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Words

I am an avid collector of words that hold meaning to me. This is a selection of what I have collected so far.

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Those eyes, those endless mud brown pools of sticky, bottomless love.

— Meera Sayal, Anita & Me

What is this My Life business, anyway? We all have obligations, no one is born on their own, are they?

— Meera Sayal, Anita & Me

Papas singing always unleashed these emotions which were unfamiliar and instinctive at the same time, in a language I could not recognise but felt I could speak in my sleep, in my dreams, evocative of a country I had never visited but which sounded like the only home I had ever known. The songs made me realise that there was a corner of me that would be forever not England.

— Meera Sayal, Anita & Me

They were so different to the clothes my mother wore, none of these English drawing room colours she was all open-heart crises and burnt vivid oranges, colours that made your pupils dilate and were deep enough to enter your belly and sit there like the aftertaste of a good meal. No flowers, none that I could name, but dancing elephants strutting peacocks and long-necked birds who looked as if they were kissing their own backs, shades and cloth which spoke of bare feet on dust, roadside smokey dhabas, honking taxi horns and heavy sudden rain beating a bhangra on deep green leaves. But when I looked at Mrs Christmas’ frocks, I thought of tea by an open fire with an autumn wind howling outside, horses’ hooves, hats and gloves, toast, wartime brides with cupid bow mouths laughing and waving their hankies to departing soldiers, like I’d seen on that telly programme, All Our Yesterdays.

— Meera Sayal, Anita & Me

Perhaps we don’t fully recover from our first loves. Perhaps, in the extravagance of youth, we give away our devotions easily and all but arbitrarily, on the mistaken assumption that we’ll always have more to give.

— Michael Cunningham, A Home at the End of the World

Yet often the mountain gives itself most completely when I have no destination, when I reach nowhere in particular, but have gone out merely to be with the mountain as one visits a friend with no intention but to be with him.

— Nan Shepherd, The Living Mountain, 1977

The thing to be known grows with the knowing.

— Nan Shepherd, The Living Mountain, 1977

Half closing the eyes can also change the values of what I look upon… Such illusions, depending on how the eye is placed and used, drive home the truth that our habitual vision of things is not necessarily right: it is only one of an infinite number, and to glimpse an unfamiliar one, even for a moment, unmakes us, but steadies us again. It’s queer but invigorating. It will take a long time to get to the end of a world that behaves like this is I do no more than turn round on my side or my back.

— Nan Shepherd, The Living Mountain, 1977

Here then may be lived a life of the sense so pure, so untouched by any mode of apprehension but their own, that the body may be said to think.

— Nan Shepherd, The Living Mountain, 1977

I have heard of a strange delusion that the sun does not shine up here. It does; and because of the clarity of the air its light has power: it has more power, I suppose, in light than in heat.

— Nan Shepherd, The Living Mountain, 1977
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