whole universe is moving toward it. Our planet may be smashed, it is true, and one day our beautiful sun will die. And we are, to the best of our knowledge, the most developed expression of the complexity in our bit of the universe. It would certainly be a major loss if we were to be annihilated. It would be a terrible waste of all that development. But the process would continue. We are, ourselves, expressions of that process. Our bodies are the children of all the suns and other stars that died, before us, making the atoms that we are made of. And if we were destroyed, by an asteroid, or by our own hand, well, somewhere else in the universe, our level of complexity, this level of complexity, with a consciousness capable of understanding the process, would be duplicated. I do not mean people exactly like us. I mean that thinking beings, that are as complex as we are, would develop somewhere else in the universe.
We would cease to exist, but the process would go on. Perhaps this is happening in millions of worlds, even as we speak. In fact, it is very likely that it is happening, all over the universe, because that is what the universe does. Anything that enhances, promotes, or accelerates this movement toward the Ultimate Complexity is good.
Anything that inhibits, impedes, or prevents this movement toward the Ultimate Complexity is evil. The wonderful thing about this definition of good and evil is that it is both objective and universally acceptable. When we say that this definition of good and evil is objective, what we mean is that it is as objective as we can be at this time, and to the best of our knowledge about the universe. This definition is based on what we know about how the universe works.
It is not based on the revealed wisdom of any one faith or political movement. It is common to the best principles of all of them, but it is based on what we know rather than what we believe. In that sense, it is objective. Of course, what we know about the universe, and our place in it, is constantly changing as we add more information and gain new insights. We are never perfectly objective about anything, that is true, but we can be less objective, or we can be more objective. And when we define good and evil on the basis of what we know--to the best of our knowledge at the present time--we are being as objective as possible within the imperfect limits of our understanding. When we say that this definition of good and evil is universally acceptable, what we mean is that any rational and reasonable person--any rational and reasonable Hindu or Muslim or Buddhist or Christian or Jew or any atheist, for that matter--can accept that this is a reasonable definition of good and evil, because it is based on what we know about how the universe works.
– Khaderbhai

We can only avoid chaos in the world of human affairs by having an agreed standard for the measure of a unit of morality. When we look for an objective way to measure good and evil, a way that all people can accept as reasonable, we can do no better than to study the way that the universe works, and its nature--the quality that defines the entire history of it—the fact that it is constantly moving towards greater complexity. We can do no better than to use the nature of the universe itself. – Khaderbhai

Men reveal what they think when they look away, and what they feel when they hesitate. With women, it's the other way around. – Karla

Gold fires the eyes with a different kind and colour of greed. Money's almost always just a means to an end; but, for many men, gold is an end in itself, and their love for it is the kind of thing that can give love a bad name. –Linbaba

Happiness is a myth. It was invented to make us buy things. – Karla

-      Freud said we're motivated by the drive for sex. Adler disagreed, and said that it was the drive for power. Then Victor Frankl, he said sex and power were important drives, but when you can't get either one--no sex and no power--there's still something else that drives us on and keeps us going.
-      The drive for meaning which is really just the same thing in different words. We have a drive for power because power gives us sex, and we have a drive for meaning because that helps us to understand sex. It all comes down to sex in the end, no matter what you call it.
-      I disagree. We're all driven by a desire to find meaning in life. We have to know what it's all about. If it was just sex or power we'd still be chimpanzees. It's meaning that makes us human beings.
-      It's sex that makes human beings.
-The Georges

Everyone's afraid of something. – Linbaba

People haven't stopped believing in love. They haven't stopped wanting to be in love. They just don't believe in a happy ending anymore. They still believe in love, and falling in love, but they know now that romances almost never end as well as they begin. – Karla

I do hate love, just like I hate hate. But that doesn't mean I don't believe in them. –Karla

I love you, Karla," I said when we were alone again. "I loved you the first second I saw you. I think I've loved you for as long as there's been love in the world. I love your voice. I love your face. I love your hands. I love everything you do, and I love the way you do everything. It feels like magic when you touch me. I love the way your mind works, and the things you say. And even though it's all true, all that, I don't really understand it, and I can't explain it--to you or to myself. I just love you. I just love you with all my heart. You do what God should do: you give me a reason to live. You give me a reason to love the world. – Linbaba

