This is a story of the end of the Sri Lankan civil war. Thousands upon thousands have been forced to evacuate their homes and are now living in refugee camps, caught in the crossfire between Government troops and the rebels. These are the circumstances in which Dinesh, an orphan, and Ganga, recently bereaved of her mother, meet. Their marriage is arranged. Now read on.
Most children have two whole legs and two whole arms but this little six year old that Dinesh was carrying had already lost one leg, the right one from the lower thigh down, and was now about to lose his right arm. Shrapnel had dissolved his hand and forearm into a soft, formless mass, spilling to the ground in some parts, congealing in others, and charred everywhere else. Three of the fingers had been fully detached, where they were now it was impossible to tell, and the two remaining still, the index finger and the thumb, were dangling from the hand by very slender threads.