Midnight's Children Vocabulary

(please, email any information you know or can find on the as-yet undefined words on this list to tmcfarlin@st-agnes.org)

See also http://www.subir.com/rushdie/glossary.html


  1. Kashmir (4) a former princely state in SW Asia, adjacent to India, Pakistan, Sinkiang, and Tibet; sovereignty in dispute between India and Pakistan since 1947.

2. cheroot (4) a cigar cut square at both ends
"he stood up, rolled the prayer-mat into a thick cheroot, and . . ." (4).


  1. Srinagar (5) a city in and the summer capital of Kashmir

  2. Mughal Empire (5) The Mongol conquers of India, who established an empire that lasted from 1526 to 1856.
    " the valley had hardly changed since the Mughal Empire . . ." (5).

  3. astrakhan (5) a cloth with a usually wool, curled, and looped pile resembling karakul
    "he had . . . dressed and put on his father's astrakhan cap . . ." (5).

  4. exordium* (6) a beginning or introduction especially to a discourse or composition
    "the exordium, spoken with hands joined before him like a book, comforted a part of him . . ." (6).

  5. purdah (7) seclusion of women from public observation among Muslims and some Hindus especially in India
    "This mother, who had spent her life house-bound, in purdah, had suddenly found enormous strength and gone out to run the small gemstone business . . ." (7).

  6. hiatus* (8) an interruption in time or continuity
    "My grandfather waits; and during this hiatus, as he experiences the last peace of his life, a muddy, ominous sport of peace . . ." (8).


  1. Ganesh* (8) Hindu god of wisdom. In Hinduism, Ganesha (Ganesa, "lord of the hosts," also spelled Ganesa and sometimes referred to as Ganesh in Hindi, Bengali and other Indian languages) is a son of Shiva and Parvati, and the husband of Bharati, Riddhi and Siddhi. In art, he is depicted as a pot bellied yellow or red god with four arms and the head of a one-tusked elephant, riding or attended to by a mouse. Typically, his name is prefixed with the Hindu title of respect, 'Shri.'

    When Veda Vyasa was beginning to write the epic Mahabharata, he requested Ganesha to be the scribe. Being playful, Ganesha agreed to be the scribe on one condition - that Vyasa must recite the epic non-stop. Vyasa agreed and thus the great epic of Mahabharata was written by Ganesha.

    Ganesha acquired his head through varying methods in different stories. In one, Shiva decapitated him because Ganesha refused to allow him to enter the bath while Parvati was bathing. Shiva had to give him the new head to placate his wife. In another version, Parvati showed the child off to Shiva, whose face burned his head to ashes, which Brahma told Shiva to replace with the first head he could find—in this case, that of an elephant. The lack of a second tusk is explained by different stories. An avatar of Vishnu, Parashurama, once went to visit Shiva but the way was blocked by Ganesha. Parasurama threw his axe at him and Ganesha, knowing the axe had been given to him by Shiva, allowed it to cut off one of his tusks. Yet another myth is that, in the process of writing the Mahabharata (at the dictation of Vyasa), Ganesh found that his pen had broken, and in the urgency of taking down the great words, snapped off his left tusk as a replacement quill.

    Ganesha is known as Aumkara, because his body mirrors the shape of the Aum, the elephant god is thus seen as the embodiment of the cosmos. His elephantine head symbolizes the intelligence and beatitude of the elephant, powerful, yet gentle. His vehicle is a mouse, (mooshikam) and this symbolizes the intellect, small enough to find out any secret in the most remote of places. It also signifies his humility, that he espouses the company of one of the smaller creatures.

    He is the lord of wisdom, intelligence, education, prudence, luck and fortune, gates, doors, doorways, household and writing. He is the remover of obstacles, and as such it is normal to invoke him before the undertaking of any task with such incantations as "Aum Shri Ganeshaya Namah," (hail the name of Ganesha) or similar.

    "Doctor Aziz's nose—comparable only to the trunk of the elephant-headed god Ganesh . . ." (8).


  1. grandiloquent* (9) a lofty, extravagantly colorful, pompous, or bombastic style, manner, or quality especially in language
    "It was an impression the boatman fostered by his chatter, which was fantastic, grandiloquent and ceaseless . . ." (9).

  2. sahib (10) sir, master; used especially among the native inhabitants of colonial India when addressing or speaking of a European of some social or official status
    "Soon the English sahibs would arrive and Tai would ferry them . . ." (10).

  3. Caliban* (10) the ugly, beast-like slave of Prospero in Shakespeare's The Tempest.
    "A watery Caliban, rather too fond of cheap Kashmiri brandy."

  4. vivisect (10) the cutting of or operation on a living animal usually for physiological or pathological investigation
    "It was magical talk, words pouring from him like fools' money, past his two gold teeth, . . . soaring up to the most remote Himalayas of the past, then swooping shrewdly on some present detail, Aadam's nose for instance, to vivisect its meaning like a mouse" (10).

  5. reprobate* (10) a person condemned strongly as unworthy, unacceptable, or evil
    " Aadam returned to the water’s edge to scan the mists for the ragged reprobate's hunched-up frame . . ." (10).

  6. dijnn (12) The Arabic elf in a bottle/lamp, genie to the Disneyized Alladin
    "Tai, I see, foretold, my own father's possession by dijnns" (12).

  7. feringhee (12) a foreigner, especially a European foreigner. The word is used throughout the Middle East and can reportedly be traced back to an Arabic word for the Crusaders, who were known as "Franks." The term carries a slightly pejorative connotation.
    "there is a tribe of feringhee women who come to this water to drown" (12).

  8. macabre (13) having death as a subject : comprising or including a personalized representation of death
    "a huge, booming laugh that seemed macabre when it crashed out of that old, withered body" (13).

  9. whirligig (13) a child's toy having a whirling motion
    "sends time into a speeding, whirligig, blurry fluster of excitement . . ."

  10. takht (13) a large chair that kings (badshahs) used for lounging; "seat" (or "throne"), originally a Persian word.

    "Aadam's mother is saying as she sips fresh lime water, reclining on a takht in an attitude of resigned exhaustion" (13).

  11. acolyte (16) one who assists the clergyman in a liturgical service by performing minor duties
    "possessed by an incomprehensible rage that appears to be directed at his erstwhile acolyte . . ." (16).

  12. invective (16) of, relating to, or characterized by insult or abuse
    "a stream of invective pouring out of him" (16).

  13. insidious (18) 1. awaiting a chance to entrap; treacherous; harmful but enticing; seductive <insidious drugs>
    2. having a gradual and cumulative effect; subtle <the insidious pressures of modern life>; of a disease : developing so gradually as to be well established before becoming apparent.
    "as a result of the insidious venom of Tai's mutterings . . ." (18).

  1. nonplussed* (18) to cause to be at a loss as to what to say, think, or do; perplex
    "permitted the nonplussed Aadam to start stupidly at the peculiar tableau" (18).


  1. supercilious* (19) coolly and patronizingly haughty <reacted to their breach of etiquette with a supercilious smile>
    "The lady wrestlers adopted supercilious expressions . . ." (19).


  1. appellation* (20) an identifying name or title; designation
    "the lotus goddess, whose most common applellation amongst village folk is 'The One Who Possesses Dung'" (20).

  2. vouchsafe* (21) to grant or furnish often in a gracious or condescending manner; to give by way of reply <refused to vouchsafe an explanation>; to grant as a privilege or special favor
    "each occasion he was vouchsafed a glimpse, through the mutilated sheet, of a different seven-inch circle of the young woman's body" (21).

  3. tineachloris (21)
    "In the opposite armpit she once developed a slight case of tineachloris and he dusted her with yellow powder" (21).

  4. chambeli (22)
    "he could smell her scent of lavender and chambeli" (22).

  5. piffling* (22) Etymology: perhaps blend of piddle and trifle: to talk or act in a trivial, inept, or ineffective way.
    "he doesn't guess why that girl is forever ill with her piffling disorders" (22).


  1. paean (29) a joyous song or hymn of praise, tribute, thanksgiving, or triumph
    "I insert, forthwith, a brief paean to Dung" (29).

  2. Amritsar (29) geographical name: city N India in NW Punjab population 709,456

  3. tongas (30) horse-drawn wagons still used for transportation in India.
    "It issued from the rumps of the horses between the shafts of the city’s many tongas, ikkas and gharries . . ." (30).

