He hadn’t told his son he was adopted, nor that his son had a twin sister who hadn’t been handed over with him when they travelled from Melbourne to India all that time ago to pick up both infants. Part of his silence was the guilt of being on the end of what was then undoubtedly a child-racketeering scam.
Charged by his estranged wife to go back to India to find out more about the recent brutal murder of their son – and, consequentially, what had happened to the infant girl child, Smith found himself having to fight his way through the bland face of locals’ attitudes to death, religious extreme rituals and behaviour, and especially towards female infanticide.
In order to get relatable explanations, he has to confront the fiercest of Tantric rites through the most grotesque, whack-job so-called wise man, Nandi Baba, through police dismissal, through the ignominy of caste prejudice, and through the motiveless violence of local crime.
Smith was never going to succeed in learning much. But, for all the little grace he has left in him, he does find his Little She.
And to explain it all to his wife, he could only illuminate it all through himself as third-party – and only a sort of son et lumiere projection could illuminate what is going in even his own mind.
But whether he succeeds or not, nothing can stop their damnable karmic wheel from a’turning, a’turning.
Bill Reed is a novelist, playwright and short-story writer. He has worked as editor and journalist both in Australia and overseas, and has won national competitions for drama and for long and short fiction. He now divides his time between his native Australia and his wife’s Sri Lanka.