It's a fact of being in love that we often pay no attention whatsoever to the substance of what a lover says, while being intoxicated to ecstasy by the way it's said. – Linbaba

Do you think that one great act of genius can allow us to forgive the hundred flaws and failures that bring it into being? – Abdul Ghani

There is in you, as there is in me, a morbid belief in love, and a fascination for the madness that love puts in its victims. – Didier

Millions of dreams were born there, around us, every day.
Millions of dreams died there, and were born again. – Linbaba

The Indians are the Italians of Asia. It can be said, certainly, with equal justice, that the Italians are the Indians of Europe, but you do understand me, I think. There is so much Italian in the Indians, and so much Indian in the Italians. They are both people of the
Madonna--they demand a goddess, even if the religion does not provide one. Every man in both countries is a singer when he is happy, and every woman is a dancer when she walks to the shop at the corner. For them, food is music inside the body, and music is food inside the heart. The language of India and the language of
Italy, they make every man a poet, and make something beautiful from every banality. These are nations where love makes a cavalier of a Borsalino on a street corner, and makes a princess of a peasant girl, if only for the second that her eyes meet yours. It is the secret of my love for India. – Didier

Depression only happens to people who don't know how to be sad. – Karla

Love cannot be tested. Honesty can be tested, and loyalty. But there is no test for love. Love goes on forever, once it begins, even if we come to hate the one we love. Love goes on forever because love is born in the part of us that does not die. –Didier

The whole universe is moving toward some ultimate complexity. This has been going on since the universe began, and physicists call it the tendency toward complexity. And anything that kicks this along and helps it is good, and anything that hinders it is evil. And this final complexity, it can be called God, or the Universal Spirit, or the Ultimate Complexity, as you please. For myself, there is no problem in calling it God. The whole universe is moving toward God, in a tendency toward the ultimate complexity that God is. 
– Khaderbhai

In order to know about any act or intention or consequence, we must first ask two questions. One, what would happen if everyone did this thing? Two, would this help or hinder the movement toward complexity? – Khaderbhai

A man trusts another man when he sees enough of himself in him, I guess. Or maybe when he sees the things he wishes he had in himself. –Linbaba

Every virtuous act is inspired by a dark secret. –Khaderbhai
Redemption's climb is steepest if the good we did is soiled with secret shame. –Linbaba

It's said that you can never go home again, and it's true enough, of course. But the opposite is also true. You must go back, and you always go back, and you can never stop going back, no matter how hard you try. –Linbaba

We can deny the past, but we can't escape its torment because the past is a speaking shadow that keeps pace with the truth of what we are, step for step, until we die. –Linbaba

There are two kinds of people who enter a deadly conflict: those who kill to live, and those who live to kill. The simple fact is that fighting to save a life is a better and more enduring reason than fighting to end one. –Linbaba

I never knew a tough man who preyed on the weak. Tough men hate bullies almost as much as bullies hate tough men. – Linbaba

If we all learned what we should learn, the first time round, we wouldn't need love at all. –Karla

The fully mature man or woman, has about two seconds left to live. – Didier

Even if we never pity them at any other time, and in any other way, we should pity the dead when we look at them, and touch them. Pity is the one part of love that asks for nothing in return and, because of that, every act of pity is a kind of prayer. And dead men demand prayers. The silent heart, the tumbled nave of the chest unbreathing, and the guttered candles of the eyes--they summon our prayers. Each dead man is a temple in ruins, and when our eyes walk there we should pity, we should pray. – Linbaba

Good soldiers are defined by what they can endure, not by what they can inflict. – Linbaba

You can never tell what people have inside them until you start taking it away, one hope at a time. – Linbaba

I have become my fate. – Anand

Everything you ever sense, in touch or taste or sight or even thought, has an effect on you that's greater than zero. Some things, like the background sound of a bird chirping as it passes your house in the evening, or a flower glimpsed out of the corner of an eye, have such an infinitesimally small effect that you can't detect them. Some things, like triumph and heartbreak, and some images, like the image of yourself reflected in the eyes of a man you've just stabbed, attach themselves to the secret gallery and they change your life forever. – Linbaba

If we envy someone for all the right reasons, we're half way to wisdom. – Khaderbhai

