THE GOD OF SMALL THINGS
The God of Small Things written by Arundhati Roy is the debut novel by the writer, first published in 1997 by India Ink Publications. It became an immediate success across the globe. The novel is set in Ayemenem in Kerala, India.
Roy published ‘The God of Small Things’ with John Berger’s epigraph: ‘Never again will a single story be told as though it’s the only one‘. It explores how small things can influence the behaviour, character and lives of people. She wrote her second novel ‘The Ministry of Utmost Happiness’ in 2017, twenty years after the first novel.
|“It didn’t matter that the story had begun, because Kathakali discovered long ago that the secret of the Great Stories is that they have no secrets. The Great Stories are the ones you have heard and want to hear again.” -The God of Small Things|
Arundhati Roy or Suzanna Arundhati Roy is an Indian writer, novelist and social activist. As a novelist, she has two novels to her name: The God of Small Things and The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. She also wrote some essays but she is primarily known as a novelist. She was born in 1961 in Shillong, Meghalaya, India.
Her debut novel, ‘The God of Small Things‘ won the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 1997. She is also a social activist fighting for environmental and human rights issues and so on.
The God of Small Things is her widely read novel. This novel deals with various themes including love and sexuality, untouchability and class system and so on.
The plot of ‘The God of Small Things’ centers around Rahel and Esthappan, seven years old fraternal twins of Ammu Ipe and her alcoholic husband Baba in Calcutta. The plot jumping back and forth between 1969 (when the twins are 7 years old) and 1993 (when they are 31 years old).
Ammu Ipe escapes her bitter parents, Pappachi and Mammachi, persuading to let her spend the summer with her aunt in Calcutta. There she marries an alcoholic and gives birth to Rahel and Esthappan. Unable to tolerate physical tortures by her husband and when he tries to make her sleep with his boss, she escapes from him and comes back to Ayemenem.
In meantime Chacko, Ammu’s brother who lives in England, marries an English woman named Margaret and after his divorce from his wife and on the subsequent death of his father Pappachi, he also comes back to Ayemenem.
Ammu’s aunt Baby Kochamma or Navomi Ipe is an embittered, arrogant woman lives in the traditional family home in Ayemenem. She, as a young woman loved Father Mulligan, a young Irish priest in Ayemenem and converted herself to Roman Catholicism in order to come closer to him. But it didn’t make a difference and he never returned her love. Her father rescued her from the convent and sent her to America. Because of her unrequited love for Father Mulligan, she remained unmarried for the rest of her life. She acts as a driving force behind every major calamity in the novel.
After Margaret has lost her second husband in a car accident, she comes to spend Christmas with her first husband, Chacko in Ayemenem, along with her daughter Sophie Mol. The family goes to pick up Margaret and Sophie in the airport. On the way to airport, they will visit a theatre. While waiting at the level crossing, they encounter a group of Communist protesters who surround the car and humiliate Baby Kochamma forcing her to pronounce Communist slogans and wave their flag.
Rahel notices Velutha among the protesters, a lower caste and worker in the family’s pickle factory, Paradise Pickles and Preserves. At the theatre, Estha is sexually molested by Orangedrink Lemondrink Man, a vender in the theatre’s snack counter.
As Rahel is sure that she witnessed Velutha’s presence among the protesters, Baby Kochamma grows an enmity towards him. Unlike Baby Kochamma, Estha and Rahel form an intimate bond with Velutha though he belongs to a lower caste. Gradually Ammu also forms a relationship with him which culminate into love at the end. She comes to love him by night and her children by day. This angers the family, particularly Baby Kochamma.
Ammu is locked up in a room and Velutha is terminated. Consequently, Ammu accuses her children for her misfortunes. Rahel and Estha are distraught and they decide to run away. Their cousin, Sophie also joins them. As they try to escape across the nearby river by boat, the boat collapses and Sophie drowns. Chacko and Margaret are infuriated when they see Sophie’s body laid on sofa.
Velutha is severely beaten up and arrested by police as Baby Kochamma has asserted that he is responsible for Sophie’s death. But Estha and Rahel have reported to the chief police that Velutha is innocent and he has no hand in Sophie’s death and he hasn’t abducted them.
The chief police, Inspector Thomas Mathew, is afraid because Velutha is a Communist and if the news of his wrongful arrest spreads that will surely cause unrest among the Communists. He threatens to imprison Baby Kochamma for wrongly accusing Velutha. To escape the imprisonment, she threatens the twins for a sure imprisonment for killing Sophie out of jealousy and convinces them to lie to the police that Velutha has kidnapped them and killed Sophie. They agree and say yes to the chief police. Velutha dies out of injuries.
Ammu goes to the police station to tell the truth about Velutha. Afraid of being exposed, Baby Kochamma traps Ammu into Sophie’s murder issue telling Chacko that Ammu and her children are responsible for his daughter’s death.
Chacko kicks Ammu out of the house. Estha comes to live with his father in Calcutta. Rahel later marries and gets settled in America. Ammu dies at 31. After getting divorce from her husband, Rahel returns to Ayemenem at the age of 31. Estha also comes to Ayemenem and the twins are reunited at 31 after 23 years since their turbulent childhood. Apparently no one could understand them in the way they understand each other. At the end, the twins have sex. Then they recount their childhood nostalgically and the love affair between Velutha and Ammu.
CHAPTER WISE SUMMARY
PARADISE PICKLES & PRESERVES
The God of Small Things centers around a wealthy Syrian Christian Ipe family in Ayemenem, Kerala, India. The plot of the novel jumps back and forth between scenes in 1969 and 1993. The protagonists of the novels are the twins, Esthappen Ipe and Rahel Ipe, the children of Ammu Ipe and Baba.
After being separated for 23 years, Rahel came back to Ayemenem, her childhood home, in 1993 to visit her fraternal twin Esthappen (Estha). During their childhood in Ayemenem, they believed that they were single entity although their bodies separated them. After a long period of separation, she came back to her childhood home.
The next scene jumps back to 1969 when the twins are 7 years old. They were standing apart along with their mother Ammu in the Sophie Mol‘s funeral. Sophie Mol was the daughter of Chacko (Ammu’s brother) and Margaret Kochamma. The twins and Ammu were restricted to stand along the rest since they were accused to be the reason for Sophie’s death. Sophie’s body laid in the coffin. Rahel’s great-aunt Navomi Ipe (mostly called as Baby Kochamma) standing among the mourners. Rahel imagined that Sophie was still alive and Sophie did secret cartwheel in the coffin.
Ammu and the twins went to the police station after the funeral and demanded the police inspector, Thomas Mathew, to show her the man named Velutha. Inspector Thomas Mathew’s mustaches bustled like the friendly Air India Maharajah’s, but his eyes were sly and greedy. By the time they went to the station, Velutha was dead. The inspector came around his desk and approached Ammu with his baton and said, “If I were you, I’d go home quietly.” Then he
“tapped her breasts with his baton. Gently. Tap tap. As though he was choosing mangoes from a basket. Pointing out the ones that he wanted packed and delivered. Inspector Thomas Mathew seemed to know whom he could pick on and whom he couldn’t. Policemen have that instinct.” -The God of Small Things
Behind the Police Inspector a red and blue board said:
Then Ammu left the station, sobbing and crying. It was the first time when the twins saw their mother crying. They traveled to Ayemenem by bus. Estha put his little hands around his weeping mother.
Two weeks later Sophie’s death, Ammu was forced to send Estha to his father Baba in Calcutta. Baba was a drunkard when Ammu divorced him. By now he had resigned his job in a tea estate in Assam and had found a job in Calcutta. He had remarried and more or less stopped drinking. Estha and Rahel had been separated and never had a chance to meet each other for next 23 years. Rahel had been with her uncle Chacko after her separation from Estha.
After some time, Rahel was expelled from school for stealing a teacher’s wig. Eventually she went to study architecture in Delhi where she met Larry McCaslin, an American student, and she married him and moved to Boston, United States. But their marriage didn’t last long. They got divorced.
When Rahel came to know that Estha was back in Ayemenem, she had returned too to see Estha and they both reunited eventually. Estha was resent to Ayemenem by their father, Baba, with a letter handwritten by Baba. Baby Kochamma showed Rahel the letter. It was written in a slanting, feminine, convent-school hand. The letter said that he, their father, had retired from his carbon-black job and was emigrating to Australia to work as Chief of Security at a ceramics factory. So, he couldn’t take Estha with him. Rahel put the letter back into the cover. The letter became soft and folded like a cloth because of the dampness of the monsoon air:
It hadn’t changed, the June Rain. Heaven opened and the water hammered down, reviving the reluctant old well, greenmossing the pigless pigsty carpet bombing still, tea-colored puddles the way memory bombs still, tea-colored minds. The grass looked wetgreen and pleased. Happy earthworms frolicked purple in the slush. Green nettles nodded. Trees bent. -The God of Small Things
Baby Kochamma was seen wearing all Mammachi’s jewelry. She is now an old lady of 83 years. It is evident from the previous scenes of the novel that she liked neither Estha nor Rahel. When she was an 18 years young woman, she fell in love with Father Mulligan, a local priest in Ayemenem who visited her father, Reverend Ipe (popularly known as Punnyan Kanj—Little Blessed One), on Thursdays. When he left Ayemenem and went to Madras, she followed him and converted to Roman catholic in order to impress him. But this endeavor proved futile.
Baby Kochamma’s father rescued her from the convent and sent her to United States where she studied ‘Ornamental Gardening’ at the University of Rochester. After she completed her degree, she came to Ayemenem and spent most of her timing in gardening. She never married. After she had found a Television, she had begun to spend most of her time on watching American TV shows along with her cook Kochu Maria and learnt to live all her doors and windows always kept locked.
Baby Kochamma sees Rahel suspiciously. Rahel ignored her and diverted her attention looking at Paradise Pickles and Preserves. When it was at the hands of Mammachi, the factory was used to make a variety of
“pickles, squashes, jams, curry powders and canned pineapples. And banana jam (illegally) after the FPO (Food Products Organization) banned it because according to their specifications it was neither jam nor jelly. Too thin for jelly and too thick for jam. An ambiguous, unclassifiable consistency” -The God of Small Things
Rahel thought how this difficulty of classification had much to do with the family and ran much deeper than the jam-jelly question.
