Jagan is a sixty-year-old shopkeeper in a small town in southern India. He would like to knowmore about the future plans of his son Mali, an arts student asked his cousin, a teacher in Mali's college, to investigate.
The cousin came back four days later and said, "New things are coming yourway; your son 5 wants to go to America. Didn't I hint to you long ago that it was coming?" The first shock of the impact blanked out Jagan's mind for a time, and he caught his breath as he had amomentary panic at the thought of his son removing himself geographically so far. He inanely2 repeated, "America ! Why America ? What has happened to his book? Has he written it? Hasn't he written it?" 10"He thinks he will have to learn the art in America." Jagan was furious at this notion; it was outrageous and hurt his national pride. "Going there to learn story-telling ! He should rather go to avillage granny," he said, all his patriotic sentiments surging. "Exactly what I told him," echoed the cousin. 15 "Did Valmiki go to America or Germany in order to learn to write his Ramayana3?" askedJagan with pugnacity. "Strange notions these boys get nowadays!" he said, avoiding gently any specific reference to his son. [...] "What has happened to his book?" he asked desperately. "He willwrite it in America," said the cousin. 20 Jagan felt completely crushed; adverse forces seemed to hem him on all sides. "What has America to do with writing his book?" "He has read in one of themagazines at the library about a college where they teach novelwriting." [...] "Why America?" asked Jagan. [...] 25 "Because, perhaps, it's the only country where they teach such things." "They eat only beefand pork in that country. I used to know a man from America and he told me..."
aged twenty. He has
"They also drink a lot of intoxicating drinks, never water or milk," said the cousin,...