Who were ancient India’s “first couple?” This unlikely question from a purveyor of India’s antiquity is one among the many explorations in historian-archaeologist Nayanjot Lahiri’s latest book, Time Pieces – A Whistle-Stop Tour of Ancient India. Lahiri is an authoritative voice in the study of proto-historic and early India. Time Pieces, though, is a departure from the pedantic and voluminous tomes on the subject, and written, as Lahiri says, “to be widely read with, I hope, enjoyment.” Lahiri attempts to open a window to ancient India via facets that are “important from the contemporary perspective: food and hygiene, art and identity, environment and emotions … linking small phenomena to the larger world of the Indian subcontinent.”
In the following extract, taken from the section dealing with love in the time of the ancients, Lahiri journeys. . .