The next scene again jumps back to 1969. Estha was sent to Calcutta after Sophie’s death. He left Ayemenem with a heavy heart. Velutha was arrested and dead in custody. Baby Kochamma had much to do with the turn of events. But she always behaved as though she had nothing to do with these misfortunes. Sophie Mol’s death had brought much potential to the story. The narrator comments here that seemingly ordinary things can add up to life changing events: ‘Little events, ordinary things, smashed and reconstituted. Imbued with new meaning. Suddenly they become the bleached bones of a story.’
The chapter 2 of The God of Small Things opens in December, 1969. Estha and Rahel along with their mother Ammu, uncle Chacko and great-aunt Baby Kochamma, traveled to Cochin in a skyblue Plymouth, the family’s vehicle.
They were going there to see the movie The Sound of Music. Estha and Rahel were to watch the movie for the third time and they knew all the songs.
After the movie, they were going to stay at Hotel Sea Queen with the old food smell. Next morning, they would go to Cochin airport to invite Margaret Kochamma, the ex-wife of Chacko, and her daughter, Sophie Mol, who were coming to India for Christmas. Margaret and Chacko fell in love with each other when Chacko was studying at Oxford University, England. They got married and after Margaret gave birth to Sophie Mol, they got divorced and Margaret married another young man named Joe. Joe died in an accident.
Margaret and Sophie were coming to Ayemenem to spend Christmas holidays with Chacko. The twins had never seen Sophie before. The narrative then moves on to introduce the characters travelling in the Plymouth. Estha was wearing his beige and pointy shoes and Elvis puff, his favourite outing puff. He would hum his favourite Elvis song, “Party”, The God of Small Things summary The God of Small Things summary The God of Small Things summary The God of Small Things summary
“Some people like to rock, some people like to roll” -The God of Small Things
Chacko also claimed that he was writing a Family Biography. Ammu was a 27 years old lady. She completed her schooling the same year her father retired from his job in Delhi and moved to Ayemenem. She wasn’t permitted to do college education as the family considered it unnecessary for a girl.
Ammu grew desperate as she was an unnoticed object in the house. She hatched a number of plans to escape the pathetic situation. Finally, she got permission to go to Calcutta for a summer and there she met Baba in a wedding reception and married him. Baba was working as an assistant manager in a tea estate in Assam. His family was once a wealthy zamindars. Ammu’s father-in-law was Chairman of the Railway Board and had a Boxing Blue from Cambridge. He was the Secretary of the BABA-the Bengal Amateur Boxing Association.
Several days went by. Later she discovered Baba to be liar and an alcoholic. He even dared to prostitute Ammu to his boss, Mr. Hollick, to protect his job. He had beaten her for not accepting to go to Hollick’s bungalow. She in turn, took down the heaviest book she could find in the bookshelf (The Reader’s Digest World Atlas) and hardly hit him.
As the violence grew day by day and when it began to include the children, she eventually divorced him and moved back to Ayemenem. She was admitted back into the house reluctantly. Pappachi, Ammu’s father, didn’t believe her story about Mr Hollick because he believed that no Englishman would yearn to possess another’s wife. Ammu loved her children and watched over them fiercely. To her, the twins seemed like a “pair of small bewildered frogs engrossed in each other’s company, lolloping arm in arm down a highway full of hurtling traffic.”
Ammu looked back in her life, before she married and during her marriage. She knew that the marriage is something that couldn’t be avoided altogether. When she looked at the wedding photographs, she seemed a foolish jeweled bride. The narrator goes on to say that it was her recklessness and the infinite tenderness of motherhood that gave her the ‘Unsafe Edge’ later in her life. The God of Small Things summary The God of Small Things summary The God of Small Things summary
Then the narrative turns back to the Plymouth ride. From the beginning, Baby Kochamma didn’t like twins partially because they were not pure Christians (Half-Hindu Hybrids, of an intercommunity love marriage) and partially because of their mother who was divorcee. So, she would always intentionally disgrace them. And also never failed to disgrace Ammu frequently as she viewed that a married woman had no place in the parents’ home and a divorced woman nowhere at all. The children were unable to understand all these as they were very young.
Rahel began to think about the Plymouth. On its roof was a four-sided plywood billboard on which there was an elaborate writing on all sides, Paradise Pickles & Preserves. Below the board, there was a list of the Paradise products and a Kathakali dancer with an S-shaped swirling skirt and at its bottom it said Emperors of the Realm of Taste which was a literal translation of Ruchi locatbinde Rajavu which was Comrade K. N. M. Pillai’s unsolicited contribution. Paradise Pickles & Preserves was a company run by Mammachi. It was a successful business until it was in her hands. The God of Small Things summary The God of Small Things summary The God of Small Things summary The God of Small Things summary
Ammu commented that the Kathakali dancer was a Red Herring and had nothing to do with anything. But Chacko had the other opinion. He said that it gave the products a Regional Flavor and would stand them in good stead when they entered the Overseas Market. Ammu continued that the billboard made them look a travelling circus.
Mammachi became a successful businessman and soon was busy with the business all the year around after her pickles and jams sold quickly in the fair conducted by the Kottayam Bible Society. Pappachi thought that pickle-making was not suitable for a high-ranking ex-Government official. So, he often resented on Mammachi and would often beat her. It was stopped only after Chacko interrupted when Pappachi was caught with vase-hand and warned him that he never wanted it happen again. The God of Small Things summary The God of Small Things summary The God of Small Things summary
Pappachi bought the Plymouth from an Englishman in Munnar. He would be often seen in Ayemenem with his pride large car. Pappachi had been an Imperial Entomologist at the Pusa Institute. After Independence, when the British left, he was promoted to Joint Director, Entomology and when he retired, he had risen to a rank equivalent to Director. The God of Small Things summary The God of Small Things summary The God of Small Things summary The God of Small Things summary
Pappachi found a moth which he believed to a new species and wished that the moth should be named after him. Pappachi considered this was his greatest invention. But after six months, he was told that his moth belonged to the tropical family called Lymantriidae and it was a slightly different race of a well-known species. He wasn’t given credit for his moth. He considered it a great failure in his life and it haunted throughout his life and his descendants. He finally died of heart attack. Mammachi pasted the death notice of Pappachi appeared in Indian Express in the family photograph album which read: The God of Small Things summary The God of Small Things summary The God of Small Things summary
Noted entomologist Shri Benaan John Ipe, son of late Rev. E. John Ipe of Ayemenem (popularly known as Punnyan Kunju), suffered a massive heart attack and passed away at the Kottayam General Hospital last night. He developed chest pains around 1:05 AM, and was rushed to hospital. The end came at 2:45 A.M. Shri Ipe had been keeping indifferent health since last six months. He is survived by his wife Soshamma and two children. -The God of Small Things
According to Chacko, Pappachi and all in the family were anglophiles, ‘They were a family of Anglophiles‘, and lamented that the colonizers made a deep impact on the life of Indian people. After the death of Mammachi, Chacko left his teaching job in order to run the pickle factory. He bought equipment and hired workers. Soon the business declined and became a failure. The God of Small Things summary The God of Small Things summary The God of Small Things summary
Then the narration moves back to the car where Rahel and Estha were worried that they would be late for The Sound of Music as they had to wait at the railway level-crossing gate. To entertain themselves, the twins read sign boards backwards. A sign board said ‘STOP’, Estha read ‘POTS’. And a yellow hoarding said ‘BE INDIAN, BUY INDIAN’. Rahel read it backwards ‘NAIDNI YUB, NAIDNI EB’. They were also enthusiastic to read and quote books like Old Dog Tom, Janet and John and Kipling’s Jungle Book.
Baby Kochamma’s Australian missionary friend, Miss Mitten, once when she visited Ayemenem gave the twins a children’s book ‘The Adventures of Susie Squirrel’ as a present. First they read it forward and then backwards ‘ehT serutnevdA fo eisuS lerriuqS’, enO gnirps gninrom eisuS lerriuqS ekow pu.’ The twins also explained Miss Mitten, how it was possible to read these both Malayalam and Madam I’m Adam backwards as well as forwards.
The twins looked outside and saw buses and cars on either side at the level crossing. An ambulance full of people on their way to wedding said SACRED HEART HOSPITAL. Suddenly thousands of Marxists with red flags were marching on the road chanting “Workers of the World Unite!”
Chacko himself was a self-proclaimed Marxist. Pappachi was an intensive critic of the communist government in Kerala led by Comrade E. M. S. Namboodiripad. Rahel noticed Velutha among the marchers and called him aloud. But Velutha didn’t hear her call. The narrator goes into detail about Velutha. Velutha was an untouchable (a paravan) who once worked in the Pappachi family along with his father Vellya Pappen. They were never allowed into the Ipe house. Velutha was a skilled worker even as a child. Kuttappen was his brother who became paralyzed after an accident. After four years of his unexpected disappearance, Velutha returned to Ayemenem and joined as a worker in Paradise Pickles & Preserves.
One of the marchers humiliated Baby Kochamma in the car by forcing her to hold a Marxist flag and to wave it. After the marchers had left the place Chacko was afraid that if Velutha was really among the marchers, it could mean a threat for his factory. Baby Kochamma was also angered by his involvement in the Marxist party.
Ammu told the story of Julius Caesar and how he was stabbed by his closest friend Brutus. Julius Caesar fell down on the floor saying ‘Et tu Brute?.’ Ammu commented on Estha telling no one was to be trusted and even Estha, in future, could become a ‘Male chauvinistic pig‘. Then the car began to move again as the train passed the level crossing.
BIG MAN THE LALTAIN, SMALL MAN THE MOMBATTI
The narrative turns back to 1993. The Ayemenem house looked filthy and the floor was sticky. The giant cockroaches were often seen moving around like varnished gofers on a film set. Doors, windows, lights, switches and all other things in the house were stained and gloomy. Infrequently used plug points were clogged with grime. White walls turned grey. Both Baby Kochamma and Kochu Maria, the cook, stopped caring the house. They would spend all the time watching TV shows.
