My Favorite lines from Books

This post in inspired by the thread on Quora. An irresistible page-turner is a wonderful thing, but there are books which pack sentences so prevailing that you stop reading, lower the book and simply live in the words for a moment. Here are my personal favorites:

  1. “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” ~ 1984 by George Orwell
  2. “It’s much better to do good in a way that no one knows anything about it.”  ~ Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  3. “You forget what you want to remember, and you remember what you want to forget.” ~ The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  4. “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” ~ The Picture Of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  5. “Anyone who ever gave you confidence, you owe them a lot.” ~ Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote
  6. “The only lies for which we are truly punished are those we tell ourselves.” ~ In a Free State by V.S. Naipaul
  7. “It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.” ~ The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  8. “Still, there are times I am bewildered by each mile I have traveled, each meal I have eaten, each person I have known, each room in which I have slept. As ordinary as it all appears, there are times when it is beyond my imagination.” ~ Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
  9. “As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.” ~ The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
  10. “We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.” ~ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling
  11. “My advice is, never do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time.” ~ David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  12. “Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it yet.” ~ Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
  13. “I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded; not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.” ~ The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  14. “One must be careful of books, and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.” ~ The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare
  15. “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us” ~ Lord of the Rings: A fellowship of the ring by J.R.R Tolkien
  16. “Libraries were full of ideas – perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons.” ~ Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
  17. “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” ~ Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
  18. “To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation.” ~ Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  19. “Each of us had something to learn from the others and something to teach in return.” ~ Confessions (Penguin Classics) by Augustine
  20. “For you, a thousand times over.” ~ The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  21. “If you lived honestly, your life would heal itself.” ~ Emotional Resilience by David Viscott
  22. “The greatest victory in life is to rise above the material things that we once valued most.” ~ The Soul of a Butterfly: Reflections on Life’s Journey by Muhammad Ali and Hana Yasmeen Ali
  23. “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” ~ Animal Farm by George Orwell
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Seneca on books and wealth

Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca wrote this in one of his letters to his friend Lucilius:

Be careful, however, lest this reading of many authors and books of every sort may tend to make you discursive and unsteady. You must linger among a limited number of master thinkers, and digest their works, if you would derive ideas which shall win firm hold in your mind. Everywhere means nowhere.

The idea is to not be in perpetual locomotion and jump from one book or author to another…but to sit back, contemplate, and relate the facts you read to each other. But start reading if you haven’t already, and start now, or you would miss out on the huge compounding benefits of the same as years pass.

At the end of this very letter, Seneca also shared his thoughts on the limits of one’s wealth.

He says: “Contented poverty is an honorable estate.” Indeed, if it be contented, it is not poverty at all.

It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor.

What does it matter how much a man has laid up in his safe, or in his warehouse, how large are his flocks and how fat his dividends, if he covets his neighbors property, and reckons, not his past gains, but his hopes of gains to come?

Do you ask what is the proper limit to wealth?

It is, first, to have what is necessary, and, second, to have what is enough.

Source: Letter 2: On Discursiveness in Reading

Following is the link to complete collection of letters from archive.org:

POOR LITTLE RICH SLUM – A land of opportunity for many more

We can be happy, we can be hopeful, we can be enterprising – no matter where we are.

Dharavi is like an elephant of issues and blind men scrambling all over it, each sees a small part of it and considers it to be “whole”.
To the residents of Dharavi, it is a way of life. To the business man who operates in Dharavi, it is convenience, cheap labor and cheap rent makes it a mega-hub of micro enterprises.

“Idhar sab tarah ka kaam hota hai.”

Dharavi is a silent revolution of energy and enterprise, it started with arrivals of migrants from Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and UP and with them, they brought business with them. It was wide open space in Dharavi which attracted people and allowed industries to flurish.

“Jab mere dada yahan aaye the, idhar kuch bhi nahi tha…” is a constant refrain.

The book POOR LITTLE RICH SLUM by Rashmi Bansal and Deepak Gandhi is a journey into the enterprising side of Dharavi. This is the fourth book by writer, entrepreneur and youth expert Rashmi Bansal, Co-authored with Deepak Gandhi and with insightful photographs by Dee Gandhi, the layout of this new bookPoor Little Rich Slum is interesting – though the font size could have been larger.

“What makes this book stand out is the heartfelt intention and initiative of the authors and the photographer to perceive life from the point of view of the people living in Dharavi.”

Characters like Mustaqueen Bhai whose stitching work has brought him customers not just from Mumbai and other parts of India but also from Mexico, Panama and Brazil; Panju Swamy – the owner of Ayyappan Idli Stall; Rani Nadar of the ‘Rebe Rubi’ tailoring center where she “continues to sew hopes and dreams” in-spite of the fact that “Dharavi cannot be fixed with a few stitches,”; Praveen Sakpal of the Gurudutt Gymnasium whose boys have made it as bodybuilders representing district and state levels – all of them and many more such inspiring people and organizations make Poor Little Rich Slum a worthwhile, deserving read.

“Yahan sab kuch hai – paisa achha hai, log ache hain, par aasmaan nahi hai, jaan hai, jahaan nahi hai.”

Here, everything is there – money is good, people are nice but there is no sky. Life is there but there is no world.

It would be best to end the review by highlighting some of the powerful quotes in the book:

  • “A child who grows up in Dharavi may be poor but does not feel inferior.” – activist Raju Konde
  • “Education has opened our minds like a parachute.” – Mushtaq Syed, INMA Enterprises
  • “People here are not beggars, they are hard-working and self-sufficient. There is something to be learnt from us.” – Fahim Vora and Tauseef Siddiqui, Dharavi