having intelligence and discernment
But fate decided that my parents and I and the three
wise men, as I shall call them, should meet one day on the Goubert Salai seaside esplanade and that my secret should be outed.
someone who speaks by divine inspiration
As for Ravi, if Lord Krishna had held a cricket bat rather than a flute, if Christ had appeared more plainly to him as an umpire, if the
prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, had shown some notions of bowling, he might have lifted a religious eyelid, but they didn’t, and so he slumbered.
protect against a challenge or attack
There are always those who take it upon themselves to
defend God, as if Ultimate Reality, as if the sustaining frame of existence, were something weak and helpless.
something that baffles understanding and cannot be explained
“Father and I find your religious zeal a bit of a
belonging to the period after the Middle Ages
modern Indian family; we live in a
modern way; India is on the cusp of becoming a truly
modern and advanced nation—and here we’ve produced a son who thinks he’s the reincarnation of Sri Ramakrishna.”
a building where birds are kept
And when that tree was in bloom, it was a regular
aviary of crows, mynahs, babblers, rosy pastors, sunbirds and parakeets.
law determining the fundamental principles of a government
The takeover was smoothly enforced—Chief Minister Karunanidhi’s ministry vanished quietly into “resignation” or house arrest—and what does the fall of one local government matter when the whole country’s
Constitution has been suspended these last eight months?
detect with the senses
But I had noticed before that it was when I tried my hardest to
recognize him that I was least able to pick him out.
a venomous Old World snake
We had a mouse that lived for several weeks with the
the concentration of attention or energy on something
A Union cabinet minister is the
focus of attention.
the commercial exchange of goods and services
CITES, the Convention on International
Trade in Endangered Species, had just come into effect, and the window on the
trading of captured wild animals had slammed shut.
die from being submerged in water
I had a wet, trembling, half-
drowned, heaving and coughing three-year-old adult Bengal tiger in my lifeboat.
a position on a scale of intensity or amount or quality
It was precisely because the
level of noise was so uniform that we slept like babies.
goods carried by a large vehicle
We were in Manila for two days, a question of fresh feed, new
cargo and, we were told, the performing of routine maintenance work on the engines.
the front part of a vessel
The tarpaulin was not as securely fixed going over the stem—which had a very short
prow, what in a face would be called a snub nose—as it was elsewhere around the boat.
scratch, scrape, pull, or dig with nails
Since he had not seen me, he had no reason to
claw his way through it.
something done as an indication of intention
Without thinking about it, only because it was at hand’s reach and about to sink, I took hold of the net and pulled it aboard, a casual
gesture that would turn out to be a lifesaver in many ways; this net would become one of my most precious possessions.
the floating wreckage of a ship
Only rain, marauding waves of black ocean and the
flotsam of tragedy.
perplexed by many conflicting situations or statements
Yes, it was all forcefully brought to the attention of my
excessively or hypocritically pious
Meanwhile, the lot of widows and homeless children is very hard, and it is to their defence, not God’s, that the
self-righteous should rush.