The Reluctant Fundamentalist Quotes



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The Reluctant Fundamentalist Quotes
More than looking, in fact you seemed to be on a mission…p. 1
True, your hair, short-cropped, and your expansive chest – the chest I would say, of a man who bench-presses regularly…are typical of a certain type of American. P. 2
This is a dream come true. Princeton inspired in me the feeling that my life was a film in which I was the start and everything was possible. P. 3
Students like me were given visas and scholarships, complete financial aid…and invited in the ranks of the meritocracy. In return, we were expected to contribute our talents to your society…p.4
I knew in my senior year that I was something special…I was confident of getting any job I wanted. P. 5
So I get where you’re coming from, Changez. You’re hungry, and that’s a good thing in my book. P. 10
But status, as in any traditional, class conscious society, declines more slowly than wealth…We continue to be invited to the…parties of the city’s elite. P. 11
There was a mental state I used to attain when I was playing soccer: my self would disapper, and I would be free, free of doubts and limits, free to focus on nothing but the game. P. 14
Underwood Samson had the potential to transform my life as surely as it had transformed his, making my concerns about money and status things of the distant past. P. 16
I could not prevent myself from offering to carry her backpack – so stunningly regal was she. Her hair was piled up like a tiara on her head…
You give off this strong sense of home. P. 22
I will admit there were details which annoyed me. The easy with which they parted with money, for example…Or their self-righteousness in dealing with those whom they had paid for a service. P. 23
Documenting her effect on her habitat, a naturalist would likely have compared her to a lioness: strong, sleek, and invariably surrounded by her pride. P. 25
Yet one got the sense that she existed internally at a degree of remove from those around her…some part of her…was out of reach, lost in thoughts unsaid. P. 25
He was a good-looking boy with what she described as an Old World appeal. P. 31
“So I kind of miss home, too,” she said. “Except my home was a guy with long, skinny fingers.” P. 32
When my turn came, I said I hoped one day to be the dictator of an Islamic Republic with nuclear capability; the others appeared shocked, and I was forced to explain that I had been joking. P. 33
You glance…brings to mind the behaviour of an animal that has ventured too far from its lair and is now, in unfamiliar surroundings, uncertain whether it is predator or prey! P. 35
Nothing prepared me for the drama, the power of their view from the lobby. This, I realized, was another world from Pakistan; supporting my feet were the achievements of the most technologically advanced civilization our species had ever known. P. 38
Often, during my stay in your country, such comparisons troubled me. In fact, they did more than trouble me: they made me resentful. Four thousand years ago, we, the peole of the Indus River basin, had cities…while the ancestors of those who would invade and colonize America were illiterate barbarians. Now our cities were largely unplanned…And America had universities with individual endowments greater than our national budget for education. P. 38
You are here, after all, on business. P. 42
No? Very wise; one ought not to encourage beggars, and yes, you are right, it is far better to donate to charities that address the causes of poverty rather than to him, a creature who is merely its sympton. What am I doing? I am handing him a few rupees – misguidedly, of course…p. 45
“You’re a watchful guy. You know where that comes from?...It comes from feeling out of place…Believe me. I know” 48
My world would be transformed, just as this market around us has been. P 51
I detect a certain seriousness in your expression, as though you are wondering what sort of training camp could have given a fellow from the plains such as myself a cause to engage in these activities! p. 53
I had a peculiar feeling; I felt at home. P. 57
I’m more unsettled than nervous…It’s like I’m an oyster. I’ve had this sharp speck inside me for a long time, and I’ve been trying to make it more comfortable, so slowly I’ve turned it into a pearl. But now it’s finally being taken out, and just as it’s going I’m realizing there’s a gap being left behind…and so I kind of want to hold onto it a little longer. P. 59

I perceived that there was something broken behind them, like a tiny crack in a diamond that becomes visible only when viewed through a magnifying lens…p. 59


It depicted under stormy skies a tropical island with a runway and a steep volcano; nestled in the caldera of the volcano was a lake with another, smaller island in it – an island on an island – wonderfully sheltered and calm. P. 60
I like Pakistanis. But the elite has raped the place well and good, right?...You guys have got a serious problem with fundamentalism. P. 63
His tone – with…its typically American undercurrent of condescension – struck a negative chord with me… P. 63
You’re touchy about where you come from. P. 64
I watched as she attracted people to her…I was reminded of our trip to Greece, of the gravity she had exerted on our group. P. 65
She reminded me of child who could only sleep with the door open and the light on. P. 66
For a while I stopped talking to people. I stopped eating. I had to go to the hospital…My mom had to take three months off work because I couldn’t be by myself. P. 68
I glimpsed again…the crack inside her. P. 68
…like butterflies and fireflies, they belonged to a dreamier world incompatible with the pollution and congestion of a modern metropolis. 71
I am increasingly curious as to the nature of your business…p. 73
I did something in Manila I had never done before: I attempted to act and speak, as much as my dignity would permit, more like an American. P. 75
We were mired in traffic, unable to move, and I glanced out the window to see, only a few feet away, the driver of a jeepney returning my gaze. There was an undisguised hostility in his expression…p. 76
I looked at him – at his fair hair…his oblivious immersion in…our work…and thought, you are so foreign. I felt at that moment much closer to the Filipino driver than to him. P. 77
I never let on that I felt like I didn’t belong in this world. Just like you. P. 80
But I did grow up up with a poor boy’s sense of longing, in my case for not for what my family had never had, but for what we had had and lost. P. 81
In this Jim and I were indeed similar: he had grown up outside the candy store, and I had grown up on its threshold as its door was being shut. P. 81
And then I smiled. Yes, despicable as it may sound, my initial reaction was to be remarkable pleased. P. 83
I was caught up in the symbolism of it all, that fact that someone had so visibly brought America to its knees. P. 83
I flew to New York uncomfortable in my own face: I was aware of being under suspicion; I felt guilty…p. 85
If you are not ready to reveal your purpose in traveling here – your demeanour all but precludes the possibility that your are a tourist wandering aimlessly through this part of the world…p. 88
Your flag invaded New York after the attacks; it was everywhere…p. 90
They all seemed to proclaim: We are America…the mightiest civilization…p. 90
I didn’t want to be alone. The attacks churned up old thoughts in my head. P. 91
I feel haunted…p. 92
I love it when you talk about where you come from…you become so alive. P. 93
The destruction of the World Trade Centre had..churned up old thoughts that had settled in the manner of sediment to the bottom of a pond; now the waters of her mind were murky with what had previously been ignored. P. 94
Looking back now, I see there was a certain symmetry to the situation: I felt I was entering in New York the very same social class that my family was fallout out of in Lahore. P. 97
Her eyes were turned inward , and remarks made by her companions would register only indirectly on her face. P. 98
She was struggling with a current that pulled her within herself…p. 98
She did not respond; she did not resist; she merely acceded as I undressed her. P. 102
I would realize what seemed familiar was the emotion with which she spoke, an emotion similar to that which she evoked in me. I attempted to separate myself from the situation, to listen to her as though I were not both aching for her and hurt that – seemingly despite herself – her body had rejected me. P. 103
But tonight, as I think we both understand, is a night of some importance. P. 105

