That Humanist


123 meme
February 5, 2008, 11:02 am
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Tagged by This Humanist. Here are the rules:

  • Pick up the book nearest you with at least 123 pages. (No cheating!)
  • Turn to page 123.
  • Count the first five sentences.
  • Post the next three sentences.
  • Tag five other bloggers.

Here goes:

Once a year, the skies were full of Color-by-Deluxe clouds: pink and purple, magenta and vermilion, saffron and green, these powder-clouds, squirted from re-used insecticide guns, or floating down from some bursting balloon-cluster wafting across the sky, hung in the air above the deities ‘like aurora-not-borealis-but-bombayalis’, as the painter Vasco Miranda used to say. Also sky-high above crowds and gods, year after year – for forty-one years in all – fearless upon the precipitous ramparts of our Malabar Hill bungalow, which in a spirit of ironic mischief or perversity she had insisted on naming Elephanta, there twirled the almost-diving figure of our very own Aurora Bombayalis, plumed in a series of dazzle-hued mirrorwork outfits, outdoing in finery even the festival sky with its hanging gardens of powdered colour. Her white hair flaying around her in long loose exclamations (O prophetically premature white hair of my ancestors!), her exposed belly not old-bat-fat but fit-cat-flat, her bare feet stamping, her ankles a-jingle with silver jhunjhunna bell-bracelets, snapping her neck from side to side, speaking incomprehensible volumes with her hands, the great painter danced her defiance, she danced her contempt for the perversity of humankind, which led these huge crowds to risk death-by-trampling ‘just to dumpofy their dollies in the drink,’ as she liked incredulously, and with much raising of eyes to skies and wry twisting of the mouth, to jeer.

That’s from “The Moor’s Last Sign” by Salman Rushdie. I’ve read the book and I’m currently listening to another of his, Shalimar the Clown.