Jeevan Sharma, an Indian immigrant in the US and a former taxi driver, manages his Pakistani landlord Shabbir Ahmad’s accounts in return for rent-free accommodation. The quiet rhythm of his days in Baltimore is punctuated only by interactions with his neighbors on 26th Street: Miss Lucy, an old black lady who makes him pancakes; a World War II veteran, Henry, and his dog Oscar; and Matthew and Kay, a married couple in their late twenties, who are negotiating a difficult relationship. Then two things happen to throw his life into disarray: the sudden arrival of Sunita, a young woman who has walked away from a cheating husband, and the decision by the City of Baltimore to demolish the block that they live in. Will Jeevan be able to protect his old and infirm friends from the power of the City and Shabbir’s greed? Can his settled solitude withstand the possibility of happiness with someone else?
This Place is a novel about a group of people for whom neighborhood means more than simply living next to each other. It is a book about accepting and fighting against impermanence. It is also a book about South Asians in America at the end of the twentieth century.
About the Author
Amitabha Bagchi was born in Delhi and went to school there. The last few years of school was a blur of exams – Junior Science Talent Search, National Talent Search, Annual Maths and Physics Olympiads – and coaching classes to prepare for those exams. He finally found himself at IIT Delhi in the summer of 1992 thinking that the worst was over. It wasn’t. Belying the expectations raised by his uninspriring performance at IIT, Amitabha got his PhD in Computer Science in 2002. Then, after loitering around for a couple of years with the nebulous designation of post-doc, he returned to IIT Delhi where he is currently employed as an assistant professor.