Just as the gale winds surge and the rain increases, a man struggles toward the bank of the Ganges. His eyes squint in determination as raindrops lash his face. His body leans into the gusts. He’s holding carefully in front of him a plastic bag and a small plastic statue of a Hindu goddess, a miniature replica of Durga.

When the man reaches the edge of the concrete pier, he throws the idol. It hovers in the wind briefly. Then he swings the bag into the river as well. Both items partially sink in the roaring current. The plastic bag, now open, reveals its contents: papers, miscellaneous trinkets, and debris. It looks more like garbage than a spiritual offering.

Immediately, the man

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