Baby Kochamma used to sing songs with the singers on TV. They watched on TV ‘The Best of Donahue‘ (The Phil Donahue Show) where a busker sang ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow‘ in a subway station. Baby Kochamma sang along with him. When the busker ended his song, he felt it was a Prime-Time Happiness explained how it was his dream to sing on the Donahue show, he continued in excitement, not realizing that he had just been robbed of that too.
The narrator recalls a coolie who said Estha about dreams. Once, in a school excursion party at a railway station, an old coolie said to Estha about dreams: There are big dreams and little ones.“Big Man the Laltain sahib, Small Man the Mombatti. Big Man the Lantern. Small Man the Tallow-stick. ( Huge Man the Strobe Lights) And Small Man the Subway Station.”
Baby Kochamma informed Rahel that Estha was coming. He had been still and silent after he separated from Rahel when he was seven years old. He appeared at the kitchen door. Kochamma predicted what he would do next. She said to Rahel, The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things
“Here he comes, Now watch. He won’t say anything. He’ll walk straight to his room. Just watch_!” -The God of Small Things
Kochu Maria, using this opportunity, switched over channels and watched a bit of Prime Bodies. Rahel followed Estha to his room which was once Ammu’s room. The room was very clean and neatly arranged. The floor was clean and the walls were white. Estha removed his dress and went with a bucket to wash his clothes. He pulled his crushed-strawberry T-shirt over his head. He didn’t hear his sister, Rahel, at the door.
Rahel married Larry McCaslin and got divorced later. She and Estha hadn’t been together after they became matured enough. This was the first time. The slim-hipped Rahel stood at the door. Estha was nude. She watched him not as a brother but like a naked stranger in a chance encounter. She watched him ‘with the curiosity of a mother watching her wet child. A sister a brother. A woman a man. A twin a twin.’ She touched his ear. Estha didn’t look at her and retreated into further stillness. Silence prevailed. He went on to washing his clothes.
The narrative jumps back to 1969. The family reached “Abhilash Talkies”, the theatre where they were going to watch The Sound of Music. Abhilash Talkies proudly advertised that it was the first theatre in Kerala with a 70 mm CinemaScope screen. On toilets were written ‘HIS’ for men and ‘HERS’ for women. Ammu, Rahel and Baby Kochamma entered the HERS. Estha was left alone to HIS as Chacko had gone to see about bookings at the Hotel Sea Queen. The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things
In the toilet, Ammu advised Rahel to balance in the air to piss because she knew that the Public Pots were dirty and no one knew who touched it, ‘whether a leper or a butcher or a car mechanic.’ As Rahel was unable to balance in the air, Ammu and Baby Kochamma helped her to pass urine. After that all assembled outside the toilet and the man with steel Eveready Torch hurried them up as the movie had started. The seated at Row J. Numbers 17, 18, 19, 20. They missed the beginning of the movie. The twins, especially Rahel, were very much excited.
In the movie, Julie Andrews was singing ‘The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Music’. An Elvis Pelvis Nun among the audience sang along. Heads turned toward the nun and hissed to stop. The nun was none other than Estha who couldn’t help himself stop singing along. As the audience continued to shout at him, Estha went out to the lobby where orange drinks, lemon drinks and melty chocolates were waiting. Alone at the Abhilash Talkies Princess Circle lobby, Estha was singing in a clear nun voice, “But how do you make her stay, And listen to all you say?”
As Estha continued his singing, the Orangedrink Lemondrink Man (the man who sells refreshments at the refreshment counter) shouted at him for disturbing his sleep. The man looked like an unfriendly jeweled bear. He also threatened that he would file a written complaint against the boy if he continued his singing. Then the man had a change of mind and forced the little Elvis to have a drink since he woke him up. Estha denied that he had finished his pocket money. But the man offered the boy to have the drink at free of cost.
While Estha having Lemondrink, the Orangedrink Lemondrink Man took the boy behind the counter and molested him. The drink was cold but his penis was hot. Simultaneously, he inquired and knew more about Estha’s grandmother and her Paradise Pickles and Preserves. After he ejaculated, the man wiped off the boy’s hand and sent him back to The Sound of Music. The most unfortunate event in Estha’s life which made him to loose his innocence. This incident haunted him long in his life.
Back in the movie, Estha felt he was extremely dirty and his hands were unclean. He saw white children in The Sound of Music. They were clean and attired in white with blue satin sashes.
As he got vomiting sensation, Ammu took him to Princess Circle bathroom. Estha tried to vomit but could not. Then cleaned his hands and face. Ammu then took him to refreshment counter. The Orangedrink Lemondrink Man invited them politely. Ammu got a lemon drink for Estha for refreshment. The Orangedrink Lemondrink Man spoke to Ammu politely and said that he knew Ayemenem and exactly where their factory, Paradise Pickles & Preserves was. He would often visit Ayemenem as it was his wife’s native. It was an indirect threatening to Estha to not to expose anybody what had happened to him. If he did so, the man would come to Ayemenem to repeat the same again.
Ammu compelled the rest to leave the movie midway as she didn’t want to risk a fever as Estha grew to be more sick. As they were back at the lobby, the Orangedrink Lemondrink Uncle gave Rahel a sweet with his ‘portable piano smile‘. On seeing his yellow teeth, she shrank from the hairy repulsive man. Then the Uncle said “Bye, Mol. I’ll see you in Ayemenem sometime.”
When Ammu praised the way the Orangedrink Lemondrink Uncle behaved with Estha, Rahel suddenly asked “So why don’t you marry him then?” This stunned everyone. Rahel didn’t know where those words came from. She scared and apologized Ammu in the bottom of her voice. Ammu said
“When you hurt people, they begin to love you less. That’s what careless words do. They make people love you a little less.” -The God of Small Things
Goosebumps happened to Rahel. She was so scared that Ammu would love her less. Then they took a taxi to the Hotel Sea Queen. Estha put his head out of the window. He knew that if Ammu found out about what he had done with the Orangedrink Lemondrink Man, she’d love him less as well. So, he didn’t want to tell it to Ammu. They reached the hotel. They were asked in the reception to go to ‘Room numbers 313 and 327‘. Chacko was puzzled to see them earlier from the movie.
All left for bed. Chacko imagined about Sophie Mol who would arrived the next day. It was when she was a baby, Chacko last saw her, when Margaret (Chacko’s wife) left him for Joe. Joe, later, died in an accident. Margaret came to visit Chacko in Ayemenem for vacation along with her daughter, Sophie. Chacko went on to think about Velutha who was reportedly seen among the Marxists’ march and afraid whether it would affect his Paradise Pickles & Preserves in any way.
GOD’S OWN COUNTRY
In the chapter 5 of The God of Small Things, the narrative jumps forward again to 1993. Years later Rahel visited the river near the Ayemenem house. In meantime, the river had shrunk simultaneously while she had grown. It greeted her ‘with a ghastly skull’s smile, with holes where teeth had been.’ Across the river, a saltwater barrage had been built. Plastic bags blew along the water. People bathed and the ladies washed their clothes. A new five-star hotel had been built across the river (which bought the ‘Heart of Darkness‘) where once ‘The History House‘ had been. Rahel’s watch with time painted on it lain buried there. Through the backwaters, the guests from Cochin arrived.
Turning around the river, Rahel could watch the trees still green and the sky still blue which counted something. They went ahead and filled in their smelly paradise, ‘God’s Own Country‘. The old houses and their belongings were arranged around the History House and labelled with placards that said, Traditional Kerala Umbrella, Traditional Bridal Dowry-box and so on. The ‘Heritage’ Hotel people explained their guests that the oldest among the wooden houses had been the ancestral home of Comrade E. M. S. Namboodiripad, Kerala’s Mao Tse-tung, and explained its features. Cut short Kathakali performances were done to the tourists in the evening.
On her was back to house, Rahel noticed Comrade Pillai speaking to a man outside Lucky Press. She tried to walk past him unnoticed. But Comrade Pillai recognized her. He called her ‘Rahel Mol!’ After sharing greetings each other, they started conversation. Pillai asked her about his husband and was shocked knowing that she was divorced.
Comrade, then, began to boast about his son, Lenin, who is in Delhi working with foreign embassies. He gave Rahel cellophane sachet which contained the photographs of Lenin and the family. Comrade also showed photographs of Estha, Rahel and Sophie with Lenin took by Chacko with his Rolleiflex camera days before Sophie Mol died. They were standing in the front verandah of the Ayemenem House. Rahel remembered the day when she and Lenin were children met in the clinic of Dr. Verghese Verghese, the leading Pediatrician in Kottayam for the same complaint Foreign Objects Lodged Up Their Noses. Lenin came with his mother Kalyani and Rahel with Ammu and Estha.
After exchanging the photographs and memories, Rahel left for home.
In the morning at the Hotel Sea Queen, Chacko, Baby Kochamma, Ammu, Rahel and Estha were getting ready to go Cochin Airport to receive Margaret and Sophie Mol. Rahel appeared on her new Airport Frock. She kissed and thanked Ammu for helping to put on the dress and knickers. While moving to the car, Estha commented Rahel looked stupid in her Airport Frock. Rahel slapped him and Estha did in turn.
The Cochin Airport shop was filled with Air India Maharajahs, sandalwood elephants and papier-mâchâ masks of kathakali dancers. There were four life-sized cement Kangaroos with pouches in the Arrivals Lounge that said USE ME. The Cochin Kangaroos had red-mouthed smile and pink-edged ears. The narrator then goes on to explain the people from all over Kerala were waiting at the airport with smile and love to welcome the Foreign Returnees came in Bombay-Cochin flight. Baby Kochamma Told the twins, “Don’t forget that you are Ambassadors of India. You’re going to form their First Impression of your country.”
It is apparent that Baby Kochamma was very much concerned with the twins’ behaviour and directly insisted to behave well and good in front of Margaret an Sophie. Meanwhile Estha was distracted with the thoughts of Orangedrink Lemondrink Man since he knew where to find the boy in Ayemenem and the factory on the banks of the Meenachal. Sophie and Margaret arrived at the airport.
