South Indian spicy lentil fritters
Dhobi (English: washerman) is a caste group primarily belonging to India and Pakistan and are said to specialized in washing clothes.
Introduction to caste system
This is the first blatant introduction to caste system heirarchy within the novel. The policeman not only somewhat sexually harrasses the twins' Mother, but verbally insults her by calling her a veshya. Basically a veshya is a Ritual Prostitute, for more information on this concept go to the following webpage:
This quote exemplifies the symbolic nature of Estha's muteness, and it being the result of a decision - thus making it selective mutism. Selective mutism is a condition, prevalent in children, wherein a child capable of speech is unable to speak to given situations or people.
This "condition" is relevent not only to Estha, but features in several characters and situations as a catalyst for the plot of the novel.
Roy describes a very different Ayemenem than the one that contemporary tourism boards wish to describe. For her, however, I feel that the Ayemenem described in this extract is the one post-Sophie Mol's death and post the destruction of the lives that inhabited it. These remnants of scattered lives and the downward spiral on which they found themselves from the moment of Sophie Mol's death, are exemplified in the decay and absurd reminders of the once-idyllic setting of the Ayemenem house and river.
In this extract, Roy destinctly speaks to the death of Sophie Mol and its repercussions on Rahel and Estha - indeed, on everyone in the novel - outliving the very life that was lost. It replays the memories Rahel has of her, which are always distinct. As a young child at Sophie Mol's funeral, Rahel states that the funeral was what killed Sophie Mol. By the same token, it can be argued that it was the death of Sophie Mol that "killed" Estha and Rahel's life course and diverged them onto the paths they find themselves in the culmination of the novel.