Certainly I wanted to believe; at least I wanted not to disbelieve with such an intensity that I prevented myself as much as was possible from making the obvious connection between the crumbling of the world around me and the impending destruction of my personal American dream…p. 106


And that’s where you are. You’re blood brought from some part of the body that the species doesn’t need anymore. The tailbone. Like me. We come from places that were wasting away. P. 110
They try to resist change. Power comes from becoming change. P. 110
I was reminded of the film Terminator, but with the roles reversed so that the machines were cast as heroes. P. 113
Afghanistan was Pakistan’s neighbour, our friend, and a fellow Muslim nation besides, and the sight of what I took to be the beginning of its invasion by your countrymen caused me to tremble with fury. P. 114
For we were not always burdened by debt, dependent on foreign aid and handouts; in the stories we tell of ourselves we were not the crazed and destructive radicals…but rather saints and poets…conquering kings. P. 116
But once more I am raising my voice and making you rather uncomfortable…p. 116
Then pretend…pretend I am him. P. 119
It was as though we were under a spell, transported to a world where I was Chris and she was with Chris…p. 120
I felt at once both satiated and ashamed. P. 121
I used to turn to it, my writing, when I needed to get something out that was stuck inside. But I can’t get it out now. P. 127
I think I knew even then that she was disappearing into a powerful nostalgia, one from which only she could choose whether or not to return. P. 129
It seemed to me that America, too, was increasingly giving itself over to a dangerous nostalgia at that time. P. 131
I had always thought of America as a nation that looked forward; for the first time I was struck be its determination to look back. P. 131
It occurs to me that you have been contacted with the precision of an old church bell tower…p. 131
Yet even at Underwood Samson I could not entirely escape the growing importance of tribe. P. 133
Surely it is the gist that matters…it is the thrust of one’s narrative that counts, not the accuracy of one’s details. P. 135
I was saddened to find it in such a state…This was where I had come from, this was my provenance, and it smacked of lowliness. P. 141
I had changed; I was looking about me with the eyes of a foreigner…that particular type of entitled and unsympathetic American who so annoyed me…p. 141
There was unanimity in the belief that India would do all it could to harm us, and that despite the assistance we had given America in Afghanistan, America would not fight on our side. P. 144
I felt powerless; I was angry at our weakness…p. 145
I would soon be gone, leaving my family and my home behind, and this made me a kind of coward in my own eyes…p. 145
I was filled with contempt for myself…p. 146
Then you have been in the service…just as I expected. P. 147
I had not shaved my two week old beard. It was, perhaps, a form of protest on my part, a symbol of my identity. P. 148
Inside me, for multiple reasons, I was angry. P. 148
It was difficult for Erica to be out in the world…when in her mind she was experiencing things that were stronger and more meaningful than the things she could experience with the rest of us. P. 151.
I had to choose whether to continue to try to win her over or to accept her wishes and leave…Maybe…it was a test and I failed…p. 155
A bulge manifests itself…precisely at the point…undercover security agents…tend to favour wearing an armpit holster…p. 158
America was maintaining a strict neutrality between the two potential combatants, a position that favoured…the larger… p. 163
I was reminded of Lahore and of that saying, so evocative in our language: the ruins proclaim that building was beautiful. P. 163
Juan Bautista added considerable momentum to my inflective journey, a journey that continues until this day. P. 166
I lacked a stable core. I was not certain where I belonged. P. 168
I was a modern day janissary, a servant of the American empire at a time when it was invading a country with a kinship to mine…p. 173

I had always resented the manner in which America conducted itself in the world…p. 177



It was right for me to refuse to participate any longer in facilitating this project of domination; the only surprise was that I had required so much time to arrive at my decision. P. 177
September has always seemed to me a month of beginnings, a spring of sorts…p. 187
And she was…following it to its conclusion, passing through places I could not reach. P. 189
As a society you were unwilling to reflect upon the shared pain that united you with those who attacked you. P. 190
I would rise at dawn without having slept an instant. During the preceding hours, Erica and I would have lived an entire day together. P. 195
Such journeys have convinved me that it is not always possible to restore one’s boundaries after they have blurred and made permeable by a relationship…p. 197


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