  4. ikkas (30) donkey-drawn wagons still used for transportation in India.
    "It issued from the rumps of the horses between the shafts of the city’s many tongas, ikkas and gharries . . ." (30).

  5. gharries (30) a horse-drawn cab used especially in India and Egypt
    "It issued from the rumps of the horses between the shafts of the city’s many tongas, ikkas and gharries . . ." (30).

  6. Jainism (30) a religion of India originating in the 6th century B.C. and teaching liberation of the soul by right knowledge, right faith, and right conduct
    "Doctor Aziz looked down from his hotel window on to this scene as a Jain in a face-mask walked past, brising the pavement before him with a twig-broom, to avoid stepping on an ant, or even a fly" (30).

  7. chaprassi (30) doorkeeper; messenger
    "Scurrying of urchin through revolving door, leaflets falling in his wake, as the chaprassi gives chase" (30).

37. Rowlatt Act (31) As the Defence of India Act was to expire six months after the conclusion of the war, a new set of emergency measures for the detention and containment of 'terrorists' to meet what was termed the 'continuing threat' were planned by the Government of India. These measures were incorporated within the Anarchical and Revolutionary Crimes Act, known to Indians as the Rowlatt Act after the name of the chairman of the committee that recommended the institution of this legislation. The government could not have known that the Rowlatt Act would become the occasion for the most widespread movement of opposition to British rule since the Rebellion of 1857-58 and indeed the springboard from which the movement for independence would be launched until India was to become irretrievably lost to the British. The Rowlatt Act provided for the trial of seditious crime by benches of three judges; the accused were not to have the benefit of either preliminary commitment proceedings or the right of appeal, and the rules under which evidence could be obtained and used were relaxed. Other preventive measures included detention without the levying of charges and searches without warrants. As the Rowlatt committee noted in its report, punishment or acquittal should be speedy both in order to secure the moral effect which punishment should produce and also to prevent the prolongation of the excitement which the proceedings may set up."

  1. gauche (31) Etymology: French, literally, left: lacking social experience or grace; also not tactful: crude <it would be gauche to mention the subject> : crudely made or done <a gauche turn of phrase>
    "the young girl behind the sheet and the gauche young Doctor turned rapidly into different, stranger beings . . ." (31).

  2. Dyer's Martial Law (33)

  3. ordure* (34) excrement; something that is morally degrading
    "There is still a smell of ordure in the air" (34).

  4. betel-nut (36) a climbing pepper (Piper betle) whose leaves are chewed together with betel nut and mineral lime as a stimulant masticatory especially by southeastern Asians
    "in these days you can buy 'rocket-paans' in which, as well as the gum-reddening past of the betel, the comfort of cocaine lies folded in a leaf" (36).


42.Anglepoise (37) A reading lamp that can be put into a variety of different positions. Form: anglepoise lamp
"only interrupting my Anglepoise-lit writing to expostulate . . ." (37).

43. maidan (39) an open public space in a town or village
"marquees and rostrums were bing erected on the Agra maidan . . ." (39).

44. ravelins (40) A detached work with two embankments which make a salient angle. It is raised before the curtain on the counterscarp of the place. Formerly called demilune, and half-moon.
" the domestic rules she established were a system of self-defense so impregnable that Aziz, after many fruitless attempts had more or less given up trying to storm her many ravelins and bastions . . ." (40).

45. leitmotif* (41) an associated melodic phrase or figure that accompanies the reappearance of an idea, person, or situation especially in a Wagnerian music drama; a dominant recurring theme
"I don't know how my grandmother came to adopt theterm whatsitsname as her leitmotif . . ." (41).

  1. reccine (41)
    "Of the prosperous and reccine-and leathercloth merchange named Ahmed Sinai . . ." (41).

  2. maulvi (42) learned Muslim scholar and teacher (usually of religion)
    "Thumb and forefinger closed around the maulvi's ear" (42).

  3. ripostes* (42) ri-'pOst a fencer's quick return thrust following a parry; a retaliatory verbal sally; retort; a retaliatory maneuver or measure
    "And, voice rising, the doctor ripostes, or was it some verses of 'The Cow'?" (42).

  4. basilisk (43) a legendary reptile with fatal breath and glance; any of several crested tropical American lizards (genus Basiliscus) related to the iguanas and noted for their ability to run on their hind legs
    "she unleashed a basilisk glare which was already becoming a legend" (43).

  5. dupatta (43) a rather large scarf worn by women to compliment a salwar-kameez (a long shirt and a pair of pants). The dupatta is often used to cover the head and is a mark of propriety, not unlike the pallu of a sari which performs the same function
    "Hands clasped in her lap, a muslin dupatta wound miser-tight arudn her head . . ." (43).

  6. desultory* (44) marked by lack of definite plan, regularity, or purpose <a dragged-out ordeal of . . . desultory shopping—Herman Wouk> : not connected with the main subject; disappointing in progress or performance; sluggish
    "Around the oldsters, the town fades into desultory evening pastimes" (44).

  7. Raj (44) rule; especially often capitalized; the former British rule of the Indian subcontinent
    "A dark red fluid with clots in it like blood congeals likea red hand in the dust of the street and points accusingly at the retreating power of the Raj" (44).

  8. toadies* (46) Etymology: by shortening & alteration from toadeater; one who flatters in the hope of gaining favors; sycophant
    "That bunch of toadies! The Rani creid . . ." (46).

54. "Quit India" Resolution (46) On July 14, 1942, the Indian National Congress passed a resolution demanding complete independence from Britain. The draft proposed that if the British did not accede to the demands, a massive Civil Disobedience would be launched. On August 8, 1942 the Quit India resolution was passed at the Bombay session of the All India Congress Committee (AICC). At Gowalia Tank, Bombay Gandhi urged Indians to follow a non-violent civil disobedience. Gandhi told the masses to act as if they were an independent nation and not to follow the orders of the British. Thousands of people all over the country responded to the call. The British, already alarmed by the advance of the Japanese army to the India/Burma border, responded the next day by imprisoning Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and other leaders of the Congress Party. They also banned the party altogether. These actions only created sympathy for the cause among the population. Large scale protests and demonstrations were held all over the country. Workers remained absent en masse and strikes were called. However, not all the demonstrations were peaceful. Bombs exploded, government buildings were set on fire, electricity was cut and transport and communication lines were severed. The British swiftly responded by mass detentions. A total of 90,000 arrests were made nationwide, mass fines were levied, bombs were air-dropped and demonstrators were subjected to public flogging. Scores of innocent people were killed by police fire. Many national leaders went underground and continued their struggle by broadcasting messages over clandestine radio stations, distributing pamphlets and establishing parallel governments.

55. nautch (51) an entertainment in India consisting chiefly of dancing by professional dancing girls
"The songs and dances were good and there was a beautiful nautch girl who would have looked more graceful if they hadn't made her dance in a ten-galloon cowboy hat" (51).

56. immure* (60) to enclose within or as if within walls; imprison; to build into a wall; especially to entomb in a wall
"When they entered, they discovered that their mother was absent, having chosen to remain immured in her room wit her web of silence . . ." (60).

57. mullah (60) an educated Muslim trained in traditional religious law and doctrine and usually holding an official post
"but present were both a lawyer . . . and a mullah . . ." (60).

58.                       somnolent* (61) of a kind likely to induce sleep <a somnolent sermon> ; inclined to or heavy with sleep; drowsy; sleepy <somnolent rivers>
"the cook Daoud had been staring at her, trying to undetsyand her somnolently frantic signaling . . ." (61).

59. halal (62) A set of Islamic dietary laws which regulate the preparation of food
"Family history, of course, has it proper dietary laws. One is supposed to swallow and digest only the permitted parts of it, the halal portions of the past, drained of their redness, their blood" (62).

60.                       Satyograha (63) This is normally spelled "Satyagraha". As explained in the Wikipedia article of that name: Satyagraha (Sanskrit: satyāgraha) is the philosophy of nonviolent resistance most famously employed by Mohandas Gandhi in forcing an end to the British Raj in India and also during his struggles in South Africa. Satya is Sanskrit for "truth," and agraha can be rendered as "effort/endeavor." Satyagraha, as defined by Gandhi, can mean "an effort to discover, discern, obtain or apply the Truth."
" Satyograha demonstrators in Jullundur, lying non-violently across railway lines, were soaked to the skin" (63).

61. Urdu (66) an Indo-Aryan language that has the same colloquial basis as standard Hindi, is an official language of Pakistan, and is widely used by Muslims in urban areas of India
"The English lacks the thunderclap sound of the Urdu, and anyway you know what it means" (66).

