All the Lives We Never Lived

By Anuradha Roy

It’s my stupidity that I bought this novel, when actually it was Arundhati Roy’s book that I wanted to buy. And it should be her collection of essays I wanted to read. After a long period of the second book of Lord of the Rings (like 4 months, and a journey circuitous, dull, but physically and technically challenging and up up up the mountain like Tour de France) , what I want most is some non-fiction, talking about society and politics in India.

So, I’ve got (Jacob Rees-Mogg, fuck you! if “got" is not proper English, what is? Is “Fucktart" better? or “Twat"? You should be called “Fucktart Twat, Esq."?) my purchase all wrong. And I said this here as an apology to both Ms. Arundhati Roy and Anuradha Roy, both to me are GOAT writers in their primes. And both are Indians, whom I recently long for making friends with.

And the novel I am reading by Ms. Anuradha Roy, All the Lives We Never Lived, is quite good. A quite post-modern style of writing (I mean here that the snippets of words within a chapter between *** and ***, or called “sub-chapters", and content between chapters, seem bear little relationship with one another. So it needs readers to put the puzzles back together at the very last) about an India long ago. 1937 Muntazir ( I don’t even know where it is. I didn’t even bother to google map it. As Ms. Roy described, it should be around Pushawa border to Burma).

India. A place I really fancy to go. Some day maybe. Not now. Now I unluckily have other occupations. Yes, an “s", more than one. And literally each of them is so different from others that I have to use “s" to indicate its variety even you count “occupation" an uncountable noun. Northern India, some say it’s cooler to go. But I’m not sure.  India. A place famous of her Roti but seems everyone like her popperdom and naan than Roti (I personally like Roti more, as it is drier. Naan’s texture is too greasy to me, esp. those cooked in The Delhi Club in Tsim Sha Tsui). India. A country with the best tradition of Cricket (So I was bemused of people saying to me, when I say I love Cricket, “oh…you love such elegant sport!" like it’s an English pasture nobleman sport like Polo. No, it’s not. When you crack into Indian channels for Indian Premier League you’ll see a lot of ads for porn sites and hubs, which I suppose you don’t see when you crack into Polo game live).

Here is a sneak peep of a lyrics in the book which was sung to the protagonist, Myshkin Rosario, by her mother, Gayatri Gen:

Skyful of sun and stars,

This universe exploding with life,

And in the midst of this: I!

I have found a space.

In wonderment it is born –

That is why it is born – my song.


In the infinity of time

Spins the earth.

With the ebb and flow of tides

Sways the world.

In my veins, in my bloodstream,

I feel a throb.

In wonderment it is born –

That is why it is born – my song.


I’ve opened my ears,

I’ve opened my eyes,

I’ve poured out my soul

Upon the bosom of the earth.

I’ve searched out the unknown

Within the familiar.

In wonderment it is born –

That is why my song is born,

Under a sky full of sun and stars.


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