Serious Men starts off with Ayyan Mani, who is a Tamil Dalit, residing in the Worli chawls of Mumbai. Ayyan works at the Institute of Theory and Research as a personal assistant. His responsibility is to answer private phone calls and read confidential letters. Acharya is the head astronomer at the institute, and spends a great deal of time researching the actual reason behind the Universe, exploring the possibility of extraterrestrial life. Ayyan’s only desire is to bring joy to the lives of his wife and their ten year old son. He then begins to spin the yarn that his son, who is partially deaf, is a genius, which captivates nearly the entire nation.
Acharya’s belief is that the Big Bang Theory is a proposition about the Universe’s existence by the West. He argues that the Vatican wanted to have some sort of plot that staged the creation of the Universe and the Big Bang Theory is the ideal one they chose. He goes on to explain his proposition, which is that the Universe could be a giant device that is capable of manufacturing pieces of life. Acharya gears himself towards launching a balloon into outer space, as he believes that these pieces may be floating around in the upper atmosphere.
The time comes when Acharya meets with a young astrobiologist named Oparna Goshmaulik, who poses a threat to Acharya’s reputation and the myth surrounding Ayyan’s son. While extremely good at her work, Oparna plays the role of a seductress, carrying on an illicit affair with Acharya, who slowly shifts back into his life as a married man. What follows next is a series of engrossing events that eventually bring about a positive change in the relationships between the characters in the book.
About Manu Joseph
Manu Joseph is an author and journalist.
Apart from this book, Joseph has written The Illicit Happiness of Other People.
Joseph was born in the year 1974, in Kottayam, India. He completed his undergraduate degree from Loyola College, Chennai, and quit studying at Madras Christian College, as he wanted to pursue his career as a staff writer for theSociety magazine. He has served as the features editor for The Times of India and has contributed to The Independentand Wired. Joseph currently serves as the editor of the OPEN magazine. He has also been presented with the PEN Open Book Award in 2011. In 2007, Joseph was made a Chevening Scholar. He has also been presented with the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize. He currently resides in New Delhi.