The prologues give you the history of each protagonist and with them of different cultures and social nitty-gritties. It unravels the Parsi families and their modern culture that is still constrained to their singular community. In Dina, you see the young spirited potential of modern middle class women that is shunned and choked by the patriarchal society.
The story of Ishvar and Om is by far the most inspiring. It talks in detail about untouchability and the lives of untouchables in small villages that amounts to nothing for anyone. And that hopelessness and desperation gives them the courage and strength to break the chains of social custom and rise above, to step up their economic and social standing by learning a new trade. It helps them to change their caste and embrace all religions. It is the story of the rise of the middle class.
Then comes the story of Maneck and how the beauty and tranquillity of the mountains is transformed into the chaos of tourism and marketing in the name of economic growth. How large companies upset the local ecosystems! And yet again another story of the middle class when the locals need to find other ways of livelihood through education.
Through out the story the Emergency is seen as giving the police and other local lords a sudden boost in power, destroying the protagonists life little by little. And our characters are playing the role of the Indian middle class that grows prosperous economically, not because of, but in spite of the government policies and struggling relentlessly again them. They do find a fine balance for a brief period where they are prosperous and happy, in an ecosystem designed by them, having overcome the barriers of caste, class and loneliness.
But not for long...