If we can't respect the way we earn it, money has no value. If we can't use it to make life better for our families and loved ones, money has no purpose. – Linbaba

Lin, a man has to find a good woman, and when he finds her he has to win her love. Then he has to earn her respect. Then he has to cherish her trust. And then he has to, like, go on doing that for as long as they live. Until they both die. That's what it's all about. That's the most important thing in the world. That's what a man is. A man is truly a man when he wins the love of a good woman, earns her respect, and keeps her trust. Until you can do that, you're not a man. – Vikram

Fanaticism is the opposite of love. –Khaderbhai

A fanatic is someone who won't change his mind and can't change the subject.  – Winston Churchill

At first, when we truly love someone, our greatest fear is that the loved one will stop loving us. What we should fear and dread, of course, is that we won't stop loving them, even after they're dead and gone. –Linbaba

Personality and personal identity are in some ways like co-ordinates on the street map drawn by our intersecting relationships. We know who we are and we define what we are by references to the people we love and our reasons for loving them. – Linbaba

Fate gives all of us three teachers, three friends, three enemies, and three great loves in our lives. But these twelve are always disguised, and we can never know which one is which until we've loved them, left them, or fought them. – Linbaba

We all attempt suicide several times in our lives, and sooner or later we all succeed. – Karla

Some people always manage to make us feel sorry for them, no matter how stupid and angry we feel about it after. They're the canaries, kind of, in the coalmines of our hearts. If we stop feeling sorry for them, when they let us down, we're in deep trouble. – Lisa

It was a long kiss. We lived out a life together in that kiss: we lived and loved and grew old together, and we died. Then our lips parted, and that life we might've had retreated, shrinking to a spark of light we would always recognize in one another's eyes. –Linbaba

Sometimes the worst thing you can do to a woman is to love her.
– Linbaba

The tears, when they come to some men, are worse than beatings.
They're wounded worse by sobbing, men like that, than they are by boots and batons. Tears begin in the heart, but some of us deny the heart so often, and for so long, that when it speaks we hear not one but a hundred sorrows in the heartbreak. We know that crying is a good and natural thing. We know that crying isn't a weakness, but a kind of strength. Still, the weeping rips us root by tangled root from the earth, and we crash like fallen trees when we cry. – Linbaba

Heroin = the everything-and-nothing drug: it takes everything, and gives you nothing in return. But the nothing that it gives you, the unfeeling emptiness it gives you, is sometimes all and everything
you want. – Linbaba

A good man is as strong as the right woman needs him to be. – Karla

Think about every time in your life that you've ever been afraid, really afraid. Someone sneaks up behind you when you think you're alone, and shouts to frighten you. The gang of thugs closes in around you. You fall from a great height in a dream, or you stand on the very edge of a steep cliff. Someone holds you under water and you feel the breath gone, and you scramble, fight, and claw your way to the surface. You lose control of the car and see the wall rushing into your soundless shout. Then add them all up, all those chest-tightening terrors, and feel them all at once, all at the same time, hour after hour, and day after day. And think of every pain you've ever known—the burn with hot oil, the sharp sliver of glass, the broken bone, the gravel rash when you fell on the rough road in winter, the headache and the earache and the toothache. Then add them all up, all those groin-squeezing, stomach-tensing shrieks of pain, and feel them all at once, hour after hour, and day after day. Then think of every anguish you've ever known. Remember the death of a loved one. Remember a lover's rejection. Recall your feelings of failure and shame and unspeakably bitter remorse. And add them all up, all the heart-stabbing griefs and miseries, and feel them all at once, hour after hour, and day after day. That's cold turkey. Cold turkey off heroin is life with the skin torn away. The assault of anxiety on the unprotected mind, the brain without natural endorphins, makes men and women mad. Every junkie going through turkey is mad. The madness is so fierce and cruel that some die of it. And in the temporary insanity of that skinned, excruciated world, we commit crimes. And if we survive, years later, and become well, our healthy recollection of those crimes leaves us wretched, bewildered, and as self-disgusted as men and women who betray their comrades and country under torture. – Linbaba

There's no animal in the world with a deeper sense of parody than a horse. A cat can make you look clumsy, and a dog can make you look stupid, but only a horse can make you look both at the same time. –Linbaba

