"Still, to say that it all began when Sophie Mol came to Ayemenem is only one way of looking at it. Equally, it could be argued that it actually began thousands of years ago. Long before the Marxists came. Before the British took Malabar, before the Dutch Ascendancy, before Vasco da Gama arrived, before the Zamorin's conquest of Calicut. Before three purple-robed Syrian bishops murdered by the Portuguese were found floating in the sea, with coiled sea serpents riding on their chests and oysters knotted in their tangled beards. It could be argued that it began long before Christianity arrived in a boat and seeped into Kerala like tea from a teabag. That it really began in the days when the Love Laws were made. The laws that lay down who should be loved, and how. And how much."

When I first read this section I was slightly alarmed by the massive amount of detailed historical references  - how was I to make sense of something that extensively references events I am not even remotely familiar with? What is important to know here is that the specifics of the occurrences mentioned are not what is of significant - rather it is the emphasis of the fact that all of these obscure events have culminated into what is conveyed as the present in the story, as the present, which is key here. Were the trials and tribulations of the Ipe family pre-decided thousands of years ago when these now rather obscure decisions were made? Is fate or a 'bigger plan' to blame for their misfortune, or is it just Sophie mol? These are the questions that Roy wants to instill in you from this passage.