Within the Chaos

When Amitav Ghosh clambers into a tiny relief plane in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, just six days after the 2004 tsunami devastated the area, he finds himself next to a loud, officious-seeming, irascible man in a safari suit, his hair carefully oiled. The visiting writer tries to sidle away, but soon his obstreperous neighbor is sharing his complaints with him. Only as they continue talking does Ghosh begin to realize that the man is, in fact, an epidemiologist, and has lost his wife, his daughter, the whole careful life he has built up, in the tragedy. The loudness, Ghosh comes...

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