There are two things that make Salem famous (and infamous): mangoes, and female foeticide. The perpetually hot and dusty city in north-central Tamil Nadu is closer to Bengaluru (175 km) than it is to Chennai (300 km). As we drive past to our destination, Mallasamudram, 25 km outside Salem, soporific haze envelopes the winding road and the countryside is rendered even more sluggish by one of TN’s frequent power cuts.
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