Sophie greeted everyone. Chacko was excited to see them. He introduced everyone. Baby Kochamma tried to impress them by referring Sophie to Ariel ‘The Tempest’ by Shakespeare. They all had exchange of words and greetings. When Chacko introduced Estha, he denied to say “How do you do?” Ammu became furious and he would be punished later. Meanwhile Rahel was missing. She was afraid of Ammu that if she misbehaved, she would be punished too later. She hid behind the dirty airport curtain. She couldn’t get out of it because everything was wrong.
The Plymouth started to move back home carrying the guests. The skyblue Plymouth with tailfins had a smile for Sophie Mol, ‘A chromebumpered sharksmile, A Paradise Pickles carsmile.’ On the way back, they saw a dead elephant, fortunately it was not Kochu Thomban (Little Tusker), the Ayemenem temple elephant came to the Ayemenem House once a month for a coconut. Relieved that it was a stranger, they drove on. On the way back, Baby Kochamma suggested the twins to sing a car song in English as the Plymouth drove towards the Ayemenem house.
WISDOM EXERCISE NOTEBOOKS
The narration returns to 1993. Rahel explored through Pappachi’s study. Due to disuse of the room, it was rank with fungus. Mounted butterflies and moths had disintegrated into small heaps of dust. She rummaged in a book cupboard. Her bare footprints were clear in the dust on the floor and she found Baby Kochamma’s rosary which she stole years back when she was a child (23 years back). She was looking for something.
Rahel’s hands went through the row of books and found a smooth seashell, an orange pipette and a silver crucifix on a string of beads. There were four tattered “Wisdom Exercise Notebooks” and inside which some scrap of papers which said Esthappen and Rahel in Ammu’s handwriting. The twins used the notebooks to practice writing. Inside the back cover of one, in child’s handwriting with irregular space between words written ‘I Hate Miss Mitten and I Think Her gnickers are TORN’.
On the front of the book, Estha had rubbed out his surname with spit, and had written ‘Esthappen Unknown.’ Rahel continued reading further through the Wisdom Notebooks. Ammu had written corrections but she never completed her corrections. The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things
The last time when Ammu visited Ayemenem years earlier [after Chacko had thrown her out of the house because she had no legal standing (Locusts Stand I/ locus standi) in the house], she had severe asthma and a rattle in her chest and owing to frequent sickness, she was terminated from her job as a receptionist in a cheap hotel and Rahel had just been expelled from Nazareth Convent. With her meager salary, Ammu bought Rahel small presents wrapped in brown paper: A packet of cigarette sweets, a Phantom pencil box and Paul Bunyan – a Junior Classics Illustrated comic.
Ammu, then, said Rahel that she had bought a comic for Estha too. When she got a better job, she could rent a room for them and would fetch Estha from Calcutta. She also continued that that day was not far off and they would all live together in The Hague with a Dutch ayah to look after them. She had applied for a UN job or she might stay on in India and would start a school.
At the dining, Mammachi, Rahel and Ammu had lunch together. Ammu belched like a truck driver and asked sorry in an unnatural voice. She picked fried emperor fish off the bone. Mammachi asked her whether she had been drinking and suggested that she visit Rahel as seldom as possible. At once Ammu left the table without saying a word. Chacko said to Rahel to “Go and see her off.”
Rahel never saw Ammu again alive. Ammu was found dead in the Bharat Lodge in Alleppey, where she had gone for a job interview. The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things
She was thirty-one. Not old, not young, but a viable, die-able age. -The God of Small Things
Chacko took her body to electronic crematorium. Rahel thought that Ammu looked like a Roman Senator. As the crematorium in-charge went out for a cup of tea, both Chacko and Rahel had to wait outside the crematorium with the pink receipt (Receipt No. Q498673) to collect the clay pot that carried Ammu’s remains. Estha was not with them. He was informed of Ammu’s death through a letter. But Rahel never wrote to him.
Rahel stood on the verandah where Welcome Home, Our Sophie Mol was performed years ago with the tattered Wisdom Notebooks. Her mind was full of thinking about Estha. This chapter ends with a famous quote of Arundhati Roy:
Things can change in a day -The God of Small Things
WELCOME HOME, OUR SOPHIE MOL
Back in 1969, Mammachi was eagerly waiting for the arrival of Sophie Mol and Margaret Kochamma. The Ayemenem house looked detached and unfriendly with the people of the house. The narrative goes on to explain the aloofness of the house, Mammachi and other things.
Mammachi held a gleaming violin under her chin. Her opaque fifties sunglasses were black and slanty-eyed, with rhinestones on the corners of the frames. Her sari was starched and perfumed. Offwhite and gold. Her diamond earrings shone in her ears like tiny chandeliers. Her ruby rings were loose. Her pale, fine skin was creased like cream on cooling milk and dusted with tiny red moles. She was beautiful. Old, unusual, regal. -The God of Small Things
With the violin held in hand, the blind Mammachi played Lentement – a movement from the Suite in D/G of Handel’s Water Music – and remembered her first batch of professional pickles years back. The pickle bottle had leakage and Mammachi looked for way outs. She consulted Homescale Preservations, a book Chacko gave her. But it didn’t help her. Finally Annamma Chandy’s brother-in-law, the Regional Manager of Padma Pickles in Bombay advised her to increase the proportion of preservative and salt. This helped her to solve the issue but not fully. Still after years the Paradise Pickles bottles used to leak a little.
Then Mammachi thought of Margaret Kochamma and Sophie Mol. She used to despise Margaret often as she didn’t like her marrying Chacko and for leaving him soon.
Kochu Maria stood in the dark, smoky kitchen and busy making ‘WELCOME HOME OUR SOPHIE MOL‘ cake. She used to wear her favourite spotless half– sleeved white chatta with a V-neck and her white mundu when most of the Syrian Christian women usually wore saris. She was proud of her status being Touchable and a Syrian Christian, not a Pelaya, or a Pulaya, or a Paravan. She had short, thick forearms, fingers like cocktail sausages, and a broad fleshy nose with flared nostrils. Once Estha said “Et ta, Kochu Maria?’ and she thought he was insulting in English and it meant something like Kochu Maria, You Ugly Black Dwarf.
All the workers stopped their work and looked at the car as the Plymouth entered the Ayemenem house. The workers whispered “Chacko Saar vannu“. Rahel began to tell Mammachi what had happened to Estha at The Sound of Music. But she got a gentle but somewhat threatening shut up call from Ammu.
Rahel realized gradually that she had no space to play and was out of game. Nobody cared about her and everyone’s eyes were on Sophie Mol and Margaret. Chacko introduced Sophie and Margaret to Mammachi. Chacko, in his What Happened to Our Man of the Masses? suit and well-fed tie, led in Margaret Kochamma and Sophie Mol and the narrator muses that once again only the Small Things were said.
Velutha was seen walking far away through the rubber trees. On seeing him, Ammu saw, Rahel slipped out to him. Velutha and Rahel greeted each other. Rahel bowed like the English dairymaid in “The King’s Breakfast”. Ammu watched Velutha tossed up Rahel and how her daughter was delighted to be with Velutha. She remembered her childhood when Velutha as a child was helping Vellya Pappen to count coconuts. Suddenly Ammu hoped that it was probably Velutha whom Rahel saw among the marchers the day before. She also thought that it was his hidden anger under his cheerful face. Ammu saw Velutha see her. Both looked away.
History’s fiends returned to claim them. To re-wrap them in its old, scarred pelt and drag them back to where they really lived. Where the Love Laws lay down who should be loved. And how. -The God of Small Things
On Rahel asking about his presence among the march, Velutha managed to escape by telling that it was probably his long-lost twin brother Urumban. But she seemed not to believe him.
Kochu Maria welcomed Sophie and Margaret with the cake she prepared. On seeing Sophie, Kochu Maria shouted ‘Sundari kutty’ (Little angel or Beautiful girl). When Margaret asked an embarrassing question about kissing and snipping, Ammu responded in her own way. Chacko insisted that she apologize to Margaret for her rude answer. But Ammu stormed out to her room. From her room, she called Rahel for her ‘Afternoon Gnap’. Velutha put her down. Baby Kochamma warned her not to be over-familiar with that man. Baby Kochamma also warned the family “That man will be our Nemesis“. But none paid attention to her words.
Kochu Maria said to Rahel about Sophie, “When she grows up, she’ll be our Kochamma, and she’ll raise our salaries, and give us nylon saris for Onam.” Rahel got angry and said “By then I’ll be living in Africa”. Kochu Maria giggled that Africa was full of ugly black people and mosquitoes. Rahel became furious and said that she was the one who was ugly and stupid dwarf. She went away to the well where she usually killed red ants for sport. Sophie suggested her “Let’s leave one alive so that it can be lonely.” But Rahel ignored her and killed all the ants and went away.
MRS. PILLAI, MRS. EAPEN, MRS. RAJAGOPALAN
In 1993, Rahel was in the abandoned ornamental garden. She was thinking about how it would be if she had been working in Washington. But she had no plans and already Baby Kochamma asked her how long she would stay there and her plans about future and what she had planned to do about Estha. In fact, she had no plans, ‘No L…custs Stand I’. The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things
Rahel also remembered the day when she and Estha along with Sophie Mol spent the whole day saying nictitating ictitating tating ating ting ing. All three were wearing saris and looked like three raccoons trying to pass off as Hindu ladies. It was about a week after Sophie Mol arrived. A week before she died. And after she had informed Chacko that she loved Joe more than him.
Estha and Rahel along with Sophie Mol visited Velutha in saris and introduced themselves Mrs Pillai, Mrs Eapen, Mrs Rajagopalan. Velutha addressed them all as Kochamma. He introduced himself and his brother Kuttappen. Exactly three days before ‘the Terror’ (Sophie’s death) happened, these three were painting Velutha’s nails with red Cutex. Years later Rahel with adult hindsight could recognize the sweetness of the poor Velutha.
Inside the room, Estha was sitting on his bed looking out through the window at the darkness. In her chain of thought, Rahel was thinking about their past and how it ended to be traumatic. Both Rahel and Estha knew that there were several perpetrators that day when Sophie died. But only one victim, that was Velutha. Rahel heard the sound of the chenda from the Ayemenem temple announcing the performance of the kathakali dance. On her way to History house, she noticed the remains of Paradise Pickles Factory and she mused ‘Things can change in a day.’
