Background recommended reading: French Connection and Bourbons Of Bhopal
The angel’s destination was a city on the Malwa Plateau called Bhopal.
Bhopal—built atop volcanic rock, its own ancient palace crumbling upon itself, streets clogged with cows and goats and sari-clouds of color, birds circling at dusk in the pinkish-orange gloaming like the slow movement of a dark scythe. Looming over the lower city was a giant mosque, Taj-ul-Masajid, its pale white domes hovering in the shimmery heat like an extraterrestrial incursion, its minarets reaching to heaven, its tiny rooms full of boys memorizing the Koran, their voices murmuring across the hot stones of the vast inner courtyard. And there was one other notable landmark, a death memorial really, the abandoned chemical plant—that of Union Carbide—on the north edge of town that on a particular December day twenty-two years earlier oozed methyl isocyanate, a toxic plague that ultimately caused 22,000 deaths.