There are three things that no Indian man can resist: a beautiful face, a beautiful song, and an invitation to dance. –Linbaba

One of the worst of my many failings, in those exile years, was my blindness to the good in people. –Linbaba

All horse good, all man not good. – Nazeer

No love, is no life. – Nazeer

Praising people behind their back is monstrously unfair, because the one thing you can't defend yourself against is the good that people say about you. –Didier

The universe began about fifteen billion years ago, in almost absolute simplicity, and it's been getting more and more complex ever since. This movement from the simple to the complex is built into the web and weave of the universe and it's called the tendency toward complexity. We're the products of this complexification, and so are the birds, and the bees, and the trees, and the stars, and even the galaxies of stars. And if we were to get wiped out in a cosmic explosion, like an asteroid impact or something, some other expression of our level of complexity would emerge, because that's what the universe does. And this is likely to be going on all over the universe. The final or ultimate complexity--the place where all this complexity is going--is what, or who, we might call God. And anything that promotes, enhances, or accelerates this movement toward God is good. Anything that inhibits, impedes, or prevents it is evil. And if we want to know if something is good or evil-something like war and killing and smuggling guns to mujahidin guerrillas, for example--then we ask the questions: What if everyone did this thing? Would that help us, in this bit of the universe, to get there, or would it hold us back? And then we have a pretty good idea whether it's good or evil. What's more important, we know why it's good or evil. –Linbaba

I think I'd like a short, direct answer to every question. – Linbaba

Anything that can be put in a nutshell should remain there.

This is a test that you should apply to every man who tells you that he knows the meaning of life. Every guru you meet and every teacher, every prophet and every philosopher, should answer these two questions for you: What is an objective, universally acceptable definition of good and evil? And, what is the relationship between consciousness and matter? If he cannot answer these two questions, you know that he has not passed the test. –Khaderbhai

When the student is ready, the teacher appears. –Khaderbhai

Jealousy, like the flawed love that bears it, has no respect for time or space or wisely reasoned argument. Jealousy can raise the dead with a single, spiteful taunt, or hate a perfect stranger for nothing more than the sound of his name. – Linbaba

Sometimes it is necessary to do the wrong thing for the right reasons. The important thing is to be sure that our reasons are right, and that we admit the wrong-- that we do not lie to ourselves, and convince ourselves that what we do is right. - Khaderbhai

In my life, the wrong things were almost always done for the wrong reasons. Even the right things that I did were too often goaded by the wrong reasons. – Linbaba

I would never know that peace. I would never come to that Eden in the soul, where acceptance of punishment and acknowledgement of wrong and right roll away the troubles that lodge like stones in the barren field of an exiled heart. – Linbaba

She was a beautiful girl. She always made me look good, wherever we went. When I was with her I always looked like I knew what I was doing. And I didn't start to love her, really, until she walked away from me for the last time. She said I was interested in everything and committed to nothing. She said that to me once. And she was right. She was right. –Linbaba

Wars can't really change things. It's peace that makes the deepest cuts. –Linbaba

Light is the language of God. Light may be the way that God speaks to the universe, and to us. –Khaderbai

If you prove to a man how vain his hope is, how vain his hoping was, you kill the bright, believing part of him that wants to be loved. –Linbaba

You can't kill love. You can't even kill it with hate. You can kill in-love, and loving, and even loveliness. You can kill them all, or numb them into dense, leaden regret, but you can't kill love itself. Love is the passionate search for a truth other than your own; and once you feel it, honestly and completely, love is forever. Every act of love, every moment of the heart reaching out, is a part of the universal good: it's a part of God, or what we call God, and it can never die. –Linbaba