THE RIVER IN THE BOAT
Back in 1969, Welcome Home, Our Sophie Mol Play was being performed. Kochu Maria distributed cake. Estha made his way among the Paradise Pickles. He was in search of a proper place to sit and think. Only Ousa, the Bar Nowl that occasionally contributed to the flavor of certain Paradise products, watched him walk. Inside, the smell of vinegar and asafoetida stung his nostrils. Estha was familiar with the smell, so he loved it.
Estha continued walking through, thinking about Orangedrink Lemondrink Man could come to Ayemenem any time by Cochin-Kottayam bus. And ‘Ammu would offer him a cup of tea. Or Pineapple Squash perhaps. With ice. Yellow in a glass.’ As he stirred the thick, fresh jam, he had two thoughts in mind:
a) Anything can happen to anyone.
b) It’s best to be prepared. -The God of Small Things
At the same time he was worried about the Orangedrink Lemondrink Man, he was also happy with the bit of freedom he enjoyed. And gradually Thought Number Three rose in mind:
(c) A boat. A boat to row across the river Akkara. The Other Side. A boat to carry Provisions. Matches. Clothes. Pots and Pans. Things they would need and couldn’t swim with.
In order to escape the Orangedrink Lemondrink Man, he planned to row across the river and go to the History House. Rahel appeared in the factory and Estha revealed his plan to row to the History House. But the thought of Kari Saipu’s (an Englishman who went native) ghost mitigated their courage. Rahel suggested that they become Communists so that they didn’t have to believe in ghosts (as Communists didn’t believe in ghosts) and they would row to the History House. After Ammu fell asleep, Estha and Rahel took the damaged boat to Velutha to fix it. They had to wait at the Velutha’s hut as he was out. Velutha returned and helped them to fix the boat.
THE GOD OF SMALL THINGS
Ammu was still napping and in her dream she saw a cheerful man with one arm held her close by the light of an oil lamp and he shined brightly. He could not do more than one thing at a time;
If he held her, he couldn’t kiss her. If he kissed her, he couldn’t see her. If he saw her, he couldn’t feel her. -The God of Small Things
Goosebumps happened to the strange man when she touched him. She wondered who he was, whether ‘The God of Small Things or The God of Loss or The God of Goosebumps and Sudden Smiles? On seeing Ammu, the twins thought that she was in a nightmare and decided to wake her up anyhow. They tried various ways and means and finally Ammu woke up. She said “I was happy”. Estha asked ” If you’re happy in a dream, does that (the happiness) count?” Ammu knew what he meant. If one ate a fish in dream, it didn’t count at all. Ammu switched on her tangerine transistor. It played a song from the movie ‘ Chemmeen‘.
From the dusts covered on the twins, Ammu knew that they were just back from Velutha’s house. Without mentioning his name, she warned the twins, “I’ve told you before, I don’t want you going to his house. It will only cause trouble.” By not mentioning his name, she slowly realized who the one-armed man was. He was The God of Small Things, in fact, The God of Loss, Velutha. And the midwives of the pact that had been forged between her Dream and the World were her two-egg twins.
The twins sensed that in her sleep Ammu traveled far away from them. They tried to bring her back from the impact of the dream. They laid hands flat against the bare skin of her midriff. They climbed over her and Rahel sucked Ammu’s stomach. She finally got up from the bed and went to bathroom. There she explored and laughed out loud uncontrollably at the idea of walking naked down Ayemenem with an array of colored toothbrushes sticking out from either cheek of her bottom.
In Ammu’s bedroom, Estha stood on his head on Rahel’s bum. The narrator illustrates on the roles the bedroom would play in future. Ammu would be later locked up into the bedroom, then Chacko would release her and kick out of home.
In 1993, Rahel stepped into the temple with a coconut in hand through the wooden doorway. The sound of the chenda spread over the temple. Kochu Thomban, the Ayemenem temple elephant, was tethered to a wooden stake after his ceremonial rounds were over. He was asleep. Rahel sensed that he had grown older then and his skin became looser. He wasn’t Kochu Thomban anymore. He was Vellya Thomban, The Big Tusker.
Back from The Heart of Darkness, the Kathakali dancers stopped by the temple and prayed for pardon from their gods for corrupting their stories, for encashing their identities and for misappropriating their lives.
The story had already begun even before Rahel entered. It didn’t matter yet, because Kathakali discovered long ago and that The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things
‘the secret of Great Stories is that they have no secrets. The Great Stories are the ones you have heard and want to hear again. -The God of Small Things
The Kathakali man had the Great Stories in his finger tips. These stories were like his children. He had grown up with them and within them. To him, his body was his soul, his instrument.
Rahel sat with her back against a pillar watching Karna praying on the banks of Ganga. Kunti appeared before him and began to tell him a story. There was a young woman who was granted a mantra using which she could choose a lover from god’s. She tested the effectiveness of the mantra. The sun god (Surya) appeared before. He was beautiful and fascinating. Bewitched by his beauty, she gave herself to him. As a result, she gave birth to a male baby. As she was unmarried, she couldn’t keep the baby with her. So, she put him in a basket and Adhirata, a charioteer, found the baby downriver and named him Karna.
As Kunti completed her story, Karna eagerly asked who the woman (his mother) and where she was. She revealed the truth and Karna came to know that Kunti was his mother. Kunti kissed him. Karna, the warrior, reduced to an infant at this kiss. The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things
Estha entered the temple as well. Until dawn, the twins continued to watch the play. After the play was over, they stepped out the temple. Comrade K N M Pillai, Ayemenem’s egg-breaker, stepped in. He greeted them. The twins replied nothing and went home together.
THE PESSIMIST AND THE OPTIMIST
Back in 1969, Chacko moved to Pappachi’s study and left his room for Margaret Kochamma and Sophie Mol. Sophie was sleeping on a little camp cot. Her sleep was summarily dismissed. She woke up and looked around the room.
A vase of awkwardly arranged hibiscus, already drooping, stood on Chacko’s table. The walls were lined with books. A glass-paned cupboard was crammed with damaged balsa airplanes. Broken butterflies with imploring eyes. A wicked king’s wooden wives languishing under an evil wooden spell. Trapped. Only one, her mother, Margaret, had escaped to England. -The God of Small Things
Sophie thought of Joe. She closed her eyes and imagined Joe walking on his hands. Margaret was still sleeping next to her bed. She also noticed a silver-framed black-and-white wedding picture of Chacko and Margaret Kochamma on the bedside table. Then, the narrator explains how Chacko and Margaret looked on their wedding day. Chacko was dressed like Nehru in his white churidar and a black shervani. Margaret was in a long, foaming gown. Both were happy. The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things
The narrator goes on to recollect how Chacko and Margaret came to love each other. Margaret Kochamma was a waitress in Oxford University Café where Chacko was a student. During a summer when he was at his final year at Oxford, he visited the Café. Margaret was impressed by his well-built body. He told Margaret a joke as she was serving him. Then, he started to visit the Café often.
Eventually, their relationship culminated into love and consummated in marriage. Chacko didn’t inform his family about his marriage and Margaret’s family didn’t give their consent to their marriage. Soon they had to face financial troubles. Margaret’s family stopped speaking to her. After she gave birth to Sophie Mol, she asked for divorce from Chacko and married Joe, an opposite of Chacko. Heartbroken, Chacko left for India to work as a teacher at the Madras Christian College. Then, he returned to Ayemenem finally after Pappachi’s death to look after the Paradise Pickles & Preserves.
Margaret used to write letters to Chacko frequently explaining about Joe and his fatherly love for Sophie Mol. Sophie loved Joe very much. This news that both gladdened and saddened Chacko in equal measure. Margaret found a job as a junior schoolteacher in Clapham by the time when Sophie had grown enough to go to school. Suddenly Joe died in an accident. This left her grief-stricken.
Chacko wrote to her inviting to spend the Christmas holidays in Ayemenem. Margaret accepted his invitation and came to Ayemenem. But she was haunted by that decision throughout her life. It was because of this decision to visit Ayemenem, she lost her only daughter. That terrible stillness when she saw Sophie’s body laid out on the chaise longue in the drawing room of the Ayemenem House never faded in her memory as long as she lived.
The narrative moves forward to the day of Sophie’s death. Mammachi and Baby Kochamma got the news of a white child’s body found floating downriver at 9 O’Clock in the morning. Earlier in that morning the three children – the twins and Sophie – were missing for morning milk. Mammachi and Baby Kochamma thought that the children had gone to river for a swim. They afraid as there was a heavy rain the previous day and the river would raise considerably.
Ammu was locked up in the room and the key was with Baby Kochamma. It was only after Sophie’s body laid out in the house, Ammu could remember what she said to her twins, “…I should have dumped you in an orphanage the day you were born! You’re the millstones round my neck!” She said this the previous afternoon when Vellya Pappen revealed the family about her relationship with Velutha. Vellya Pappen appeared in the heavy rain. He was drunk. He revealed the family, out of loyalty, that Ammu and Velutha, his son, were lovers and they took boat across the river to Kari Saipu’s house often. Others had seen them too and many in Ayemenem knew this.
Baby Kochamma and Kochu Maria devised a plan. They locked up Ammu in her bedroom. They planned to make Velutha leave Ayemenem before Chacko and Margaret returned (both were out to Cochin airport for booking ticket). Then the tragedy happened. After Sophie was found dead, Baby Kochamma went to the police station and complained the inspector, Thomas Mathew that Velutha came and tried to rape Ammu few days ago. And then he kidnapped the twins and killed Sophie Mol as a revenge for restricting to see Ammu. The inspector believed her story but afraid what would happen if Velutha was really a communist. He promised Baby Kochamma to catch Velutha very soon. The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things
Back in the house, Margaret and Chacko had returned home. Margaret went insane with grief. She almost forgot everything happened thereafter the following days. Ammu was sent out of house. Margaret began to hate the twins. Estha was sent to Baba, his father. Margaret returned to England.
Two weeks before Sophie’s death, the narrator describes, she went to negotiate friendship with the twins with presents The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things
Triangular towers of Toblerone chocolate (soft and slanting in the heat). Socks with separate multicolored toes. And two ballpoint pens—the top halves filled with water in which a cut-out collage of a London streetscape was suspended. Buckingham Palace and Big Ben. Shops and people. -The God of Small Things
But the friendship would be left incomplete unfortunately. The Loss of Sophie Mol did alive for years while Sophie Mol became a memory.