62. plenipotentiary* (69) invested with full power
"the last-viceroy-to-be was visiting the King and being granted plenipotentiary powers . . ." (69).

63. defenestrate (70) a throwing of a person or thing out of a window
"A certain Doctor N. Q. Baligga . . . ought to be locked up, struck off, defenestrated" (70).

64. crorepatis (71) a person who is worth more than 1 crore (=1,00,00,000), generally used to refer to someone who is extremely wealthy
"We are not crorepatis, you understand. Be we have given you enough" (71).

65. samovar (71) an urn with a spigot at its base used especially in Russia to boil water for tea; an urn similar to a Russian samovar with a device for heating the contents
"Inside the green tin trunk: silver samovars, brocade saris gold coins . . ." (71).

66. hakimi (71) an herbal medicine man; a Muslim doctor. Hakimi is presumably the adjective in English.
"to fuse the skills of Western and hakimi medicine . . ." (71).

67. hegemony* (72) preponderant influence or authority over others; domination
"convincing him that the hegemony of superstition, mumbo-jumbo and all things magical would never be broken in India . . ." (72).

68. maharaj (72) a Hindu prince ranking above a raja

"Let us in, majaharaj!" (72).

69. hamal (72) a porter in eastern countries (as Turkey)
" Amina would rise before he did, her assiduity driving her to dust everything, even the cane chick-blinds (until he agreed to employ a hamal for the purpose)" (72).

70.almirah (74) cupboard
"The tin trunk sat unopened in an old almirah" (74).

71.  dugdugee (75)
"the rattle of Lifafa Das's dugdugee drum" (75).

72. godown (77) a warehouse in a country of southern or eastern Asia
"In the godown, roll upon roll of leather cloth . . ." (77).

73. bounder (78) a man of objectionable social behavior; cad
"a gang of ne'er-do-wells, Madam; unscrupulous cut-throats and bounders to a man!" (78).

74. charpoy (80) a bed used especially in India consisting of a frame strung with tapes or light rope
"when tipped off about the gang's impending arrival, would take sleeping draughts and pull their charpoy beds away from the buildings of the estate" (80).

75. swastika—svasti (81) Etymology: Skt svastika, from svasti well-being, from su- well + as- to be; akin to Sanskrit asti he is, Old English is; from its being regarded as a good luck symbol. 1. a symbol or ornament in the form of a Greek cross with the ends of the arms extended at right angles all in the same rotary direction

"not the Nazi swastika which was the wrong way round, but the ancient Hindu symbol of power. Swasti is Sanskrit for good" (81).

76. Valkyrie (82) any of the maidens of Odin who choose the heroes to be slain in battle and conduct them to Valhalla
"Lifafa Das stands silently, turning the handles of his box; but now the pony-tailed one-eyebrow valkyrie is chanting, pointing with pudgy fingers . . . 'Hindu! Hindu! Hindu!'" (82).

77. quiff (83) A woman regarded as promiscuous
"And the oily quiff, 'Why speak for this goonda, Begum Sahiba?'" (83).

78. irascible* (88) marked by hot temper and easily provoked anger
"While Lafafa Das rides in front with the puzzled, irascible driver . . ." (88).

79. chawl (91)
"Slugglishly her feet follow his up into the upper reaches of the huge gloomy chawl, the broken-down tenement building . . ." (92).

80.  Vishnu* (92) the preserver god of the Hindu sacred triad

"sitting cross-legged in a room on whose walls are pictures of Vishnu in each of his avatars . . ." (92).

81. avatar* (92) 1. the incarnation of a Hindu deity (as Vishnu); 2. an incarnation in human form; an embodiment (as of a concept or philosophy) often in a person; 3. a variant phase or version of a continuing basic entity

"sitting cross-legged in a room on whose walls are pictures of Vishnu in each of his avatars . . ." (92).

82.  langoors (93) lemurs
"The ruined city, having been deserted by people, is now the abode of langoors. Long-tailed and black-faced, the monkeys are possessed of an overriding sense of mission" (93).


83.  Rama (93) a deity or deified hero of later Hinduism worshiped as an avatar of Vishnu
"helped Prince Rama defeat the original Ravana, Hanuman of the flying chariots" (93).

84. pomfret (95) A pomfret is a kind of fish, a popular food in coastal India. It is notable for its large eyes.

"I must describe my mother, her palm slanted outwards towards the advancing palmist, her eyes wide and unblinking as a pomfret's . . ." (95).

85. dotage* (97) a state or period of senile decay marked by decline of mental poise and alertness
"Many years later, at the time of her premature dotage, when all kinds of ghosts welled out of her past to dance before her eyes . . ." (97).

86. declension* (98) a falling off or away; deterioration; descent; slope
"lying on their rope-beds they sipped their tea and entered the bitter-sweet declensions of the drug" (98).

87. Parsee (100) a Zoroastrian descended from Persian refugees settled principally at Bombay
"that it had dropped a barely-chewed Parsee hand, a right hand, the same hand which—now!—slapped him full in the face as it feel . . ." (100).


88. tetrapod (101) a vertebrate (as a frog, bird, or cat) with two pairs of limbs; in MC, an architectural structure made of concrete intended to extend a land mass into a body of water.
"in short, before reclamation, before tetrapods and sunken piles tunred the Seven Isles into a long peninsula like an outstretched, grasping hand . . ." (101).


89.  piscine (101) of, relating to, or characteristic of fish
"they caught pomfret and crabs, and made fish-lover of us all. Padma has succumbed to their piscine sorceries" (101).

90.  Mumbadevi (101)
"And, above it all, the benign presiding influence of the goddess Mumbadevi, whose name—Mumbadevi, Mumbabai, Mumbai—may well have become the city's."

91. Mahratta (102)
"an equestrian sttue of the Mahrata warrior-king Sivaji . . ." (102).

92. brilliantine (105) a light lustrous fabric that is similar to alpaca and is woven usually with a cotton warp and mohair or worsted filling; a preparation for making hair glossy
"He had a head of thick black brilliantined hair, parted in the center" (105).

93. fettle (107) state or condition of health, fitness, wholeness, spirit, or form, often used in the phrase in fine fettle
"Look around you: everything's in a fine fettle, don't you agree?" (107).

94. hapless (107) having no luck; unfortunate
" Ismail's tiny flustery hapless wife, Nussie, whom we always called Nussie-the-duck on account of her waddling gait . . ." (107).

95.cipher* (108) 1a. zero; 1b. one that has no weight, worth, or influence; nonentity; 2a. a method of transforming a text in order to conceal its meaning; a message in code; 3. Arabic numeral; 4. a combination of symbolic letters; especially the interwoven initials of a name
"On the ground floor lived the Dubashes, he a physicist . . . she a cipher beneath whose blankness a true religious fanaticism lay concealed . . ." (108).

96.ascetic* (108) practicing strict self-denial as a measure of personal and especially spiritual discipline; austere in appearance, manner, or attitude
"Homi Catrack who is something of an ascetic is obliged to lie on a large soft mattress . . ." (108).

97. budgerigar (109) a small Australian parrot (Melopsittacus undulatus) usually light green with black and yellow markings in the wild but bred under domestication in many colors
"and they are learning about ceiling-fans and gas cookers and the correct diet for budgerigars . . ." (109).

98.                       fustian (114) a strong cotton and linen fabric; a class of cotton fabrics usually having a pile face and twill weave; high-flown or affected writing or speech; broadly : anything high-flown or affected in style
"and arriving at a large building filled with dim fustian light and the perfume of singing censers" (114).

99. hartal (119) strike. Popularized by Gandhi as a form of civil disobedience, it's now common for shops in Bombay to be forcibly shut down by the local politician's goons at the slightest excuse.
"Mahatma Gandhi and his hartal" (119).

100.                   Punchinello (125) capitalized : a fat short humpbacked clown or buffoon in Italian puppet shows
"and a certain Punchinello faced Major Zulfikar . . ." (125).

101.                    sadhu (126) a usually Hindu mendicant ascetic
"the sadhu strides up amongst the red-tiled mansions.  Musa, the old bearer, descends upon him to shoo him; but hangs back, not knowing how to command a holy man" (126).

102.                   Begum (127) a Muslim woman of high rank (as in India or Pakistan)
"Doctor Narlikar talks to Ahmed Sinai. 'I shall see to your Begum personally,' he says . . ." (127).

