From Victorian lndia to near-future New York, The Calcutta Chromosome takes readers on a wondrous journey through time as a computer programmer trapped in a mind-numbing job hits upon a curious item that will forever change his life. When Antar discovers the battered I.D. card of a long-lost... read more
The novel begins with the story of Antar, an employee of the LifeWatch organization, who recounts an encounter with L. Murugan, an employee of LifeWatch who has disappeared in Calcutta. The plot is quite complicated and its timelines are deliberately mixed up. Antar starts to track Murugan’s... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
The novel begins with the story of Antar, an employee of the LifeWatch organization, who recounts an encounter with L. Murugan, an employee of LifeWatch who has disappeared in Calcutta. The plot is quite complicated and its timelines are deliberately mixed up. Antar starts to track Murugan’s disappearance in Calcutta many years back. Murugan has asked to be transferred to Calcutta because of his fascination with the life of Sir Ronald Ross. The Calcutta of Ronald Ross is well separated in time from the Calcutta that Murugan visits, but the New York of Antar and the Calcutta of Murugan seem to overlap in time, though it is clearly stated in the novel that they are separated by many years. Through his research into old and lost documents and phone messages, Antar figures out that Murugan had systematically unearthed an underground scientific/mystical movement that could grant eternal life. Loosely described, the process is as follows: the disciples of this movement can transfer their chromosomes into another, and gradually become that person or take over that person. In the novel, Ronald Ross did not discover the mysteries of the malaria parasite; it was a group of underground practitioners of a different, mystical "science," natives of India, who helped to guide Ross to the conclusions for which he is famous. These Indians provided Ross with clues in the belief that in the moment Ross made his discovery, the parasite would change its nature. At this point, a new variant of malaria would emerge and the group's research using the chromosome-transfer technique would advance even further.
“Julius Wagner-Jauregg a nobel laureate born in Austria was a psychologist. He discovered that artificially induced malaria could cure syphilis- at least in the dementia paralytica stage when it attacks the brain. This discovery got him nobel prize in 1927. Artificially induced malaria was the standard treatment for syphilitic paresis untill1940s. Fact is, malaria does stuff to the brain that we're still just guessing at.”
“Remember that one of the extraordinary things about the malaria bug is that it has the capacity to 'cut and paste' its DNA - unlike any creature we know of except the trypanosome. Remember that's one of the reasons why its been so hard to develop a malaria vaccine. Because what's special about the malaria bug is that as it goes through its life cycle it keeps altering its coat-proteins. So by the time the body's immune system learns to recognise the threat, the bug's already had time to do a little costume change before the next act.”
“If it's true that to know something is to change it, then it follows that one way of changing something - of effecting a mutation, let's say - is to attempt to know it, or aspects of it.”
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