WORK IS STRUGGLE
Chacko, taking a shortcut through the rubber trees, went to Comrade K. N. M. Pillai’s house. When he reached, Comrade Pillai wasn’t at home. Kalyani, Comrade Pillai’s wife, invited him into house. Over the doorway there was a small wooden placard which said ‘Work is Struggle. Struggle is Work.’ On one wall, Comrade Pillai’s SSLC, BA and MA certificates were framed and hung. On another wall, there was a framed photograph of Comrade Pillai garlanding Comrade E. M. S. Namboodiripad.
Kalyani brought Chacko a cup of coffee and banana chips. She informed him that her husband was out to Olassa and would be back any time. She looked beautiful and lush. But, for the first time in years, Chacko wasn’t attracted to her because he was fully occupied with the thoughts of Margaret. Kalyani called for her niece, Latha and introduced her to Chacko
“Our niece from Kottayam. His elder brother’s daughter. She won the First Prize for Elocution at the Youth Festival in Trivandrum last week.” -The God of Small Things
Latha was a 13 year old young girl. Kalyani asked Latha to recite a poem. She complied at once and went on to recite an English poem ‘Lochinvar‘ by Sir Walter Scott.
Comrade Pillai arrived mid-poem. Lenin, Comrade’s son, sat by his father. People gathered around his house to see Chacko at his place. Chacko wanted comrade K. N. M. Pillai to print a new label for a new product that Paradise Pickles & Preserves planned to launch in the spring, Synthetic Cooking Vinegar. After, they discussed about the label, Chacko asked about the march the day before. Comrade said that they received good response.
Chacko said that on the way to theatre with family to see The Sound of Music the day before, they came across the marchers and his niece claimed to have seen Velutha among them. Comrade accepted that Velutha was one among them and suggested Chacko to send him out of his factory as other workers were uncomfortable with his caste.
Then the narration moves forward to the night of Sophie’s death. Velutha returned from his work. As Mammachi invited him, he went to her house. Mammachi screamed at him and finally spat out on his face. Stunned, Velutha went to seek Comrade’s help but he was not ready to protect him. Then his feet walked him to the river in a trance.
Velutha, The God of Small Things and The God of Loss, was very still. It was raining and slowed down in a while. Suddenly Velutha stood up and took off his white mundu. Then walked down to the river until the water was chest high and swam to reach the other side. He was very upset and suddenly became happy when he thought,
Things will get worse. Then better. -The God of Small Things
He was walking towards the Heart of Darkness like a lonely wolf walking in the dark.
A FEW HOURS LATER
After Velutha swam to the other side and Ammu was being locked up, A Few Hours Later, the twins determined to leave the house. The words from Ammu’s mouth, ‘You’re the millstones round my neck!’, hurt the twins. Sophie convinced the twins to take her along, as she thought that the absence all children would heighten the adults’ remorse in the house. For Estha, it was an escape from both Ammu’s anger and fear of the Orangedrink Lemondrink man. The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things
The three children dragged the boat and got into it. They began to row in the dark. The river wasn’t as they expected. It was faster due to the recent rain. It collided with a floating log and tipped over. Estha and Rahel managed to reach the shore by swimming. But Sophie was missing. They ran along the bank calling out her name but she was gone, missing. The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things
Until it was four in the morning. The twins exhausted searching for Sophie. Distraught, they made their way to the History House. They didn’t notice Velutha already lying asleep in the dark.
COCHIN HARBOR TERMINUS
In 1993, after ironing his and Rahel’s clothes, Estha sat on his bed in the dark with his hands in his lap. It was raining steadily outside. The old Plymouth outside glimmered now and then in the lightning. The signboard The PARADISE PICKLES & PRESERVES fell down like a collapsed crown. In the drawing room, Kochu Maria was sleeping. Out of memory and love for Father Mulligan who had died four years ago of viral hepatitis, Baby Kochamma took her diary and turned to 19 June and wrote, ‘I love you I love you’. It became her routine. All entries in every page began with ‘I love you I love you’.
Fifteen years before, Father Mulligan became a Vaishnavite, a devotee of Lord Vishnu. He stayed in touch with Baby Kochamma and wrote to her every Diwali and sent a greeting card every new year. After his death, Baby Kochamma’s memory of him was hers at least.
Baby Kochamma settled back on her pillow. She was waiting to see Rahel come out of Estha’s room. Both of them made her uneasy as she had noticed them returning home from somewhere a morning a few days back. Finally she fell asleep thinking that she hadn’t heard Rahel come out his room over the sound of rain and TV.
Estha saw Rahel lying on his bed. He noticed Rahel looking thinner, younger and smaller. He remembered the day while leaving her twenty three years back. The sound of the Cochin Harbor Terminus was still unfaded in his memory. Also the incident that Ammu was kicked out of the Ayemenem house.
THE HISTORY HOUSE
A group of Touchable policemen crossed the Meenachal River and walked towards the History House to search for Velutha. They found Velutha and woke him up with their boots. Estha and Rahel also woke up and saw Velutha was there too. Velutha was hammered down brutally almost to death. His blood smelled like an old rose. When they finally stopped beating him, the narrator informs that Velutha was semi-conscious and was unable to move. His skull had fractures in three places. One among them flicked at his penis with his stick and said, “Come on, show us your special secret. Show us how big it gets when you blow it up.”
Velutha had goosebumps when the handcuffs touched his skin. Rahel whispered to Estha that it wasn’t Velutha, it was his long-lost twin brother Urumban. One Touchable policeman asked the twins if Velutha hurt them. Then the policemen dragged Velutha out of forest.
At the police station, a servile constable served Coca-Colas to the children. Estha once again haunted by the fear of Orangedrink Lemondrink man on seeing the drink. Then the children read the boards on the wall backwards. The Inspector Thomas sensed the growing incoherence in the children and realized something went wrong. Thomas called for Baby Kochamma.
When Baby Kochamma arrived at the station, she could sense something was wrong and the inspector’s voice this time was not polite. Based on the FIR filed by her, the inspector said, the paravan was caught and was severely beaten up and likely would not live through the night. Whereas the children denied that they were kidnapped by Velutha. He was innocent as per law.
“Attempted rape?” Baby Kochamma asked him hopelessly. The inspector replied that it was illegal to beat him on that basis as there was no rape case filed against them. Ammu hadn’t filed such a case against him. He said that there were only two options for her. Either the children must identify Velutha as their abductor or Ammu must file a rape case against him “Or I must charge you with lodging a false FIR Criminal offense.”
The inspector knew that Velutha was a communist. If the news of his wrongful arrest spread, this would cause unrest among the Communists and Comrade Pillai would make use of this opportunity if he came to know that the case was a fabricated one.
Baby Kochamma requested the inspector that if he gave five minutes alone with the twins, she would be able to set aright everything. The inspector gave his consent. The twins came out.
After long silence, Baby Kochamma began to speak. She informed that Sophie was dead and the children were accountable for her death. The children would face the terrors of prison if they denied to accept Velutha abducted them and killed Sophie Mol. She threatened further that Ammu would also go to jail for that cause. If they wanted to ‘Save Ammu’, they must say yes to the police. The children accepted and Baby Kochamma was happy with her success. She sent Estha alone to the police and he said yes to the inspector. The children got back home. Velutha died that night. In the years to come, the twins remembered this very often, ‘Save Ammu’.
Baby Kochamma knew that Ammu should be kicked out of house anyhow because she might cause her go to prison anytime. She made Chacko believe that Ammu and the twins were the reasons for Sophie’s death. So, Estha should be returned to Baba and Ammu should be expelled.
THE MADRAS MAIL
It was the day when Rahel and Estha were separated. At the Cochin Harbor Terminus, Estha was sitting alone in the train starring at Ammu and Rahel. A fine lady in purple Kanjeevaram sari offered him laddoos. But Estha denied. She explained to her little son, ‘Every First Class train thing was green. The seats green. The berths green. The floor green. The chains green. Darkgreen Lightgreen.’ Estha noticed ‘To Stop Train Pull Chain’ written in green and he thought it in reverse ‘ Ot pots niart llup niahc’.
Outside the train, Ammu controlled herself from crying. She gave Estha advice and guidance about foods and safe-keeping of tickets. She also promised him that she would get back him soon. He asked her when she would come. She said, The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things
“As soon as I get a job. As soon as I can go away from here and get a job.” -The God of Small Things
But Estha had no hope. He said “But that will be never!” As the train started to move, Estha and Rahel screamed. The train pulled out of the station.
Twenty Three years later, Rahel, the dark woman in a yellow T-shirt turned to Estha in the dark. They were on the same bed. They found no alternatives for each of them. There were in tears. Quietness and Emptiness fitted together. They were strangers who knew each other even before the Life had begun. They broke the Love Laws once again and had sex. The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things
The narrative moves back to 1969. Ammu brought Rahel from the dining room to bed. She gave her a fine kiss and made her to sleep. Then she longed for the one-armed man in her dream and wondered who he could have been. The God of Loss/ The God of Small Things/ The God of Goosebumps and Sudden Smiles. She longed for him. Then she returned to the dining table.
THE COST OF LIVING
The whole Ayemenem house retired to bed except Ammu. Estha and Rahel were sleeping with their eyes half-open. Ammu was restless. She sat for a while and walked here and there on the verandah. Then she switched on her transistor. An English song was going on. While listening to the song, she watched insects flitting around the light competing to kill themselves.
Ammu suddenly rose and began to walk like a witch. She arrived at the bank of Meenachal river. Waited at the bank for Velutha The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things
As though he knew she would come. As though she knew he would come. -The God of Small Things
Velutha was floating on his back on the river. He looked at the shore and saw Ammu sitting there. He began to swim towards her. As he approached the bank, she noticed him and his beauty. They both looked at each other and smiled. Soon the distance between them narrowed down and they stood skin to skin. Their naked body introduced each other. They had sex. The cost of living seemed unaffordable.
