Does it matter how much money you have if the air in your country is killing you?
How does it benefit India if farmers are compelled to sell their land to builders, and citizens struggle with rising prices and food shortages?
Is a liberalised India liberal enough to accept the dreams of its young women and homosexuals?
In his first book, India Becoming, writer Akash Kapur explores the lives of an eclectic cast of people who are caught in a society in dramatic transition after India opened up its economy in the 1990s.
Kapur strings together a series of conversations, spread over five years, with a group of people as diverse as a nostalgic landlord, a closeted homosexual, an atheist cow-broker and a young, working woman who finds repression and prudery can catch up with you, even in the big city.
In an exclusive interview to Sify.com, Kapur speaks about his fears for the new India, the disappearance of farmland, his hometown Auroville and his favourite India books.
The title of your book, India Becoming is based on Einstein's comment that Americans are always becoming, never being. Does it upset you that people in India are now 'becoming', not being?
No… It doesn't upset me at all. I think it's wonderful. Being implies an unmoving situation. One of the exciting things about India is that there is this forward movement, and people are reinventing themselves. It's a very exciting time to be in India.
Image: Akash Kapur, the former Letter from India columnist for The International Herald Tribune and the online edition of The New York Times, has written for The Atlantic, The Economist, Granta, The New Yorker and The New York Times.
Image courtesy: Akash Kapur