India: 1946. Blessing Ashish murmured. Such a name for a man cursed by a million gods For forty-eight years, his family toiled as slaves in the fields of the high-caste Lal family, and all because of one small debt. Ashish and his family knew nothing of the hatred for the British seething around them, nor of the struggle for independence that simmered throughout India. At fifty-four, Ashish was old and worn out. His wife had died long before how many years, he had no idea. Even though he had four sons to work beside him in the fields, every day was a struggle to survive. Sometimes his only daughter worked, too, but she also cooked and cleaned and kept the clothes in repair. His wife had named the girl Shridula Blessings. Perhaps the name will bring you more fortune than it brought me, Ashish told his daughter. His words proved to be prophetic in ways he could never have imagined. And when the flames of revolt brought independence to India, they seared change into the families of Ashish and Lal.