The story centres on an Indian family in Malaysia, and how the unnamed crimes of a servant girl damage the household. Larger context is provided by the political turmoil in that country.
I don't know what I was thinking," Amma says at the breakfast table, with a child's sweep of flat palm against wet cheek. "After everyone warned me how difficult it is to find trustworthy servants these days."
"I told you you should've gotten rid of the bloody girl after that first incident itself," Appa replies. "After that mess with my great hero of a brother."
"Don't you think we should inform the police?" Amma says once more. "This type of madwoman will just turn around and do the same thing to someone else if we let her go free."
But Appa's bravado has abated, never to be recovered on this particular subject. The longer his apoplectic rage echoes between the ears (all night it has raged, as he lay, eyes closed, on his pillow, and this morning it continues to rage), the more certain his impression that he has somehow