Sometimes, a novel is like a train: the first chapter is a comfortable seat in an attractive carriage, and the narrative speeds up. But there are other sorts of trains, and other sorts of novels. They rush by in the dark; passengers framed in the lighted windows are smiling and enjoying themselves.
In the late 1960s, Ontario Airport was a throwback to a bygone era. Located 35 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, the airport served only two carriers, Western and Bonanza. Passengers could catch regional flights to San Francisco, Sacramento, Las Vegas, Palm Springs, Phoenix and Los Angeles, and that was about it.
India allows you the luxury of a million inequalities. You can be a schoolboy selling tea to passengers sitting in a state transport bus, but you are royalty when compared to a shirtless, barefoot village boy, from what was traditionally considered an untouchable caste, living on snails and small fish - and sometimes rats.