103.                   eccrine (137)
"I have sniffed out a stange discontent in Padma, exuding its enigmatic spoor from her eccrine (or apocrine) glands" (137).

104.                   apocrine (137)
"I have sniffed out a stange discontent in Padma, exuding its enigmatic spoor from her eccrine (or apocrine) glands" (137).

105.                   Sarnath (139)
"the lions of Sarnath stood avove the dharma chakra on the Prime Minister's missive . . ." (139).

106.                   dharma-chakra (139) Dharma: Hinduism: an individual's duty fulfilled by observance of custom or law
2. Hinduism & Buddhism: the basic principles of cosmic or individual existence: divine law; conformity to one's duty and nature//Chakra: any of several points of physical or spiritual energy in the human body according to yoga philosophy

107.                    dhow (139) an Arab lateen-rigged boat usually having a long overhang forward, a high poop, and a low waist
"a sea on which the sails of Koli dhows lowed scarlet in the setting sun" (139).

108.                   veruccas (143) a wart or warty skin lesion
"the sadhu under our garden tap . . . devoted his life to keeping an eye on me, and filled his days teaching my father palmistry and witching away my mother's veruccas . . ." (143).

109.                   pip (147) any of various human ailments; especially a slight nonspecific disorder; chiefly British: a feeling of irritation or annoyance
"until Mr. Dubash . . . dies by choking on an orange from which his wife forgot to remove the pips" (147).

110.                    chitties (149)
"After that, on the first of every month, my father and Mr. Catrack . . . queued up outside Doctor Sharabi's mottled-glass surgery door, went in, and emerged with the little pink chitties of alcoholism" (149).

111.                      shatranj (151)
"They would play chess in an old Indian way, the game of shatranj" (151).

112.                     bhai (152) "brother" in Hindi and Urdu. It can refer to a blood relative or, as in this case, a friend.
"And Narlikar, dazzling with effulgence: 'The point, Ahmed bhai, is this!'" (152).

113.                     lingam (152) a stylized phallic symbol of the masculine cosmic principle and of the Hindu god Siva
"the tetrapod! Like a three-dimensional Mercedes-Benz sign, three legs standing on his palm, a fourth rearing lingam-fashion in the evening air . . ." (152).

114.                     Tubriwallah (155)
"The rumor spread that a mad Bengali snake-charmer, a Turbriwallah, was traveling the country . . ." (155).

115.                     Krishna* (155) a deity or deified hero of later Hinduism worshiped as an incarnation of Vishnu

"He was Krishna come to chastise his people; he was the sky-hued Jesus of the missionaries" (154).

116.                     krait (155) any of a genus (Bungarus) of brightly banded extremely venomous nocturnal elapid snakes of Pakistan, India, southeastern Asia, and adjacent islands
"Escaped cobras vanished into the sewers of the city; banded kraits were seen on buses" (155).

117.                     Naga (155)
"Religious leaders described the snake escape as a warning—the good Naga had been unleashed, they intoned, as a punishment for the nations' official renunciation of its deities" (155).

118.                    kasaundie (158)
"Mary Pereira took the time to prepare, for the benefit of their visitors, some of the finest and most delicate mango pickles, lime chutneys and cucumber kasaundies in the world" (158).

119.                     salan (158)
" Amina ate the fish salans of stubbornness and the birianis of determination" (158).

120.                   birani (158)
" Amina ate the fish salans of stubbornness and the birianis of determination" (158).

121.                     Godse (163)
"And Aadam, upon whom the news of Gandhi’s death had placed a new burden of age: 'This Godse is nothing to be grateful for!'" (163).

122.                    osculation (162) the act of kissing
"In those days it was not permitted for lover-boys and their leading ladies to touch one another on screen, for fear that their osculations might corrupt the nation's youth" (162).

123.                    hamal (164)
"a servants' room . . . in which Musa was obliged to sleep along with gardener, odd-job boy, and hamal—while Mary slept in style on a rush mat beside a new born"

124.                    lathistick (165) a "lathi" is a stick, typically longer than a person's forearm. In this case it refers to the rather long truncheon carried by Indian police.
"'Come on, own up now!'—lathistick tapping against his leg . . ." (165).

125.                    flummery* (181) a soft jelly or porridge made with flour or meal; any of several sweet desserts; mummery; mumbo jumbo
"O transparent flummery of ghosts!" (181).

126.                    polyglot* (192) a mixture or confusion of languages or nomenclatures
"but that was after I heard, beneath the polyglot frenzy in my head, those other precious signals" (192).

127.                    bandy (193)
"my parents, who had become accustomed to facial birthmarks, cucumber-nose and bandy legs, simply refused to see any more embarrassing things in me . . ."

128.                   phaelwan (194)
"He's butting into my thoughts, hey phaelwan, hey little wrestler, what's dragging your face down . . ." (194).

129.                    moraine (198) an accumulation of earth and stones carried and finally deposited by a glacier
"beneath the glory of a completely circular rainbow and the tumbling moraine of the Kolahoi glacier" (198).

130.                   chandela (198)
"Tantric carvings on the Chandela temples" (198).

131.                     self-aggrandizement* (199) to enhance the power, wealth, position, or reputation of oneself <exploited the situation for his own self-aggrandizement>
"Today, with the hindsight of the lost, spent years, I can say that the spirit of self-aggrandizement which seized me then was a reflex, born of a spirit of self-preservation" (199).

132.                    Hadhramaut (199)
"I've become Sin, the ancient moon-god (no, not Indian: I've imported him for Hadhramaut of old) . . ." (199).

133.                    Puja (201) cleansing ritual
"a group of beggar-women had clustered around the tetrapod and were performing the rite of puja" (201).

134.                    priapic (201) phallic; relating to or preoccupied with virility
"Doctor Narlikar, opponent of fertility, was driven wild at this vision, in which it seemed to him that all the old priapic forces of the ancient, procreative India had been unleashed upon the beauty of sterile twentieth-century concrete . . ." (201).

135.                    limpet (202) a marine gastropod mollusk (especially families Acmaeidae and Patellidae) that has a low conical shell broadly open beneath, browses over rocks or timbers in the littoral area, and clings very tightly when disturbed; one that clings tenaciously to someone or something; an explosive device designed to cling magnetically to a metallic surface (as the hull of a ship)
"In absolute soundlessness, fear gave Doctor Narlikar the strength of limpets . . ." (202).

136.                    misogynist (203) a hatred of women
"Having been a bachelor and misogynist all his life, he was engulfed, in death, by a sea of giant, noisy, omnicompetent women . . ." (203).

137.                    Ramzàn (206)
"During Ramzàn, the month of fasting, we went to the movies as often as we could" (206).

138.                   compère (206) the master of ceremonies of an entertainment (as a television program)
"and birthday announcements made by a compère with an inadequate moustache" (206).

139.                    Eid-ul-Fitr (206) The Islamic holiday of Eid ul-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan. It is one of the two Eid festivals in the Islamic year (the other being Eid ul-Adha). It's also referred to as the Little or Small Bayram (which originates from Turkish), or the "Little" or "Small Feast." This holiday follows the month of Ramadan, falling on the first day of Shawwal (the tenth month in the Islamic calendar). As with all months in the Islamic calendar, it begins with the sighting of the new moon. For this reason there may be regional differences in the exact date of Eid, with some Muslims fasting for 29 days and some for 30 days. Eid ul-Fitr commemorates the end of the month of Ramadan. Fasting is forbidden on this day as it marks the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan. A Muslim is encouraged to rise early and partake of some dates or a light, sweet snack, significant because for the past 30 days they have abstained from all food and drink from dawn till dusk. It may come as a surprise to many non-Muslims, but many people feel a sense of loss or sadness at the passing of Ramadan. Muslims are encouraged to dress in their best clothes, new if possible, and to attend a special Eid prayer that is performed in congregation at mosques. Before the prayer the congregation recites the Takbiir.
"There was not much praying in our family (except on Eid-ul-Fitr, when my father took me to the Friday mosque to celebrate the holiday by tying a handkerchief around my head and pressing my forehead to the ground) . . ." (206).

140.                   arriviste* (207) one that is a new and uncertain arrival (as in social position or artistic endeavor)
"arriviste Indian success-stories ended up in Laxmi Vilas" (207).

141.                     coda (207) a concluding musical section that is formally distinct from the main structure; a concluding part of a literary or dramatic work; something that serves to round out, conclude, or summarize yet has its own interest
"and then there would have been no climax in a Widows' Hostel, no clear proof of meaning, no coda in a fuming factory . . ." (207).

