This is a coming-of-age story and involves real African history. Dayal Singh is brilliant, quirky, and has Asperger’s. Son of parents trafficked to East Africa from India just before independence, he knows he’s Sikh, African, and calculus is the evidence of God.
He becomes fascinated by a broken piano. and is offered a piano to buy, buys it and learns to play. Mentored by his older brothers, he follows them to Singapore to further his education, he then goes to Switzerland.
He falls in love with the granddaughter of the man who bought his father. She tells him that the situation is impossible, and that he must stay in school as long as his way is paid.
His youth is fraught, being an other. In Switzerland, he is constantly proselytized to, which only defines for him how he wants to live. He’s studying physics and engineering, but finds peace in playing the piano. He meets other students, they jam, and suddenly they are rock stars …which Dayal never imagined could happen.
He agrees to meet Sita, the daughter of a Sikh man his father met, and Dayal thinks they are both in agreement about how they will live and raise children, but things gradually go downhill. When Dayal learns Sita hasn’t been truthful with him, he has to make a decision. There is sexual and religious content.
I am a child of the ’60s. I started training dogs when I was about 10, and grooming them when I was about 14. Dog grooming is really a luxury service, and subject to economic impacts and the weather. I come from a family of visual artists, and started modeling for artists when I was in my late 20’s.
A trip to Africa in 1985 changed my life, and I decided to go to college. I got 2 years of college credit from CLEP exams and paid cash for the rest . . . but grooming dogs & modeling.
My undergraduate major was Africa area studies. In grad school, I did urban planning in Malawi. That was my assignment in Peace Corps. When I returned, there were no jobs. I worked for a couple of nonprofits and returned to grooming and training dogs.
I am a purebred dog fancier. I believe in planned breeding, and integrity is very important to me. This is why I wrote my first book. I am semi-retired and working on several others.
I live on the north side of Chicago with an oblivious male roommate (same for over 20 years) and 3 Whippets.