Hanging onto Karthik from the backseat of his motorcycle, I feel the rhythm of the landscape beneath me. The clay paths are bumpy and unforgiving, threatening to push me over the side. My right arm is fastened onto his tough shoulders while my left hand holds a wooden cricket bat in my lap.

We weave through traffic, moving from the urban sprawl of downtown Coimbatore and out into a small plantation township. Palm trees rise majestically into the sky. The air carries those scents that define the tropics: hot humidity mixing the sweetness of bananas and other harvest with putrid human sweat. Wild dogs…