142.                    semaphore (208) an apparatus for visual signaling (as by the position of one or more movable arms); a system of visual signaling by two flags held one in each hand
"when she charged up the hill on her two-wheeler, straw hair flying, freckles ablaze, mouth-metal flashing semaphore messages in the sunlight . . ." (208).

143.                    annas (209)
"we see annas into the air and she gunned them down, stone dead" (209).

144.                    perambulate* (213) to travel over or through especially on foot; traverse; to make an official inspection of (a boundary) on foot; intransitive senses: stroll
"as Evie and I perambulated, I felt . . . what's the word? . . . happy" (213).

145.                    parabola (214) a plane curve generated by a point moving so that its distance from a fixed point is equal to its distance from a fixed line; the intersection of a right circular cone with a plane parallel to an element of the cone; something bowl-shaped (as an antenna or microphone reflector)

"I was flying up and over the handlebars toward Sonny who had embarked on an identical parabola towards me . . ." (214).

146.                    pice (221) a quarter anna, a very small coin
"Then with my few pice I've taken the bus in to the country to dig for herbs . . ." (221).

147.                    Ghats (222) The term Ghats (Hindi: steps) is generally used in reference to the steep mountainous ranges of India; The Western and Eastern Ghats. It is also used to refer to the steps which lead to the river as in Varanasi on the banks of the river Ganga.
"At the feet of the Western Ghats, she searched for the herbs of virility . . ." (222).

148.                   Indra (222) A principal Vedic deity associated with rain and thunder. The god of weather and war, and Lord of Heaven or Swargaloka, was the supreme deva of Hinduism during the early Vedic period. The Rig-Veda states,
"He under whose supreme control are horses, all chariots, and the villages, and cattle;
He who gave being to the Sun and Morning, who leads the waters, He, O men, is Indra." (2.12.7, trans. Griffith)
Today, while he has been displaced by Vishnu and Shiva, he retains his importance as a noble deity and prominent figure in Hindu mythology and lore.
"thou hast powers of Indra" (222).

149.                    Kali-Yuga (223) According to Hindu scripture, Kali Yuga (Iron Age) began at the end of Krishna's bodily lifespan (approximately 5100 years ago, 3102 BC) and will last exactly 432,000 years—placing its conclusion in the year AD 428899 (it began with a year 0). Kalki, the 10th and final avatar of Vishnu, is expected to appear at this time, riding a white horse and wielding a flaming sword with which to strike down the wicked.
"that inescapable date is no more than one fleeting instant in the Age of Darkness, Kali-Yuga . . ." (223).

150.                   Maha-Yuga cycle (223) cosmic cycle: One of the infinitely recurring periods of the universe, comprising its creation, preservation and dissolution. These cycles are measured in periods of progressive ages, called yugas. Satya (or Krita), Treta, Dvapara and Kali are the names of these four divisions, and they repeat themselves in that order, with the Satya Yuga being the longest and the Kali Yuga the shortest. The comparison is often made of these ages with the cycles of the day: Satya Yuga being morning until noon, the period of greatest light or enlightenment, Treta Yuga afternoon, Dvapara evening, and Kali Yuga the darkest part of the night. Four yugas equal one mahayuga.
"the Age of Darkness is only the fourth phase of the present Maha-Yuga cycle, which is, in total, ten times as long . . ." (223).

151.                     yaksa (223) The demons in the lower realm, like the Ghost Realm. They are evil, malignant and violent. They live on earth or in air.
"Padma, who along with the yaksa genii, who represent the sacred treasure of the earth, and the sacred rivers, Ganga Yamuna Sarasvati, and the tree goddesses . . ." (223).

152.                    maya (223) Fear-driven illusion or false belief, particularly on the essence level (as opposed to false personality). It is a Hindu term referring to the transitory, illusory appearance of the physical world that obscures the spiritual reality from which it originates.
"beguiling and comforting mortal men while they pass through the dream-web of Maya . . ." (223).

153.                    fakirs (229) a Muslim mendicant; dervish; an itinerant Hindu ascetic or wonder-worker; imposter especially swindler
"the conjurers' slum, to which the greatest fakirs and prestigiditators and illusionists in the land . . ." (229).

154.                    prestigitation (229) slight of hand
"the conjurers' slum, to which the greatest fakirs and prestigiditators and illusionists in the land . . ." (229).

155.                    illuminati (229) capitalized : any of various groups claiming special religious enlightenment; persons who are or who claim to be unusually enlightened
"because to Parvati-the-witch, born a mere seven seconds after midnight on August 15th, had been given the powers of a true adept, the illuminatus, the genuine gifts of conjuration and sorcery, the art that required no artifice" (229).

156.                    rarefied* (232) of, relating to, or interesting to a select group; esoteric; very high
"he liquefied his assets and entered the rarefied and abstract air of financial speculation" (232).

157.                    chawl (232) multi-family housing; apartments sharing a common water-source and toilet facilties. The closest parallel would be turn of the century New York tenements.
"He sold off the many tenements or chawls which he'd bought cheaply . . ." (232).

158.                   imprecation* (240) a curse; malediction.
"sounds, too have been baiting to be heard: bubbling of vats, loud singing, course imprecations, bawdy humor of fuss-armed women . . ." (240).

159.                    perfidy* (245) the quality or state of being faithless or disloyal; treachery; an act or an instance of disloyalty
"I voyaged into the unknown in the vehicle of maternal perfidy" (245).

160.                   rutputty (247)
"a real rutputty joint, with painted boards proclaiming LOVELY LASSI . . ." (247).

161.                     biris (247)
"to spend the afternoon hunched over cards and Lovely Lassi and rough biris . . ." (247).

162.                    plimsoll (247) Chiefly British. A rubber-soled cloth shoe; a sneaker.
"my shoes, scuffed as they were, were still the plimsolls of a prosperous child" (247).

163.                    Shaitan (248) (Islam) a rebellious jinni who leads men astray
"the cipher of the Devil, the Great Beast, Shaitan himself!" (248).

164.                    outré* (250) violating convention or propriety; bizarre
"Matter of fact descriptions of the outré and bizarre, and their reverse, namely heightened, stylized versions of the everyday . . ." (25).

165.                    hamsa (255)
"'The Gander,' obviously a reference, obviously, to the mythical bird, the hamsa or parahamsa, symbol of the ability to live in two worlds, the physical and the spiritual, the world of land-and-water and the world of air, of flight" (255).

166.                    sanguinary* (259) bloodthirsty; murderous; <sanguinary hatred> ; attended by bloodshed; bloody <this bitter and sanguinary war—T. H. D. Mahoney> ; consisting of blood <a sanguinary stream>
"that most mysterious of sanguinary attributes, known as rhesus, which is also a type of monkey" (259).

167.                    zygote (259) a cell formed by the union of two gametes; broadly, the developing individual produced from such a cell
"All other factors: zygosity, and Kell antibodies and that most mysterious of sanguinary attributes, known as rhesus, which is also a type of monkey" (259).

168.                   kell antibioties (259)
"All other factors: zygosity, and Kell antibodies and that most mysterious of sanguinary attributes, known as rhesus, which is also a type of monkey" (259).

169.                    numen* (262) a spiritual force or influence often identified with a natural object, phenomenon, or place
"Destiny, historical role, numen: these were mouthfuls too large for ten-year-old gullets" (262).

170.                    quotidian* (262) occurring every day <quotidian fever> ; belonging to each day; everyday <quotidian routine> ; commonplace, ordinary <quotidian drabness>
"Even a symbolic gander must come down, at last, to earth . . . . I must return (as I used to return) to the quotidian; I must permit blood to spill" (262).

171.                     antimony (276) a brittle, lustrous, white metallic element occurring in nature free or combined, used chiefly in alloys and in compounds in medicine.
"Pia in petticoats, soft hips rounding towards my desperately-averted eyes, giggling while her eyes, bright with antimony, flashed imperiously . . ." (276). 

172.                    Ravana (280) The demon-king of Lanka, whose abduction of Sita, led to his destruction at Rama's hands, in the Ramayana.
"rakshasas have been seen many-headed like Ravana, doing things to women and pulling down trees with one finger" (280).

