My Lost World

On a return to his provincial hometown, Aravind Adiga discovers how wealth is uprooting tradition and transforming India's way of life

The man had been watching me from his balcony for several minutes. He was curious, perhaps even a little worried. Finally, he came to his door and shouted, "What do you want?" I smiled apologetically. "I'm looking for my home," I said. "I think you're living in it."

With a frown, he listened. My family, I explained, had built a home here in the neighborhood of Kodialguttu just before I left Mangalore in 1991. This was the first time I had come back, and I wanted to see that house again. I had been searching Kodialguttu for half an hour, but...

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