Shantaram quotes – Part One

So it begins, this story, like everything else – with a woman, and a city, and a little bit of luck.

-“Everything is allow no problem here. Except the fighting. Fighting is not good manners at India Guest House”.
-“You see? No problem”.
-“And dying”, Prabaker added, with a thoughtful wag of his round head. “Mr. Anand is not liking it, if the people are dying here”.

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.

I was tough, which is probably the saddest thing to say about a man.

“… You‘re a good listener. That‘s dangerous, because it’s so hard to resist. Being listened to – really listened to – is the second-best thing in the world”.

Leopold’s was a place to see, a place to be seen, and a place to see themselves in the act of being seen.

“Ah. This is a Bombay gold dealer‘s no. It is a no that means maybe, and the more passionate the no, the more definite the maybe”.

“I make ends meet, as they say, and when they meet I get a payment from both of the ends”.

“When you judge the power that is in a person, you must judge their capacities as both friend and as enemy”.

The truth is a bully we all pretend to like.

What we call cowardice is just another name for being taken by surprise, and courage is seldom any better than simply being well prepared.

Gradually, I realised that the wiggle of the head was a signal to others that carried an amiable and disarming message: I’m a peaceful man. I don’t mean any harm.

“And make sure he doesn‘t learn any bad words. Don‘t teach him any swearing. There are plenty of arseholes and bastards around who will teach him the wrong sisterfucking words. Keep him away from motherfuckers like that”.

It was a wild speech that called them cowards and invoked Mahatma Gandhi, Buddha, the god Krishna, Mother Teresa, and the Bollywood film star Amitabh Bachchan in the same sentence.

Life on the run puts a lie in the echo of every laugh, and at least a little larceny in every act of love.

Raju’s task was to determine whether I could live with them. Johnny’s task was to make sure they could live with me.

Didier once told me, in a rambling, midnight dissertation, that a dream is the place where a wish and a fear meet. When the wish and the fear are exactly the same, he said, we call the dream a nightmare.

It’s a fact of life on the run that you often love more people than you trust. For people in the safe world, of course, exactly the opposite is true.

If fate doesn’t make you laugh, Karla said, in one of my first conversations with her, then you just don’t get the joke.


A novel by Gregory David Roberts, an Australian armed robber, heroin addict and prison escapee. The story is about his life on the run, beginning when he lands in Bombay as a stranger and working through extraordinary adventures living in the slums, joining the mafia, acting in Bollywood and standing with the Mujahideen, living, loving, fighting, healing.

It is an exceptionally powerful story of life in Bombay’s underbelly, with a richness and truthfulness about it that is lyrical. The portrayal of characters is nothing but genius with a true love for India shining through.

Very few books come close to this.

If I list before I die, I pray the Lord to please comply

I’ve started a new List of Things I’d Like to Do before I Meet the Great Tortoise in the Sky. It is a work in progress and I thought it would be nice to throw it open to suggestions from my wonderfully wise and well-wandered readers. And you.

Just leave a comment to this post and I will update the list if your dumb idea makes the cut.

No suggestion is too vague or precise. It could be something you have done or something you can comfortably lie about having done. It could be something you heard someone else doing or something you aspire to do in the future. We might even do it together!

I entertain the vague hope that this list will galvanise me into action and it might possibly even convince you to do something about your lazy-ass life!

I believe such a list is called a ‘Kick-The-Bucket List’.