know more about the future plans of his son Mali, an arts student aged twenty. He has asked his cousin, ateacher in Mali's college, to investigate.
The cousin came back four days later and said, "New things are coming your way; your son wants to go to America. Didn't I hint to you long ago that it wascoming?"
The first shock of the impact blanked out Jagan's mind for a time, and he caught his breath as he had a momentary panic at the thought of his son removing himself geographically so far. Heinanely repeated, "America ! Why America ? What has happened to his book? Has he written it?
Hasn't he written it?"
"He thinks he will have to learn the art in America."
Jagan was furious at thisnotion; it was outrageous and hurt his national pride.
"Going there to learn story-telling ! He should rather go to a village granny," he said, all his
patriotic sentiments surging.
"Exactly what I toldhim," echoed the cousin.
"Did Valmiki go to America or Germany in order to learn to write his Ramayana?" asked Jagan
with pugnacity. "Strange notions these boys get nowadays!" he said, avoidinggently any specific
reference to his son. [...]
"What has happened to his book?" he asked desperately.
"He will write it in America," said the cousin.
Jagan felt completely crushed; adverse forcesseemed to hem him on all sides. "What has
America to do with writing his book?"
"He has read in one of the magazines at the library about a college where they teach novelwriting."
"WhyAmerica?" asked Jagan. [...]
"Because, perhaps, it's the only country where they teach such things."
"They eat only beef and pork in that country. I used to know a man from America and he told
me...""They also drink a lot of intoxicating drinks, never water or milk," said the cousin, contributing his
own bit of information. "And the women are free," he added. "I have seen some of their magazines...