Another Malgudi town tale by the accomplished Indian novelist--here the amusingly ironic account of a man obsessed by the need to possess a woman who is determined not to represent what he thinks is the ""tragedy of womanhood. . . utility articles whether in bed or not."" Raman, the painter of signs, secure in his ""scientific"" rationalism and bachelor detachment, is inexplicably in love with Daisy, a cool, elegantly Indian field worker for Family Planning. As Raman, in his professional capacity, follows the tireless Daisy through her educational seminars and harangues at bemused villagers, his confused infatuation grows. Daisy, non-smiling and curt when not evangelizing on the subject of birth control, is all mission. Raman shifts, bends, retreats, and gives this impossible, fascinating woman her head, but never seems able to rein her in. Yes, he does sleep with her and even marries her, but at the close, Daisy, admitting she is ""not cut out for marriage. . . I want to forget my moments of weakness,"" kisses his hand in brief appreciation and leaves forever. ""To hell with it,"" says Raman--a man cuckolded by Higher Callings--and the inflated male ego takes its lumps. A deceptively fragile item, a nosegay romance complete with wasp.