Shantaram

7 Sep

Shantaram is the 2003 novel written by Gregory David Roberts, a convicted Australian bank robber and heroin addict who escaped from Pentridge Prison and fled to India where he lived for 10 years.

  • I was a revolutionary who lost his ideals in heroin, a philosopher who lost his integrity in crime, and a poet who lost his soul in a maximum security prison. When I escaped from that prison, over the front wall, between two gun towers, I became my country’s most wanted man. Luck ran with me and flew with me to India, where I joined the Bombay mafia. I worked as a gunrunner, a smuggler, and a counterfeiter. I was chained on three continents, beaten, stabbed and starved. I went to war. I ran into the enemy guns. And I survived, while other men around me died. They were better men than I am, most of them; better men whose lives were crunched up in mistakes, and thrown away by the wrong second of someone else’s hate, or love, or indifference. And I buried them, too many of those men, and grieved their stories and their lives into my own.
  • I was going through deep and silent water. Nothing and no-one could make me happy. Nothing and no-one could make me sad. I was tough. Which is probably the saddest thing you can say about a man.
  • There’s a truth deeper than experience. It’s beyond what we see, or even what we feel. It’s an order of truth that separates the profound from the merely clever, and the reality from the perception. We’re helpless, usually, in the face of it; and the cost of knowing it, like the cost of knowing love, is sometimes greater than any heart would willingly pay. It doesn’t always help us to love the world, but it does prevent us from hating the world. And the only way to know that truth is to share it, from heart to heart, just as Prabhakar told it to me, just as I’m telling it to you now.
  • Loves are like that. You heart starts to feel like an overcrowded lifeboat. You throw your pride out to keep it afloat, and your self-respect and independence. After a while, you started throwing people out – your friends and everyone you used to know. And it’s still not enough. The lifeboat is still sinking, and you know it’s going to take down with it. I’ve seen that happen to a lot of girls. That’s why I’m sick of Love.
  • Indians are the Italians of Asia and vice versa. Every man in both countries is a singer when he is happy, and every woman is a dancer when she walks to the shop at the corner. For them, food is the music inside the body and music is the food inside the heart. Amore or Pyar makes every man a poet, a princess of peasant girl if only for second eyes of man and woman meets.
  • I stood in the harsh electric light of that new tunnel, in Bombay’s Arthur Road Prison, and I wanted to laugh. Hey guys, I wanted to say, can’t you be a little more original? But I couldn’t speak. Fear dries a man’s mouth, and hate strangles him. That’s why hate has no great literature: real fear and real hate have no words.
  • Fate gives all of us three teachers, three friends, three enemies, and three great loves in our lives. But these twelve are always disguised, and we can never know which one is which until we’ve loved them, left them, or fought them.
  • That’s how we keep this crazy place together – with the heart…. India is the heart. It’s the heart that keeps us together. There’s no place with people, like my people, Lin. There’s no heart like the INDIAN HEART.
  • It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured. I realized, somehow, through the screaming in my mind, that even in that shackled, bloody helplessness, I was still free: free to hate the men who were torturing me, or to forgive them. It doesn’t sound like much, I know. But in the flinch and bite of the chain, when its all you have got, that freedom is a universe of possibility. And the choice you make, between hating and forgiving,can become the story of your life.
  • I know now that it’s the sweet, sweating smell of hope, which is the opposite of hate; and its a sour, stifled smell of greed, which is the opposite of love.
  • The past reflects eternally between two mirrors – the bright mirror of words and deeds, and the dark one, full of things we didn’t do or say.
  • One of the reasons why we crave love, & seek it so desperately, is that love is the only cure for loneliness, & shame, & sorrow. But some feelings sink so deep into the heart that only loneliness can help you find them again. Some truths about yourself are so painful that only shame can help you live with them. And some things are just so sad that only your soul can do the crying for you.
  • Sometimes we love with nothing more than hope. Sometimes we cry with everything except tears. In the end that’s all there is. Love & its duty, sorrow & its truth. In the end that’s all we have – to hold on tight until the dawn.
  • The difference between news and gossip-News tells you what people did, gossip tells you how much they enjoyed it.
  • Every day, when you are on the run, is the whole of your life. Every free minute is a short story with a happy ending.
  • If fate doesn’t make you laugh, then you don’t get the joke.
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: