In Tishani Doshi's New Book, A Woman Feels More Alive When She Returns To India

Small Days and Nights
Book Excerpt 

Return is never the experience you hope for. After all those lost years in America I wanted to walk into the streets and know them, but there is a new tightness to the city, an exuberance that is difficult to understand.

Madras. August 2010. A swell of bodies. At arrivals there’s a crush of families and hotel chauffeurs, bouquets wrapped in plastic and welcome boards. It’s past one in the morning. What kind of parents are these who bring their bawling children out so late into the night?

The air attacks you at the threshold. Heavy, sweaty air, which smells of something that was once sweet, now rotting. Damp in the armpits and crotch. Jeans sticking to thighs.

Taxi drivers and porters are jostling about trying to cadge a passenger. Taxi, madam, taxi? Prepaid customers roll their luggage primly towards Fast Track and Akbar Cars without making eye contact. Madrasis . . .