Novel / 22.07.2008

Chapter 5            The Idea of the Postmodern 5.1 The room—one of the many informal meeting areas in the offices of ZEC, a Palo Alto software company—was a long and narrow rectangle. Its new carpet gave the place a buoyant look. The wide windows let in washes of light. It was a setting that conveyed a sense of contrasting shades and proportions, of a binary interior that matched the binary computer-related work that was usually carried out in it. Four men were gathered at a large round table at one end. It was lunchtime on Tuesday the 29th of June, and three of the men had brought bread and tins of vegetables with them. Kamal viewed the room smugly. Ashok, Mohan, and Kiran were his products, engineers, like him, but ten years younger. He had spent the last year pouring various ideas into their ears. Ashok had in fact...

Novel / 20.07.2008

Chapter 4            A New Form of Life  4.1 Cambridge looked graceful in the late afternoon as sunlight streaked across the snow, creating bands of light and dark. Swathed in parkas, pedestrians on Massachusetts Avenue walked warily to avoid puddles. It wasn’t windy, but it was cold, a kind of bracing, clean cold that stung your ears, stretched your skin, and made your nose run. The whoosh of cars interrupted the stillness, leaving tracks in the slush. The two great universities of the world, MIT and Harvard, stood resplendent in the light, a mile apart, at either end of the street. It was said that at MIT you learned more and more about less and less until you knew everything about nothing. At Harvard, on the other hand, you learned less and less about more and more until you knew nothing about everything—the tragicomic, un-Faustian constraints on knowledge in...

Novel / 08.07.2008

Chapter 3      Inventing the Future 3.1 Although reeling from shock, Columbia’s Southern Asian Department acted fast. In two days the staff organized, with the help of Asha and Aditya, a memorial evening for Meghnad. They sent out many invitations to academics, students, friends, members of the Indian American community, journalists, and others. Harold stayed on in New York to attend the service. At the appointed hour, the auditorium was full. The energy in the room was at a high pitch. People were talking excitedly, some dressed casually in jeans and others more formally attired in suits. Meghnad had been a popular maverick. Two policemen sat sentinel in the last row, not quite comprehending the drama unfolding before them. There was a hush as Aditya walked onto the stage. A sophisticated man of fifty with a great whorl of a moustache and a dignified air, he wore a three-piece...

Novel / 25.06.2008

Chapter 2       An Interlocked World 2.1 Chaturvedi sipped his early morning tea. Bombay’s summer had begun early and he felt hot and sticky. His wife, sitting beside him, slapped him on the wrist for swallowing so loudly. A ceiling fan rotated its three blades and although the convection of air currents in the room cooled his tea, it did not assuage his discomfort. A fly was walking across the dining table. It inched towards the biscuits in the saucer, and Chaturvedi brushed it off with a sweep of his hand. A Sony television set stood in one corner of the room against two gray and white sofas and some Indian Art Deco chairs. The chairs were a gift from Chaturvedi’s father-in-law, an army officer. A couple of striped dhurries on the gray mosaic tile floor heightened the spareness of the white walls of the drawing...

Novel / 14.06.2008

Chapter 1       An Architecture for India   1.1 “It was 1834, a year of great excitement and promise for Indian antiquaries. James Prinsep had just deciphered the Brahmi script and this would transform every aspect of the study of ancient India. In less than a decade, Prinsep arranged the unnamed and unidentified members of Indian dynasties so that they stood out as well-defined individuals in an organized structure. Indian history had finally acquired an order.” Professor Harold Stone paused. He craned his head up slowly, shifting his weight, and glanced at his audience. The mike glinted in the dark, reflecting the light from his slides. From behind a lectern on the stage of Asia Society’s auditorium in New York,  Harold could see a few faces in the front rows, and the rest faded gradually into obscurity. His voice was the only sign of movement in the stillness. It was...

Novel / 14.06.2008

Epigraph   On THE ROAD HOME Wallace Stevens   It was when I said, “There is no such thing as the truth,” That the grapes seemed fatter. The fox ran out of his hole.   You … You said, “There are many truths, But they are not parts of a truth.” Then the tree, at night, began to change,   Smoking through green and smoking blue. We were two figures in a wood. We said we stood alone.   It was when I said, “Words are not forms of a single word. In the sum of the parts, there are only the parts. The world must be measured by eye;”   It was when you said, “The idols have seen lots of poverty, Snakes and gold and lice, But not the truth;”   It was at that time, that the silence was the largest And longest, the night was roundest, The fragrance of the autumn warmest, Closest and strongest.    Forward to Section 1.1                       Back to Main...