173.                    atavism* (281) recurrence in an organism of a trait or character typical of an ancestral form and usually due to genetic recombination; recurrence of or reversion to a past style, manner, outlook, or approach <architectural atavism> ; that manifests atavism; throwback
"so that people were seized by atavistic longings, and forgetting the new myth of freedom reverted to their old ways . . ." (281).

174.                    éminence grise (282)
"But he never found out the evil genius, the éminence grise behind the greatest scandal the city had ever known was non other than Saleem Snotnose . . ." (282).

175.                    tergiversatory (282)
"Effects must not (despite the tergiversatory nature of the time in 1958) be permitted to precede causes" (282).

176.                    solipsism (291) a theory holding that the self can know nothing but its own modifications and that the self is the only existent thing
"Up in Kashmir, Narada-Markandaya was falling into the solipsistic dreams of the true narcissist, concerned oly the the erotic pleasures of constant sexual arlterations . . ." (291).

177.                     mahatma (293) a person to be revered for high-mindedness, wisdom, and selflessness; a person of great prestige in a field of endeavor
"And I, Saleem, crumbling: 'But . . . free will . . . hope . . . the great soul, otherwise known as mahatma, of humankind . . .'" (293).

178.                    eponymous* (294) one for whom or which something is or is believed to be named; a name (as of a drug or a disease) based on or derived from an eponym
"Sharpsticker Sahib, now ninety-two and no longer of his eponymous Institute, but retired . . ." (294).

179.                    transmogrify* (295) to change or alter greatly and often with grotesque or humorous effect
"it seems that all my life I’ve only had to rturn a corner to tumble into yet another new and fabulously transmogrified world" (295).

180.                   Radha and Krishna (297) Radha: a cowherdess who was the favourite of Lord Krishna and an incarnation of the Goddess Lakshmi, also a Goddess in her own right; Krishna: see definition elsewhere.
"Once upon a time there were Radha and Krishna, and Rama and Sita, and Laila and Majnu; also (because we are not unaffected by the West) Romeo and Juliet . . ." (297).

181.                    Rama and Sita (297) Rama: The seventh avatar or incarnation of Vishnu; the eldest son of King Dasaratha, of the Solar Race. His full name is Rama-Chandra, and he is the hero of the Ramayana. He married Sita, who was the female avatar of Lakshmi, Vishnu's wife, and was carried away by Ravana the Demon-King of Lanka, which act led to the famous war
"Once upon a time there were Radha and Krishna, and Rama and Sita, and Laila and Majnu; also (because we are not unaffected by the West) Romeo and Juliet . . ." (297).

182.                   Laila and Majnu (297)
"Once upon a time there were Radha and Krishna, and Rama and Sita, and Laila and Majnu; also (because we are not unaffected by the West) Romeo and Juliet . . ." (297).

183.                   Leander and Hero (297) (Greek mythology) Leander: a youth beloved of Hero who drowned in a storm in the Hellespont on one of his nightly visits to see her
"When cream-scarfed, gold-shaded Homi sped off to meet her . . . he was Leander swimming the Hellespont towards Hero's burning candle" (297).

184.                   plebiscite* (298) a vote by which the people of an entire country or district express an opinion for or against a proposal especially on a choice of government or ruler
"Those were the days when Sheikh Abdulla, the Lion of Kashmir, was campaigning for a plebiscite in his state to determine its future . . ." (298).

185.                   salutary* (299) producing a beneficial effect; remedial; <salutary influences> ; promoting health; curative
"By unmasking the perfidy of Lila Sabarmati, I hoped also to administer a salutary shock to my own mother" (299).

186.                   Ramayana (301)
"'In the Saarmati Case, the noble sentiments of the Ramayana combine with the cheap melodrama of the Bombay talkie . . .'" (301).

187.                    escatalogical* (305) a branch of theology concerned with the final events in the history of the world or of humankind; a belief concerning death, the end of the world, or the ultimate destiny of humankind, specifically any of various Christian doctrines concerning the Second Coming, the resurrection of the dead, or the Last Judgment
"until, on the day of Nussie-the-duck's last eschatological lament . . ." (305).

188.                   Kundalini (307) the yogic life force that is held to lie coiled at the base of the spine until it is aroused and sent to the head to trigger enlightenment
"Sacrificing themselves in an ecstasy of Kundalini Art, they saved the soul of their unborn son Lord Khusro" (307).

189.                   Mahaguru (308)
"'The Lord Khusro?' Padma asks, amazed. ‘You mean that same mahaguru who drowned at sea last year?'" (308).

190.                   apotheosis* (309) elevation to divine status; deification; the perfect example; quintessence <this is the literary apotheosis of the shaggy dog story—Thomas Sutcliffe>
"let me confess that I was somewhat resentful of Cyrus' apotheosis" (309).

191.                     purloin (309) to appropriate wrongfully and often by a breach of trust
"'I am the magic child; not only my primacy at home, but even my true innermost nature, has now been purloined'" (309).

192.                    thews (310) muscular power or development; strength, vitality; muscle; sinew, usually used in plural
"I am, in fact, entirely content with the uncomplaining thews of Padma Mangroli, who is, unaccountably, more interested in me than my tales" (310).

193.                    ululation (311) howl, wail
"dust deadening the sounds of formal ululation" (311).

194.                    raga (312) one of the ancient traditional melodic patterns or modes in Indian music; an improvisation based on a traditional raga
"we had unconsciously been eager to see her grieving, looking forward to watching an accomplished tragedienne orchestrate her own calamity, anticipating a forty-day raga in which bravura and gentleness, howling pain and soft despond would all be blended in the exact proportion of art . . ." (312).

195.                    succubi (314) a demon assuming female form to have sexual intercourse with men in their sleep
"as though their marriage had been one of those mythical unions in which succubi appear to men as innocent damsels" (314).

196.                    iconoclast* (317) one who destroys religious images or opposes their veneration; one who attacks settled beliefs or institutions
"Reverend Mother was obliged to yield to him for this reason if for no other—the iconoclasm of his dotage would have created a scandal in the country here he was not known" (317).

197.                    catafalque (322) an ornamental structure sometimes used in funerals for the lying in state of the body; a pall-covered coffin-shaped structure used at requiem masses celebrated after burial
"Did Mary and old distraught Mrs. Pereira find themselves pressing up against the catafalque . . ." (322).

198.                   insouciant* (327) lighthearted unconcern; nonchalance
"it saw Bonzo picking her way daintily through the field of the lethal seeds, nose to ground, Bonzo-the-insouciant, quite at her ease" (327).

199.                    enuresis (328) the involuntary discharge of urine; incontinence of urine
"The enuresis of my cousin Zafar continued, however, to be the shame of his family" (328).

200.                  equerries (329) an officer of a prince or noble charged with the care of horses; an officer of the British royal household in personal attendance on the sovereign or a member of the royal family
"Car-doors opened; equerries , adjutants, leaped out of vehicles and opened rear doors, saluted stiffly . . ." (329).

201.                   gimlet (330) a small tool with a screw point, grooved shank, and cross handle for boring holes
"What names could be put to the fabulous array of moustaches, swagger-sticks, gimlet-eyes, medal and shoulder-pips which emerged?" (330).

202.                  pepperpot (332)
"How we made the revolutions: General Zulfikar described troop movements; I moved pepperpots symbolically while he spoke" (332).

203.                  Qa'aba (334)
"she, who spurned all offers of worldly love, was seduced by the loved of the at God who had been named after a carved idol in a pagan shrine built around a giant meteorite: Al-Lah, in the Qa'aba, the shrine of the great Black Stone" (334).

204.                  Goa (335)
"entirely without my help, India conquered Goa—'the Portuguese pimple on the face of mother India' . . ." (335).

205.                  muezzin (336) a Muslim crier who calls the hour of daily prayers
"a voice which was afterwards compared to that of Muhammed's muezzin Bilal, issuing from the lips of a somewhat scrawny girl" (336).

206.                  Hadith (338) a narrative record of the sayings or customs of Muhammad and his companions; the collective body of traditions relating to Muhammad and his companions
"Those who follow in my footsteps will, however, inevitably come to this present work, this source-book, this Hadith or Purana or Grundrisse, for guidance and inspiration" (338).

207.                   Purana (338) one of a class of Hindu sacred writings chiefly from A.D. 300 to A.D. 750 comprising popular myths and legends and other traditional lore
"Those who follow in my footsteps will, however, inevitably come to this present work, this source-book, this Hadith or Purana or Grundrisse, for guidance and inspiration" (338).

