In his 2003 novel set in Bombay, Roberts offers his readers this description of his main character’s early obersations about the city. It is not unlike our own first day in Delhi a decade and a half later.

”The contrast between the familiar and the exceptional was everywhere around me. A bullock cart was drawn up beside a modern sports car at a traffic signal. A man squated to relieve himself behind the discreet shelter of a satellite dish. An electric forklift truck was being used to unload goods from an ancient wooden cart with wooden wheels. The impression was of a plodding, indefatigable, and distant past that had crashed intact, through the barriers of time, into its own future. I liked it.” P. 11.