Men wage wars for profit and principle, but they fight them for land and women. Sooner or later, the other causes and compelling reasons drown in blood and lose their meaning. Sooner or later, death and survival clog the senses. Sooner or later, surviving is the only logic, and dying is the only voice and vision. Then, when best friends die screaming, and good men maddened with pain and fury lose their minds in the bloody pit, when all the fairness and justice and beauty in the world is blown away with arms and legs and heads of brothers and sons and fathers, then, what makes men fight on, and die, and keep on dying, year after year, is the will to protect the land and the women. You know that's true when you listen to them, in the hours before they go into battle. They talk about home, and they talk about the women they love. And you know it's true when you watch them die. If he's near the earth or on the earth in the last moments, a dying man reaches out for it, to squeeze a grasp of soil in his hand. If he can, he'll raise his head to look at the mountain, the valley, or the plain. If he's a long way from home, he'll think about it, and he'll talk about it. He'll talk about his village, or his home town, or the city where he grew up. The land matters, at the end. And at the very last, he won't scream of causes. At the very last, he'll murmur or he'll cry out the name of a sister or a daughter or a lover or a mother, even as he speaks the name of his God. The end mirrors the beginning. In the end, it's a woman, and a city. – Linbaba

Love's a one-way street. Love, like respect, isn't something you get; it's something you give. –Linbaba

When you know you're going to die, there's no comfort in cleverness. Genius is vain, and cleverness is hollow, at the end. The comfort that does come, if it comes at all, is that strangely marbled mix of time and place and feeling that we usually call wisdom.

Whatever you do in life, do it with courage, and you won't go far wrong. –Linbaba

Strong men make their own luck. –Habib

Stars shine because they are full with secrets. –Habib

And the camera, they say, doesn't lie. –Linbaba

There's only courage and fear and love. And war kills them all, one by one. Glory belongs to God, of course; that's what the word really means. And you can't serve God with a gun. –Linbaba

Where there's a weak will, there's a way. – Linbaba

You can't reason with a man who has no sense of money and its value. It's the one thing all civilized men have in common. If money doesn't mean anything, there is no civilization. There is nothing.
– Abdul Ghani

The best revenge, like the best sex, is performed slowly and with the eyes open. –Didier

It was the kind of beauty that grows from the sum of its parts rather than from any one outstanding feature: a beauty that strikes the eye rather than the heart, and a beauty that sours if it isn't nourished by some goodness from within. – Linbaba

He was, at heart, a humble man, and that humility made him an honorable man. –Linbaba

Virtue is concerned with what we do, and honor is concerned with how we do it. In its essence, honor is the art of being humble. And gangsters, just like cops, politicians, soldiers, and holy men, are only ever good at what they do if they stay humble. –Linbaba

Assassin grief: the kind of grief that lies in wait and attacks from ambush, with no warning and no mercy. I know now that assassin grief can hide for years and then strike suddenly, on the happiest day, without discernible reason or exegesis. But on that day, six months after my work in the passport factory had begun, and almost a year after Khader's death, I couldn't understand the dark and trembling mood that was moving in me, swelling to the sorrow I'd too long denied. I couldn't understand it, so I tried to fight it as a man fights pain or despair. But you can't bite down on assassin grief, and will it away. The enemy stalks you, step for step, and knows your every move before you make it. The enemy is your own grieving heart and, when it strikes, it can't miss. –Linbaba

You can only ever be yourself. The more you try to be like someone else, the more you find yourself standing in the way. –Linbaba

I never found a club or clan or idea that was more important to me than the men and women who believed in it. –Linbaba

It's bad, loving someone you can't forgive. -Linbaba
It's not as bad as loving someone you can't have. – Lisa

The word mafia comes from the Sicilian word for bragging. And if you ask any serious man who commits serious crimes for a living, he'll tell you it's just that--the boasting, the pride--that gets most of us in the end. But we never learn. Maybe it's not possible to break laws without boasting about it to someone. Maybe it's not possible to be an outlaw without being proud in some way. – Linbaba

Money, if the pile gets high enough, is something like a big political party: it does as much harm as it does good, it puts too much power in too few hands, and the closer you come to it the dirtier you get. – Linbaba

Fate always gives you two choices: the one you should take, and the one you do. – Scorpio George

That is how a man destroys his own soul--he loses the last limit to his evil. – Modena

Silences can wound as surely as the twisting lash.  – Sadiq Khan

Sometimes, being silent is the only way to tell the truth. – Linbaba

He'd been able to deal with that pain because he'd accepted his own part in causing it. – Linbaba