208.                  Grundrisse (338) A political treatise written by Karl Marx, a critique of political economy.
"Those who follow in my footsteps will, however, inevitably come to this present work, this source-book, this Hadith or Purana or Grundrisse, for guidance and inspiration" (338).

209.                  Nastaliq (349)
"Sinai, when in Roman script, though not in Nastaliq, is also the name of the place-of-revelation, of put-off-they-shoes, of commandments and olden calves . . ." (349).

210.                   penumbra* (352) a space of partial illumination (as in an eclipse) between the perfect shadow on all sides and the full light; a shaded region surrounding the dark central portion of a sunspot; a surrounding or adjoining region in which something exists in a lesser degree; fringe; a body of rights held to be guaranteed by implication in a civil constitution

"Even when, years later in the magician's ghetto, I lived in another mosque's shade, a shade which was, at least for a time, a protective, unmenacing penumbra, I never lost my Karachi-born view of mosque-shadows, in which, it seemed to me, I could sniff the narrow, clutching, accusative odor of my aunt" (352).

211.                     mullah (353) an educated Muslim trained in traditional religious law and doctrine and usually holding an official post
"watched by the eyes of a team of laborers and the beard of a mullah, Ahmed handed Saleem a pickaxe" (353).

212.                    Inshalla (353) if Allah wills; God willing
"'A new beginning,' Amina said, 'Inshallah, we shall all be new people now'" (353).

213.                    mopla (355)
"Mopla-like, I was doomed to be an misfit . . ." (355).

214.                    chador (358) a cloth used as a head covering (and veil and shawl) by Muslim and Hindu women
"The chadar of Jamila Singer was held up by two tireless, muscular figures, also (but more simply) veiled from head to foot . . ." (358).

215.                    itr (363) very pure fragrance/perfume
"Mosques poured over me the itr of devotion; I could smell the orotund emissions of power sent out by flag-waving Army motors . . ." (363).

216.                    orotund (363) marked by fullness, strength, and clarity of sound; sonorous; pompous; bombastic
"Mosques poured over me the itr of devotion; I could smell the orotund emissions of power sent out by flag-waving Army motors . . ." (363).

217.                    lepidopterist (364) a person who studies any of a large order (Lepidoptera) of insects comprising the butterflies, moths, and skippers that as adults have four broad or lanceolate wings usually covered with minute overlapping and often brightly colored scales and that as larvae are caterpillars
"a lepidopterist, I snared whiffs like butterflies in the net of my nasal hairs . . ." (364).

218.                   zenana (368) Women's apartment
"in the zenana chambers, women were patterning the Nawab's daughter's hands and feet with delicate traceries of henna . . ." (368).

219.                    vacuous* (370) emptied of or lacking content; marked by lack of ideas or intelligence; stupid; inane <a vacuous mind> <a vacuous expression> ; devoid of serious occupation; idle
"The vacuous beatitude of the plants affected the drivers in the convoy, which only reached the palace by great good fortune . . ." (370).

220.                  mehndi (370)
"The mehndi ceremony took place amid a sleepy contentment so found that nobody noticed hen the bride-groom relaxed so completely that he wet his pants . . ." (370).

221.                    querulous* (375) habitually complaining; fretful, whining <a querulous voice>
"it was almost as though she were relieved that my querulous grandfather, who had in his youth despised the Pakistan movement . . . had by dying permitted her to go alone into the Land of the Pure"(375).

222.                   dissimulation* (377) to hide under a false appearance <smiled to dissimulate her urgency—Alice Glenday>
"but it seemed I was the only one to smell it, because Alia's skill at dissimulation had grown as rapidly as the hairiness of her chin . . ." (377).

223.                   Nanga-Parbats (381) a huge, famous mountain in Pakistan.  Literal translation of Nanga is "naked" and parbhat is "mountain," and its called that because it stays icy and white on most years, even though the snow melts off all the mountains around it.
"we had to squeeze sideways between the Everest and the Nanga-Parbats of badly-made terry-cloth which lined the passages and hall" (381).

224.                   probity* (382) adherence to the highest principles and ideals; uprightness
"while editorials praised the probity of the nation's leadership, rumor, thick as files, mentioned Swiss bank accounts . . ." (382).

225.                   houris (389) one of the beautiful maidens that in Muslim belief live with the blessed in paradise; a voluptuously beautiful young woman
"Where the men would be given four beauteous houris, untouched by man or dijnn . . ." (389).

226.                   lachrymose* (397) given to tears or weeping; tearful; tending to cause tears; mournful
"I remain dry-eyed as usual, graciously refusing to rise to the unintentional insult implied by Padma'I lovs lachrymose exclamation" (397).

227.                   Bodhi tree (401) The tree (ficus religiosa) under which the Buddha realised Enlightenment
"Cross-legged, blue-eyed, staring into space, he sits beneath a tree.  Bodhi tress do not grow at this altitude; he makes do with a china" (401).

228.                  sartorial* (407) of or relating to a tailor or tailored clothes; broadly of or relating to clothes
"On March 15th, after obeying sartorial instructions, twenty CUTIA units were flown to Dacca, via Ceylon . . ." (407).

229.                   natty* (407) trimly neat and tidy; smart
"The General Officer Commanding (in a nattily blue double-breasted suit) was Tikka Khan . . ." (407).

230.                  trilby (408) Etymology: from the fact that such a hat was worn in the London stage version of the novel Trilby (1894) by George du Maurier: chiefly British: a soft felt hat with indented crown
"He wore bush-shirt, slacks and a jaunty little trilby on his head" (408).

231.                    mangroves (416) any of a genus (Rhizophora, especially R. mangle of the family Rhizophoraceae) of tropical maritime trees or shrubs that send out many prop roots and form dense masses important in coastal land building; any of numerous trees (as of the genera Avicennia of the vervain family or Sonneratia of the family Sonneratiaceae) with growth habits like those of the true mangroves

"they struggled ashore in the dark . . . pulled the boat up after themselves, and past caring about bombarding nipa palms and snaking mangroves, fell into their sodden craft and slept" (416).

232.                   Kali (421) a destructive and creative aspect of God as the Divine Mother in Hinduism. Kali is the fierce aspect of Devi, God's energy, i.e., Shakti or God as the Divine Mother, who is fundamental to all other Hindu deities. The continuous, ongoing work of Creation is described as "the play of Kali." Kali is considered to be the destroyer of evil spirits and the preserver of devotees. She is the consort of Shiva. Her name seems to be a female version of the word 'kala' (Sanskrit for 'time' or 'dark'); it also means Black Female, in contrast to her consort, Shiva, who is white; and Kali is the common name for Energy in her form as Shiva's wife, or Shakti. Many people also believe her to be the same as Durga, even though this is not true as Durga is the terrible aspect of Devi, not the Shakti of Shiva. Other names are: Bhowani Devi, Sati, Rudrani, Parvati, Chinnamastika, Kamakshi, Uma, Menakshi, Himavati, Kumari. These names, if repeated, are believed to give special power to the worshipper. Skulls, cemeteries, and blood are associated with her worship. She is black and emaciated. Her face is azure, streaked with yellow, her glance is ferocious; her disheveled and bristly hair is usually shown splayed and spread like the tail of a peacock and sometimes braided with green serpents. She wears a long necklace (descending almost to her knees) of human skulls. She may be shown wearing a girdle of severed arms. Children's corpses as earrings (likeliest representing natural infant mortality and childhood mortality from causes such as disease), and cobras as bracelets or garlands add to her terrifying adornments. Her purple lips are often shown streaming with blood; her tusk-like teeth descend over her lower lip; and her tongue lolls out. She is often shown standing on the inert form of her consort, Shiva. She is sometimes accompanied by she-demons. Her four arms hold weapons or the severed head of a demon: these objects symbolize both her creative and her destructive power, for Kali personifies the ambivalence of deity, which manifests itself, according to Indian tradition, in the unceasing cycle of life and death, creation and destruction. Some of her greatest “bhaktas” (loving devotees) are to be found in the West Bengal, South India and Kashmir traditions. Best known is the saint Shri Ramakrishna. A vast poetic tradition evolved around Kali as a loving albeit often unpredictable mother, of infinite tenderness to her devotees. Among these greats of the Bengali literature on Kali are Ramprasad Sen. Some of her biggest temples are to be found in the North-East of India, in particular in Kolkata, West Bengal: Kalighat and Dakshineshwar, and in the equally famed Kamakhya in Assam. Her poor reputation in the West came from the cult of the Thuggee, Hindus and Muslims who took the goddess Kali as their deity. They robbed and murdered travellers as sacrifices to Kali and were broken up by the British. The common English word thug is derived from this. For her Tantric worshippers, it was essential to face her Curse, the terror of death, as willingly as they accepted Blessings from her beautiful, nurturing, maternal aspect. For them, wisdom meant learning that no coin has only one side: as death cannot exist without life, so life cannot exist without death.

