tuque /tūk/ n Canadian English, var. toque [19th c. Canadian French, from the French toque, from the Basque tauka] 1 A close-fitting knitted cap, often with a long tapering end or tassel or pompom. 2 fig Something quintessentially Canadian.
souq /sūk/ n from the Arabic سوق var. souk 1 An open-air marketplace. 2 fig A central meeting place for the circulation of news and ideas.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Quote-Unquote: Ahmed Ali

"In spite of griefs and sorrows a man gets used to life, for its flaws must always go on. Soon Mir Nihal resumed his normal life and became reconciled to his fate. There is no doubt that he did not go to work, nor did he fly his pigeons now. They were all of the past and were left behind. The road of life grew dim in the hazy distance, but he got ready to continue the journey all alone...

"For if it were not for Hope, men would commit suicide by the scores, and the world would remain a barren desert in which no oasis exists. On this tortuous road of life, man goes on hoping that the next turn of the road will bring him in sight of the goal. But when he takes the turn and still there is no sign of the promised land he still says that at the next turn he will come to it. Thus from turn to turn he goes on hoping, believing in the will-o'-the-wisp that is Hope. And Mir Nihal went on believing in disbelief. Days and weeks passed, as the years had flown before; and life held sway as of yore, over the empires of the world."

--Ahmed Ali, from the novel Twilight in Delhi, first and last paragraphs of Book 2, Chapter 5, pp 120 and 125.

(Context: My current leisure reading. And because, as the doldrums of monsoon season set in, one finds a melancholy comfort in the desperation of characters like poor Mir Nihal in Ahmed Ali's classic tale of interwar Delhi. On a related note, the so-called doldrums of monsoon season are exacerbated if not principally caused by this blogger's lack of a laptop computer, whose adapter short-circuited three weeks ago and has not yet been replaced; in case any reader wondered where I am.)

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