“Gogol remembers having to do the same thing when he was younger, when his grandparents died. He remembers, back then, being bored by it, annoyed at having to observe a ritual no one else he knew followed, in honor of people he had seen only a few times in his life. Now, sitting together at the kitchen table at six-thirty every evening, his father's chair empty, this meatless meal is the only thing that seems to make sense.”

Shortly after Ashoke dies of a heart attack, Gogol and his family find themselves having a ceremonial meal that is customary after the passing of a loved one. This quote, in which Gogol remembers other moments in his life where he and his family performed this same ceremony, establishes a pattern. Out of the unexpected comes something reliable. This quote conveys the comfort inherent in this particular tradition—how moments of sudden change in one’s life can be tempered by the familiar.

“How many times does a person write his name in a lifetime—a million? Two million?”

In Chapter 5, shortly after Gogol changes his name to Nikhil, he ponders the commonness associated with one’s name. All his life, Gogol has written his name a certain way. Now, however, Gogol finds himself starting over. An action that has always been dependably the same is now new and different. In time, it will revert to its former mundanity, but for now it is novel. This moment exemplifies the cycle of stability in change. Change disrupts stability, only for stability to eventually return.

“They were things for which it was impossible to prepare but which one spent a lifetime looking back at, trying to accept, interpret, comprehend. Things that should never have happened, that seemed out of place and wrong, these were what prevailed, what endured, in the end.”

This quote from Chapter 12, near the end of the novel, shows Gogol looking back on the experiences of his family. For the Gangulis, change is strangely stable. The family is familiar with what it means to have one’s life uprooted by sudden, life-altering events. Gogol and his family are dependent on their ability to cope and overcome whatever change appears in their life. Without their ability to cope, these moments of change could be too disastrous. This quote showcases the importance that stability or dependency has not only for change to exist but also for it to be surpassed.