Page 256. " ‘We had done Cyrano in a simplified version’ "

Cyrano de Bergerac is a play by Edmund Rostande, written in 1897 entirely in rhyming couplets. The plot centres around Hercule Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac, a cadet (nobleman serving as a soldier) in the French Army who has an extremely large nose, Despite being extremely talented and a good soldier his nose is a target for his own self-doubt preventing him from expressing his love the beautiful Roxanne, as he believes his ugliness forbids him to "dream of being loved by even an ugly woman."

Cyrano Film clip >>

Page 269. " ‘One fleeting instant in the age of Darkness, Kali Yuga’ "

According to the Hindu religion Kali Yuga is the last of the four stages that the world goes through as part of the cycle of yugas described in the Indian scriptures. The other ages are Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga and Dvapara Yuga. According to the Surya Siddhanta, an astronomical basis of all Hindu calendars, Kali Yuga began at midnight on 23 January 3102 BC. The Kali Yuga is traditionally thought to last 432,000 years.

Kali Yuga is often referred to as the Dark Age because in it people are believed to be as far removed from God as possible.

Kali Yuga is associated with the apocalyptic demon Kali. The "Kali" of Kali Yuga means "strife, discord, quarrel, or contention."

This traditional Hindu proverb tells of the end of Yuga, "When flowers will be begot within flowers, and fruits within fruits, then will the Yuga come to an end and the clouds will pour rain unseasonably when the end of the Yuga approaches."

Page 270. " Padma! The Lotus Goddess’ "

Padma is the name of the lotus flower, an aquatic plant that is an ancient symbol associated with almost all Indian cultures and religions. Often used as an example of divine beauty and purity, its unfolding petals are said to suggest the expansion of the soul. The growth of its pure beauty from the mud of its origin also holds a spiritual promise. In the Hindu religion it is particularly associated with the god Brahma and goddess Lakshmi and is mentioned in the Hindu text Bhagavad Gita:

“One who performs his duty without attachment, surrendering the results unto the Supreme Lord, is unaffected by sinful action, as the lotus is untouched by water.” (5.10)

Page 270. " ‘The Sacred Rivers, Ganga Yamuna Sarasuati’ "

The Triveni Sangam is the confluence of three rivers sacred to the Hindu religion, the Ganges, the Yamuna and the mythical Sarasvati river. Each of the three rivers is mentioned in the holy Rigveda hymns at the heart of the Hindu religion.

The site where the three rivers are believed to meet is the host of the Kumbha Mela, or Hindu Pilgrimage, every twelve years. Hindus come from across the country to bathe in the Ganges for the remission of sins and for liberation from the cycle of life and death.

The Ganges is the largest of the three, flowing 2,510 km (1,560 miles) east through the Gangetic Plain of northern India into Bangladesh.

Worship at the River Ganges
Creative Commons AttributionWorship at the River Ganges - Credit: jpereira_net

Page 273. " ‘the Bengali boy who declared himself as the reincarnation of Rabindranath Tagore’ "

Rabindranath Tagore
Public DomainRabindranath Tagore
Rabindranath Tagore was a widely regarded Indian literary figure, popular poet, novelist, musician, and playwright who reshaped Bengali literature and music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His first poetry was written at age eight and by 16 he had published works under the pseudonym Bhanushingho (Sun Lion).

Tagore was famous for denouncing the British Raj and supporting Indian independence. He was knighted by the British Crown in 1915 but later returned this knighthood in protest of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in 1919.