They visited him in saris, clumping gracelessly through red mud and long grass ... and introduced themselves as Mrs. Pillai, Mrs. Eapen and Mrs. Rajagopalan. Velutha introduced himself and his paralyzed brother Kuttappen (although he was fast asleep). He greeted them with the utmost courtesy. He addressed them all as Kochamma [an honorific title for a woman] and gave them fresh coconut water to drink. He chatted to them about the weather. The river. The fact that in his opinion coconut trees were getting shorter by the year. As were the ladies in Ayemenem. He introduced them to his surly hen. He showed them his carpentry tools, and whittled them each a little wooden spoon.It is only now, these years later, that Rahel with adult hindsight recognized the sweetness of that gesture. A grown man entertaining three raccoons, treating them like real ladies. Instinctively colluding in the conspiracy of their fiction, taking care not to decimate it with adult carelessness. Or affection. [emphasis mine]It is after all so easy to shatter a story. To break a chain of thought. To ruin a fragment of a dream being carried around carefully like a piece of porcelain.To let it be, to travel with it, as Velutha did, is much the harder thing to do.
To call someone 'anti-American', indeed, to be anti-American, (or for that matter anti-Indian, or anti-Timbuktuan) is not just racist, it's a failure of the imagination. An inability to see the world in terms other than those that the establishment has set out for you: If you're not a Bushie you're a Taliban. If you don't love us, you hate us. If you're not Good you're Evil. If you're not with us, you're with the terrorists.