The cloak of the past is cut from patches of feeling, and sewn with rebus threads. Most of the time, the best we can do is wrap it around ourselves for comfort or drag it behind us as we struggle to go on. But everything has its cause and its meaning. Every life, every love, every action and feeling and thought has its reason and significance: its beginning, and the part it plays in the end. Sometimes, we do see. Sometimes, we see the past so clearly, and read the legend of its parts with such acuity, that every stitch of time reveals its purpose, and a kind of message is enfolded in it. Nothing in any life, no matter how well or poorly lived, is wiser than failure or clearer than sorrow. And in the tiny, precious wisdom that they give to us, even those dread and hated enemies, suffering and failure, have their reason and their right to be. – Linbaba

When the loving, honest moment comes it should be seized, and spoken, because it may never come again. And unvoiced, unmoving, unlived in the things we declare from heart to heart, those true and real feelings wither and crumble in the remembering hand that tries too late to reach for them. –Linbaba

They couldn't understand that every time I entered the slum I felt the urge to let go and surrender to a simpler, poorer life that was yet richer in respect, and love, and a vicinal connectedness to the surrounding sea of human hearts. They couldn't understand what I meant when I talked about the purity of the slum: they'd been there, and seen the wretchedness and filth for themselves. They saw no purity. But they hadn't lived in those miraculous acres, and they hadn't learned that to survive in such a writhe of hope and sorrow the people had to be scrupulously and heartbreakingly honest. That was the source of their purity: above all things, they were true to themselves. –Linbaba

You gotta be careful what you wish for in life. – Abdullah

The only kingdom that makes any man a king is the kingdom of his own soul. The only power that has any real meaning is the power to better the world. –Linbaba

Anger softened into sorrow, as it always does, as it always must. And no part of what we'd wanted, just an hour's life before, was as rich in hope or meaning as a single teardrop's fall. –Linbaba

Luck is what happens to you when fate gets tired of waiting. –Karla
There is no man, and no place, without war. The only thing we can do is choose a side, and fight. That is the only choice we get--who we fight for, who we fight against. That is life. – Nazeer

Old habits die hard--and lie harder. –Karla

It is always a fool's mistake, to be alone with someone you shouldn't have loved. –Didier

She laughed and then turned to me, suddenly serious again. Her eyes, pale with moonlight; her eyes, the green of water lilies after the rain; her long hair, black as forest river stones; her hair that was like holding the night itself in the wrap of my fingers; her lips, starred with incandescent light; lips of camellia-petal softness warmed with secret whispers. Beautiful. And I loved her. I loved her still so much, so hard, but with no heat or heart at all. That falling love, that helpless, dreaming, soaring love, was gone. And I suddenly knew in those seconds of ... cold adoration, I suppose ... that the power she'd once held over me was also gone. Or, more than that, her power had moved into me, and had become mine. I held all the cards. And then I wanted to know. It wasn't good enough to just accept what had happened between us. I wanted to know everything. – Linbaba

I don't feel sorry for any of it, and I don't regret a thing. I'm cold inside. I like people, and I like things, but I don't love any of them--not even myself--and I don't really care about them. And, you know, the strange thing is, I don't really wish that I did care. – Karla

There is the kind of emptiness that's sad but not distressed, pitying but not broken-hearted, and damaged, somehow, but clearer and cleaner for it. And then I knew what it was, that emptiness: there's a name for it, a word we use often, without realizing the universe of peace that's enfolded in it. The word is free. –Linbaba

Everyone in the whole world was Indian in at least one past life.

Every human heartbeat is a universe of possibilities. – Khaderbhai

Every human will has the power to transform its fate. I'd always thought that fate was something unchangeable: fixed for every one of us at birth, and as constant as the circuit of the stars. But
I suddenly realized that life is stranger and more beautiful than that. The truth is that, no matter what kind of game you find yourself in, no matter how good or bad the luck, you can change your life completely with a single thought or a single act of love. –Linbaba

For this is what we do. Put one foot forward and then the other. Lift our eyes to the snarl and smile of the world once more. Think. Act. Feel. Add our little consequence to the tides of good and evil that flood and drain the world. Drag our shadowed crosses into the hope of another night. Push our brave hearts into the promise of a new day. With love: the passionate search for a truth other than our own. With longing: the pure, ineffable yearning to be saved. For so long as fate keeps waiting, we live on. God help us. God forgive us. We live on. –Linbaba

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