"but the buddha knew she was Kali, fecund and awful, with the remnants of gold paint on her teeth" (421).

233.                   djellabah (432) men's robe-like garment.

"lying on the mat behind his desk was a loose flowing garment like a dhekkabag . . ." (432).

234.                   cognomen* (437) surname especially the third of usually three names borne by a male citizen of ancient Rome; name especially a distinguishing nickname or epithet
"ever since when the snake charmer had adopted his present cognomen" (437).

235.                   amphora (441) an ancient Greek jar or vase with a large oval body, narrow cylindrical neck, and two handles that rise almost to the level of the mouth; a two-handled vessel shaped like an amphora
"Glandular hyper-activity in a wicker amphora: eccrine and apocrine glands poured forth sweat and stin, as if I were trying to shed my fate through my pores . . ." (441).

236.                   rishi (451) Wise man/woman, ascetic. The constellation Ursa Major (Great Bear/Plough) is refered to as the Sapt Rishi (seven wise men) in Indian astronomy
"my aunt Sonia heard about a rishi from Hardwar who was reputedly three hundred and ninety five years old . . ." (451).

237.                   Benarsi (451)
"while Benarsi seers helped shape the history of India, I must digress . . ." (451).

238.                  Maslama (454)
"At every turn I'm thwarted; a prophet in the wilderness, like Maslama, like ibn Sinan!" (454).

239.                   Naxalite (459) Naxalite is an informal name given to revolutionary communist groups that were born out of the Sino-Soviet split in the Indian communist movement. The term comes from the Naxalbari, a small village in West Bengal, were a leftist section of CPI(M) led by Charu Majumdar and Kanu Sanyal led a militant peasant uprising in 1967, trying to develop a "revolutionary opposition" in order to establish "revolutionary rule" in India. Mazumdar greatly admired Mao Zedong of China
"Fire-eaters and sword-swallowers applauded the guerilla tactics of the Naxalite movement” (459).

240.                  fissiparous* (459) tending to break up into parts; divisive
"I had entered a milieu, in which while religious and regionalist bigotry were wholly absent, our ancient national gift for fissiparousness had found new outlets” (459).

241.                    Shakti*(467) the dynamic energy of a Hindu god personified as his female consort; broadly, cosmic energy as conceived in Hindu thought
"Maya in its dynamic aspect, is called Shakti; perhaps it is no accident that, in the Hindu pantheon, the active power of a diety is contained within his queen!" (467).

242.                   Devi (467) A mother goddess having various manifestations and roles, especially that of consort to Shiva
"Too-many-women: are they all aspects of Devi, the goddess—who is Shakti, who slew the buffalo-demon, who defeated the ogre Mahisha, who is Kali Durga . . ."

243.                   Mahisha (467) The buffalo-headed monster killed by Durga in her battle with the Asuras.
"Too-many-women: are they all aspects of Devi, the goddess—who is Shakti, who slew the buffalo-demon, who defeated the ogre Mahisha, who is Kali Durga . . ."

244.                   batman (469) an orderly of a British military officer
"He grew a luxurious moustache to which his personal batman applied a daily pomade of linseed-oil spiced with coriander . . ." (469).

245.                   pillion (472) a light saddle for women consisting chiefly of a cushion; a pad or cushion put on behind a man's saddle chiefly for a woman to ride on; chiefly British, a motorcycle or bicycle saddle for a passenger
"when Parvati, without demurring, took her place on the pillion of a hero's Honda" (472).

246.                   Kailasa (473) Kailasa (also called Kailash) is believed to be the home of Lord Shiva by Hindus, and is a pilgrimage site. It is located in the Himalayas in Tibet, and is about 6,700 m high. It lies near the sources of the Sutlej, Indus and Brahmaputra rivers.
"Parvati-the-witch turned those simple army quarters into a palace, a Kailasa fit for Shiva-the-god" (473).

247.                   wag (475) a person who chatters or gossips
"Certain wags in our audience had begun to heckle the Most Charming Man In The World" (475).

248.                  maundering (475) dialect British: grumble; to wander slowly and idly; to speak indistinctly or disconnectedly
"the maunderings of a fool" (475).

249.                   muhulla (478)
"Muslim business men from a nearby muhulla in which once a public announcement had been made . . ." (478).

250.                  valima (478)
"And at the valima, the consummation ceremony . . . the magicians surpassed their efforts of the wedding-night" (478).

251.                    vertiginous (489) characterized by or suffering from vertigo or dizziness; inclined to frequent and often pointless change; inconstant; causing or tending to cause dizziness <the vertiginous heights> ; marked by turning; rotary <the vertiginous motion of the earth>
"I, at my beginning, grew with vertinginous speed" (489).

252.                   juggernaut* (496) a massive inexorable force, campaign, movement, or object that crushes whatever is in its path <an advertising juggernaut> <a political juggernaut>
"and if there were a few deaths, if a girl with eyes like saucers and a pout of grief upon her lips fell beneath the advancing juggernauts, well, what of it" (496).

253.                   palliasse (499) a thin straw mattress used as a pallet
"I sat bar-fettered in a tiny room, on a straw palliasse which was the only article of funtiture I was permitted . . ." (499).

254.                   bonhomie* (501) good-natured easy friendliness
"Why whence how-on-earth this good nature, this bonhomie in your passed-on whisperings?" (501).

255.                   namaskar* (501) Namaste (na-ma-stay) an ancient Sanskrit greeting still in everyday use in India and especially on the trail in the Nepal Himalaya. Translated roughly, it means "I bow to the God within you," or "The Spirit within me salutes the Spirit in you," a knowing that we are all made from the same One Divine Consciousness. The more formal greeting Sanskrit Namascar pronounced NAH-mah-scar is also used in India, though less frequently in Nepal. The Hindi "Jai Bhagwan" is also in common use, and carries the same meaning.
"what kind of place is this for salaams, namaskars, how-you-beens?" (501).

256.                   scatological* (513) interest in or treatment of obscene matters especially in literature; the biologically oriented study of excrement (as for taxonomic purposes or for the determination of diet)
"Durga, however, flourished: her gossip grew more scatological . . ." (513).

257.                   hoyden (513) a girl or woman of saucy, boisterous, or carefree behavior
“The nostalgic echo of my grandparents was the only thing of interest to me in the personality of the hoydenish washerwoman" (513).

258.                  canoodle (522) Etymology: perhaps from English dialect canoodle, noun, donkey, fool, foolish lover: pet, fondle <lovers canoodling in the park>
"cocooned in the isolating, artificial night, they canoodled with impunity" (522).

259.                   Janannum (522)
"Hell is other people’s fantasies: every saga requires at least one descent into Jahannum . . ." (522).

260.                  susurration* (523) a whispering sound; murmur
"in the dark, I became aware of being surrounded by soft, amorous susurrations, like the couplings of velvet mice" (523).

261.                    contretemps* (523) an inopportune or embarrassing occurrence or situation
"all manner of new stories and beginnings, of exotic and forbidden loves, and little invisible contretemps and who-was-going-too far" (523).

262.                   thali (525) feast
"On the thali of victory: samosas, pakoras, rice, dal, puris, and green chutney" (525).

263.                   Abraxas (529) Abraxas is known in the Gnostic writings of Simon Magus, the father of Gnostics. It is said the name originated as a replacement for the unmentionable name of the Supreme Being. He was depicted with a lion's head surrounded by rays during Gnostic ceremonies. It is said that the Persian sun god also had this name. Basilides of Egypt, an early 2nd-century Gnostic teacher, viewed Abraxas as the supreme deity and the source of divine emanations, the ruler of all the 365 heavens, or circles of creation—one for each day of the year. The number 365 corresponds to the numerical value of the seven Greek letters that form the word abraxas.
" the number 365, the number of the days of the year, and of the heavens, and of the spirits emanating from the god Abraxas" (529).

264.                   Basilidan (529)
"Abacadabra: not an Indian word at all, a cabbalistic formula derived from the name of the supreme god of the Basilidan Gnostics, containing the number 365 . . ." (529).