Oh, that deadly afternoon in that obscure corner of Ayodhya! When they destroyed a concrete structure, and with it broke our hearts. When M Farid boards a train (sleeper class) bound for Ayodhya in December 1992, he little knows what a hellish journey lies ahead of him. A Muslim, he finds himself in a compartment full of jingoistic Hindus, off to attend a rally that ends in the destruction of the Babri Masjid, a cherished religious site. Farid escapes to his student days in his dreams, and recalls his quirky relationship with the handsome Hindu studmuffin, Rajnish Dixit. Slyly, he uses Dixit's name to disguise his 'Mussulman' nature from his co-passengers - just as Dixit had once called himself 'Farid' in order to seduce an appealing Muslim lady, Mrs Lubna Khan. The train, with its teeming, sloganeering passengers, its hidden divisions and fatal accident, is a microcosm of India; and Rajnish's liaison with Farid, however close, echoes the uneasy coexistence of the majority of Hindus with their Muslim brothers. The author's thoughtful but humorous observations on communal aims, family life and the constraints of tradition are expressed in the delicate prose of the subcontinent. His novel palpitates with raw life, and some scenes are not for the squeamish. But entertain you he most certainly will.