I came to Banaras in the winter of 2010 seeking answer to one question: was the sari—the nine-yard piece of cloth worn by Indian women—Hindu or Muslim? This might sound like an odd question, but in the context of India it isn’t, where even allegedly eating beef can get a person beaten to death, or while killing a cow in the state of Gujarat earns life imprisonment.
There is a lot to talk about when I call my father in India from Cuba. The calls are expensive, but the connection is crystalline. Nonetheless, it is hard to stay focused when my consciousness ping-pongs between a Malayali courtyard and the passage way of a Havana apartment building.
The Summer Reading issue … Heads out to India, the American West, the wilds of Minnesota, and the wilderness of a librarian’s heart in its fiction pages … While Megan Dreisbach reports on an autopsy, Christine Murphy on jury duty in New Orleans, Herbert Gold on his youthful misadventures, Frank Meola on Thoreau in New York … and Aisha Sloan on her hardworking father creating his dream house out of a unheated shell of rotting timber and leaking pipes … And poetry is provided by Evan Glasson, Eric Lee, Donald Platt, Chad Davidson, and Lilah Hegnauer.