Fear grew in Velutha at what he had done and would do again. Thirteen nights that followed this one, they spoke only the Small Things. They laughed at ant-bites on their bottoms. At the cobweb in the History House, there was the empty thorax of a dead bee, Chappu Thamburan which Velutha called Lord Rubbish. They checked it on every night. They hoped to outlive Chappu Thamburan.
Ammu and Velutha sticked to Smallness at every night they met. When they departed every time, they departed with one promise, Tomorrow? Tomorrow and they knew ‘Things could change in a day’.
The narrator muses that both were wrong about Chappu Thamburan. It outlived Velutha and produced generations. Ammu kissed his closed eyes and walked away saying ‘Naaley‘, Tomorrow.
Rahel Ipe is one of the protagonists in The God of Small Things. The other who shares the primary role in the novel is Esthappen. They both are fraternal twins born to Ammu. As with all twins, they are inseparable and love each other. But they are separated by destiny. They both find harmony with each other in childhood. Later they feel that never they can find anyone who can understand them as much as they understand each other. Rahel has learnt to exist through her imagination. When she is afraid of anything, she feels Pappachi’s moth crawling on her heart with icy legs. Rahel is often referred to as “Ambassador S. Insect.”
Rahel is the omniscient narrator through whose eyes we see the world in The God of Small Things. Many a times, Rahel seems be obsessed with something. Comparably Estha is a better behaved one while comparing with Rahel. Rahel’s teachers note that she is an extremely polite child who has no friends. She doesn’t want to invite Sophie Mol and her mother in the airport and she hides behind the airport curtain.
Although Rahel has an aversion towards Sophie Mol, her sudden demise affects her severely. While attending Sophie’s funeral, she thinks that Sophie is buried alive as she feels Sophie has movements in the coffin. Rahel and Estha develop a deliberate bond with Velutha, an untouchable. When they were children (during 1969), the caste systems were extremely rigid. None in the family like the relationship of the children with an untouchable and this leads to the tragic turn of events.
Sophie Mol dies by drowning and the twins are accused. Baby Kochamma complains to the police that Velutha is the person behind Sophie’s death. Velutha is beaten up severely in the station and dies at the end. Eventually Rahel and Estha are expelled out of the house for their misbehaviour. Rahel later marries and gets settled in America. Estha is sent to live with his father in Calcutta. Rahel and Estha meet at end when they are 31.
It is when the twins are 7 years old, they are split up and when they are 31 in 1993, they again meet up in Ayemenem. Although they both are never interested, Rahel begins to aspire architecture in Delhi and Estha is forced to live with his father in Calcutta. As both are interested in each other than anybody else, Rahel returns to Ayemenem only to see Estha later in the novel. As they are twins, they are two halves. Without one, the other is not complete. Arundhati Roy has completed The God of Small Things with Rahel and Estha having sex at the end, an uncomfortable end for most of the readers.
Esthappen Yako Ipe, shortly known as Estha, is the other half of the fraternal twin and one of the protagonists in The God of Small Things. He is 18 minutes senior to Rahel. Estha is molested by the Orangedrink Lemondrink Man at Abhilash Talkies where the man runs the refreshment counter. The man allured the young guy with a cold drink and molests him. He threatens Estha to not to expose this incident to anyone in Ayemenem and if he does so, he will come to Ayemenem to repeat the same. So Estha lives in fear that he will be molested again at any time.
Estha, unlike Rahel, is more serious and better-behaved one. After the family is split up, Estha again comes to live with his father, Baba, in Calcutta. Thereafter there is no communication between Estha and Rahel and he also stops speaking with even known people. It is since he and Rahel are separated and it has a drastic impact on his mind. The next 23 years, the twins never get a chance to meet.
During his childhood, when Estha is seven years old, he is often seen with his Elvis Presley Puff and his favorite Elvis song is ‘Party’. The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things
Estha is often referred to as “Elvis the Pelvis Nun” because of his liking towards Elvis. He also loves the movie ‘The Sound of Music’, a 1965 American musical drama directed by Robert Wise, which starred Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer and so on. Estha doesn’t like to have a surname and he wants to lead a silent life.
At a very younger age, Estha realizes that the world is scary and fearful and none is predictable especially after he is molested by the Orangedrink Lemondrink Man at Abhilash Talkies. When he goes into the family’s pickle factory he thinks: The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things
“Anything can happen to anyone and It’s best to be prepared” -The God of Small Things
To escape the Orangedrink Lemondrink Man and other issues in the family, Estha, along with Rahel and Sophie Mol, tries to row across the river to live at the History House on the other side. But unfortunately when the boat overturns in the water and Sophie Mol drowns and dies. This incident brings up unrest in the family.
Velutha is fabricated in the case by Baby Kochamma. She complains to the police that Velutha has kidnapped the children as a revenge for restricting him to see Ammu. But when the twins confess at the police station that Velutha is innocent in the case, Baby Kochamma is on the brink of imprisonment. So she threatens and tricks Estha into thinking that Ammu will die in prison unless he speaks against Velutha.
As a result of these incidents, Estha and Rahel are separated. Estha comes to live with his father in Calcutta. After numerous painful moments, Estha is again resent to Ayemenem and Rahel comes to visit him. They reunite with silence and tears after 23 years.
An important character in The God of Small Things, Ammu is the mother of the twins, Estha and Rahel, and daughter of Pappachi and Mammachi. In her childhood, Ammu had faced discrimination in the family and she hadn’t had all the options which Chacko had as the son of the family. Chacko had options to go to school and later to study at Oxford University when Ammu was not allowed to aspire even her school education properly. She has Baby Kochamma on the other side, a strict character, who seems a negative vibration to her.
As an adult, she still continues to experience all these and during a summer she gets permission to visit her aunt in Calcutta. There she meets Baba and marries him. Later she discovers him to be a drunkard after she has given birth to the twins, Estha and Rahel. Ammu gets divorce from her husband and moves back to Ayemenem. She is lovable mother to the twins. But at the same time, she is also strict.
Ammu finds Velutha as good and lovable human and best alternative for her husband. However, she is conscious that this affair will end up in havoc if it becomes public. She has strong feelings towards to him. This is the main reason that brings about Velutha’s downfall and Ammu ends up turbulent. Baby Kochamma has made cooked up stories to make Velutha be caught by police because of his affair with Ammu. Ammu looses her most lovable man and her life becomes more tempestuous. She is also separated from her children. Eventually she dies of tuberculosis in a dirty hotel room.
The most aversive, selfish and curt and rude character in ‘The God of Small Things’, Baby Kochamma (also known as Navomi Ipe) is the antagonist in the novel. A plot without an antagonist is boring. ‘The God of Small Things’ perfectly has Baby Kochamma. She manipulates almost everyone.
Baby Kochamma is the sister of Pappachi and Ammu and Chacko’s aunt. When she was young, she fell in love with Father Mulligan. Father Mulligan was the local priest who used to visit Baby Kochamma’s father, John Ipe, on Thursdays. To attain his love, she herself converted into Roman Catholicism and entered convent to become a nun. Unfortunately, none of these strategies worked and Father Mulligan never returned her love. Her father rescued her from the convent and sent her to the United States where she studied ‘Ornamental Gardening‘ at the University of Rochester. The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things
When the novel moves forward to 1969, Baby Kochamma is seen as a spinster. She has been unmarried since she believed that she could never find a match better than Father Mulligan. When Ammu comes back to Ayemenem with the twins, she looks down upon her. Estha and Rahel are treated with indifference. Especially when Sophie Mol arrives at Ayemenem, Baby Kochamma takes every possible opportunity to compare them with her and tease the twins. The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things
When Ammu is attracted towards Velutha, an Untouchable, Baby Kochamma locks up Ammu and treats her badly. After Sophie Mol’s death, she fabricates a case against Velutha and brings him into trouble. As a result, Velutha is beaten up severely in the police station and dies in the custody. She also manipulates Estha and Rahel to lie to the inspector that Velutha has kidnapped them and the main reason behind Sophie Mol’s death. Baby Kochamma is hard and complex character. In 1993 she is seen wearing all of Mammachi’s old jewelry.
Sophie Mol is a crucial character in The God of Small Things, although the readers think she is an unnecessary entry into the scene in the beginning. Sophie is the daughter of Chacko and Margaret. As she is an Indo-Anglican, she is half-white in colour. She becomes a pivotal character when she accidentally drowns and dies.
Baby Kochamma often used to compare the twins to Sophie which make them feel inferior to her and aversion towards her. But Sophie would always try to befriend Estha and Rahel which she does by giving them presentations and tries other best ways like she has a go-go bag with presentations kept inside and bargaining a friendship. She begs to take her along with them when they decide to run away from the house. This proves fatal and ends up a tragedy.
Velutha is one of the pathetic characters in The God of Small Things. He becomes a victim of caste systems and dies of that cause. In course of the novel, he becomes a good friend and lovable figure for both Rahel and Estha and thereby to Ammu. This leads to the turn of events in the novel and becomes the main cause for most of the tragic incidents. Ammu gradually comes to love Velutha which makes the family furious and almost whole the family harvests the consequences.
Velutha is the son of Vellya Paapen and the brother of Kuttappen. When Rahel sees him marching in the street among the Communists, he tries to manage that it is not he but his twin brother Urumban (a fake character). He is an untouchable working in the Mammachi’s Paradise Pickles and Preserves as the carpenter. Once Ammu started breaking the social barrier by allowing him (an untouchable) to touch her, the tragedy begins to happen. When Ammu and Velutha were kids, he used to make wooden toys for her which she used to get with a flattening hand as she should not touch her. The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things
Ammu is fully aware that she would be in trouble if she continues to speak with Velutha. She also warns her children, Estha and Rahel, to not to spend too much time with him. But eventually she could not help herself from being carried towards him that leads her to face hard times.
One of the major characters in ‘The God of Small Things’, Chacko is the son of Pappachi and Mammachi and the brother of Ammu. When he was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, England, he married Margaret Kochamma and after she gave birth to a baby (Sophie Mol), they both ultimately got divorced and she married another young man named Joe. But unfortunately Joe met with an accident and died. After that incident, she considered to visit Chacko and family in Ayemenem and came along with her daughter Sophie Mol.
