Serious MenBook - 2010
Ayyan Mani works in the Institute of Theory and Research as a lowly personal assistant to a brilliant, insufferable astronomer, Arvind Acharya, who is obsessed with his theory about microscopic aliens falling to earth. Mani is one of the thousands of men stranded in the slums of Mumbai, a seemingly insignificant cog in the Institute's machinery. But the opportunistic Mani is also an astute observer and sly eavesdropper, and he makes sure he knows everything that is going on in the Institute, listening in on private conversations, and opening, reading, and resealing confidential couriered letters.
Partly to entertain himself, partly to cheer up his once-animated but now work-worn wife, partly to bolster his ten-year-old son's confidence, Mani weaves an outrageous fiction around the boy -- a fiction that captures the interest of his superiors and threatens to set into motion an unstoppable and disastrous chain of events. Added to that is the arrival of the beautiful Dr. Oparna -- the first woman ever to work at the Institute -- and the ongoing "war of the Brahmins." And Mani, struggling to keep his own dreams alive, sees opportunity in everything.
Lively and full of unforgettable characters, Serious Men is a sparkling original debut novel about the mishaps and adventures of a man who will be remembered as one of the great anti-heroes of literature.