Short stories set in a fictional South Indian city following the lives of ordinary people. Heat, poverty and the caste system are the setting for tales of the struggle to survive, get out of the routine of even escape to a better life. A tourist might be able to navigate the sights and streets of the city using the interspersed guidebook excerpts but would never realise the undercurrents swirling around.
'I'm never going to leave the advocate's house, am I, Lord Krishna?'
The next morning the old woman was standing over the gas burner in the kitchen, stirring a lentil stew. As she worked, she sucked in air with a hiss, as if her tongue were on fire.
'For forty years I've lived among good Brahmins, Lord Krishna: homes in which even the lizards and toads had been Brahmins in a previous birth. Now you see my fate, stuck among Christians and meat-eaters in this strange town, and each time I think I'm leaving, my sister-in-law tells me to stay on some more ....'