Chacko is partially a lovable and partially irritating and boring because he is someone who thinks that he is important than others. He identifies himself as a Marxist which means that he wishes the working class of the world should rise up in society and come to power. He runs the family’s pickle factory, Paradise Pickles and Preserves. But after it has been handed over to him, the business begins to fail. Estha and Rahel see Chacko as a father figure. They love him so much and he returned their favour.
Mammachi is the wife of Pappachi and the founder of Paradise Pickles and Preserves. Before the Pickle factory was turned over to Chacko, she ran it as a successful business. But after it was turned over to the hands of Chacko, the business gradually began to loose its standard. Mammachi is the grandmother of Estha and Rahel. She is prejudiced against the lower classes and would never allow them to enter into her house.
Pappachi, also known as Shri Benaan John Ipe, is the father of Ammu and Chacko and the brother of Baby Kochamma. When he was Imperial Entomologist, he discovered a moth which he considered a new species and wanted the moth to be named after him. But it never happened. He considered that this was the greatest failure in his life, as he was unable to get credit for his greatest victory. He is not a part of the plot of The God of Small Things as he dies even before the novel starts.
Margaret Kochamma is the mother of Sophie Mol and the ex-wife of Chacko in England. After her divorce from Chacko, she marries another man named Joe who died in an accident. When Chacko studied in Oxford, England, he and Margaret met in a cafe and fell in love with each other. But later she felt it was a mistake and after her divorce, she married Joe. But when she had lost Joe in an accident, she thought to visit Chacko in Ayemenem.
Comrade Pillai or Comrade K.N.M. Pillai, the leader of the Communist Party in Ayemenem in which Velutha is a part, and the owner of local printing press. He likes more to be a politician than to run the printing press. He is the man who prints the labels for Paradise Pickles.
Vellya Paapen is the father of Velutha and Kuttappen. He is an Untouchable and so he would be never allowed into the houses of other communities. Untouchability is one of the major themes in The God of Small Things. That was a time when caste system was rigid and the untouchables were strictly restricted even to touch the other classes and their belongings. The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things
Vellya Paapen is a man who obeyed all these rules and followed them as if it his duty. When Vellya Paapen discovers Velutha is in love with Ammu who belongs to upper class, he is extremely afraid of the aftermath. He becomes crucial when he reveals Ammu and Velutha’s affair to Mammachi. Though Vellya Paapen is a minor character in The God of Small Things, he is noteworthy in the novel because he is one of the victims who is knowingly affected by the class systems. He used to deliver coconuts to Pappachi and Mammachi’s house. He feels extremely indebted to Mammachi’s family because, when he lost his eye in an accident, Mammachi bought him an eye glass.
Kuttappen is the brother of Velutha and the son of Vellya Paapen. He is confined to bed for lifetime after he has fallen from a coconut tree.
INSPECTOR THOMAS MATHEW
Inspector Thomas Mathew, in The God of Small Things, is a police officer who investigates Sophie Mol’s death. When Ammu has to approach him in the case, he sexually harasses her. After Velutha is found innocent in Sophie’s death case when Estha and Rahel exposed the truth to him, he threatens Baby Kochamma for imprisonment.
THE ORANGEDRINK LEMONDRINK MAN
The Orangedrink Lemondrink Man is the man who molested Esthappen at Abhilash Talkies where he runs a refreshment counter. His name is unknown. Estha calls him the Orangedrink Lemondrink Man. The man allured the young guy with a free cold drink and molests him. He also threatens Estha to not to expose this to anyone in Ayemenem. This haunts Estha for long time.
A young Irish priest in Ayemenem and the object of love for Baby Kochamma when she was young, although Father Mulligan never returned her love. In order to come closer to Father Mulligan, she converted herself to Roman Catholicism. Yet, it it didn’t make a difference.
Aleyooty Ammachi is the mother of Baby Kochamma and Pappachi and the wife of Reverend E John Ipe / Punnyan Kunju. Her serious looking portrait hangs in the Ayemenem house.
REVEREND E. JOHN IPE
Reverend E John Ipe is also known as Punnyan Kunju is the father of Baby Kochamma and Pappachi. A notable priest in the Mar Thoma Church. After the Patriarch of Antioch, the head of the Syrian Christian Church, blessed him personally when he was a child, he became known as Punnyan Kunju, meaning ‘The Little Blessed One‘.
A minor character in The God of Small Things, Kalyani is the mother of Lenin and the wife of Comrade Pillai. A young and beautiful lady who doesn’t like untouchables to be allowed to enter into her house.
A minor character in The God of Small Things, the bellboy is an old man who takes the family’s luggage to their rooms the night before Sophie Mol’s arrival.
The schoolmates of Esthappan used to call a bow-legged man as Balls-in-Brackets who carried their luggage at the railway station.
Dr. VERGHESE VERGHESE
Dr. Verghese Verghese in ‘The God of Small Things’ is the local doctor, a pediatrician in Ayemenem. He treats Rahel when she gets a foreign object stuck up her nose. He is notorious to harass the mothers of the children he treats.
Urumban is a fake character created by Velutha to hide himself from being betrayed. He manages to tell Rahel that she has seen his brother (Urumban) in the Communist march while she claims to have seen him among the march.
Kochu Maria is a housekeeper of Mammachi and Baby Kochamma’s. Rahel and Estha often make fun of her in English as she doesn’t know English. Whenever they begin to talk in English, she begins feel uncomfortable.
Paradise Pickles & Preserves is a pickle factory founded by Mammachi. Once the Kottayam Bible Society conducted a fair in which Mammachi’s Pickles were sold very quickly. From then onwards Mammachi’s business grew day by day and she became very busy with the factory. Pappachi doesn’t like the business because he considers it a lowly business for such a prestigious family.
MAJOR THEMES IN THE GOD OF SMALL THINGS
UNTOUCHABILITY AND CLASS SYSTEM
The God of Small Things mainly deals with untouchability. The plot of the novel takes place during the time when untouchability was extremely rigid in the Indian society. The upper class never allowed the lower class or untouchables to touch them or their belongings. Anything if the untouchables had to give, they had to give with hands outstretched without touching them. The God of Small Things criticizes this ugly truth.
When Baby Kochamma locks up in a room, it is not for falling in love with Velutha but for being attracted towards an untouchable. Arundhati Roy is always against such pathetic social stratification.
Love and Love Laws play a major role in the novel. It is not the lovable love but ruined love.
Ammu and Velutha’s love brings about havoc for both of them and extends to the family. The strongest may be between the twins. Estha and Rahel love each other and believe that they cannot find an alternative to them than themselves.
THE SMALL THINGS
The God of Small Things primarily deals with how small things can influence the behaviour, character and lives of people. The narrator muses often that only small things are spoken and taken into matter.
THE GOD OF SMALL THINGS QUOTES
“…the secret of the Great Stories is that they have no secrets. The Great Stories are the ones you have heard and want to hear again. The ones you can enter anywhere and inhabit comfortably.They don’t deceive you with thrills and trick endings. They don’t surprise you with the unforeseen. They are as familiar as the house you live in. Or the smell of your lover’s skin. You know how they end, yet you listen as though you don’t. In the way that although you know that one day you will die, you live as though you won’t. In the Great Stories you know who lives, who dies, who finds love, who doesn’t. And yet you want to know again. That is their mystery and their magic.” -The God of Small Things
|“Change is one thing. Acceptance is another.” -The God of Small Things|
|“If you’re happy in a dream, does that count?” -The God of Small Things|
|“The way her body existed only where he touched her. The rest of her was smoke.” -The God of Small Things|
|“Perhaps it’s true that things can change in a day. That a few dozen hours can affect the outcome of whole lifetimes. And that when they do, those few dozen hours, like the salvaged remains of a burned house-the charred clock, the singed photograph, the scorched furniture -must be resurrected from the ruins and examined. Preserved. Accounted for. Little events, ordinary things, smashed and reconstituted. Imbued with new meaning. Suddenly they become the bleached bones of a story.” -The God of Small Things
|“Things can change in a day” -The God of Small Things
|“Writers imagine that they cull stories from the world. I’m beginning to believe that vanity makes them think so. That it’s actually the other way around. Stories cull writers from the world. Stories reveal themselves to us. The public narrative, the private narrative – they colonize us. They commission us. They insist on being told. Fiction and nonfiction are only different techniques of story telling. For reasons that I don’t fully understand, fiction dances out of me, and nonfiction is wrenched out by the aching, broken world I wake up to every morning.” -The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things
|“Anything can happen to anyone and It’s best to be prepared” -The God of Small Things
|“Her grief grieved her. His devastated her.” -The God of Small Things
|“When you hurt people, they begin to love you less. That’s what careless words do. They make people love you a little less.” -The God of Small Things
|“It is curious how sometimes the memory of death lives on for so much longer than the memory of the life that is purloined.” -The God of Small Things
|“It was a time when the unthinkable became the thinkable and the impossible really happened.” -The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things
“Smells, like music, hold memories. She breathed deep, and bottled it up for posterity.” -The God of Small Things
“Biology designed the dance. Terror timed it. Dictated the rhythm with which their bodies answered each other. As though they already knew that for each tremor of pleasure they would pay with an equal measure of pain. As though they knew that how far they went would be measured against how far they would be taken.” -The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things
THE GOD OF SMALL THINGS REVIEWS
|“[The God of Small Things] offers such magic, mystery, and sadness that, literally, this reader turned the last page and decided to reread it. Immediately. It’s that haunting.” – USA Today|
|“Dazzling . . . as subtle as it is powerful.” – Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times|
|“The quality of Ms. Roy’s narration is so extraordinary—at once so morally strenuous and so imaginatively supple—that the reader remains enthralled all the way through.” – The New York Times Book Review|
|“A novel of real ambition must invent its own language, and this one does.” – John Updike, The New Yorker|
|“Splendid and stunning.” – The Washington Post Book World
|This book shows that how small things in life can affect a person’s life but there is always a ray of hope sent by the almighty himself. This book is narrated brilliantly from the third person point of view and also from Rahel’s point of view. The book’s beauty lies in its way of narration, a non-sequential way of narration with the words chosen enticingly. – The Guardian The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things The God of Small Things