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Arvind Adiga's The White Tiger

Category: By FreaKo

Read Rahul N.R's review on this book at Impressions 'n Expressions

wt How many times have you heard of the shining multistory buildings and swanky malls of urban India and about the poetically beautiful earthy smells of its villages and pristine streams that run through it. The sarees and the elaborate weddings and the innocence of its children. And then take a look at its (India's) underbelly! And you see an India that no one talks about or dares to mention, of its stinking sewage running through the middle of the road or the dirty pigs feeding on the feces and uncles with tuberculosis and aunts who are on death beds, of conniving grandmothers and hospitals where goats roam about with no doctor. The real India that we do not want to admit about! The real India that you do not see on NDTV Nightout!

Arvind Adiga's debut novel is not about sweet and earthy India. It is about the people who live in the "Darkness" caught up in the "The Great Rooster Coop". It is a morbid tale of how Balram Halwai, escapes from the darkness and into the light to become one of India's entrepreneurs who keep the motors of its economy running.

Balram, is the white tiger, who got the nick name from one of the school inspectors who promises him a scholarship because he was able to spell words as compared to others in the class. A white tiger is a rear phenomena, which happens only once in a generation. But as fate would have it Balram would have to quit school, half baked, so that he can go and work for the landlord to repay the family's debt. Balram wants to escape the drudgery of the darkness and he ends up being the driver for a landlord's US returned son Ashok and his wife Pinky Madam, a job that takes him from Darkness to Light, to the city of Delhi. Balram's anger has no release yet he is an humble servant to his master, a trait that can never leave anyone who has come from the lower pecking order in the Rooster Coop. He has learned to siphon fuel from his master's car and makes inflated bills for car repairs, while the master bribes government ministers, who also act as pimps for fair skinned prostitutes, with big red bags of money. Balram is desperate to get out the life from the darkness, so much that he is willing to sacrifice his family, whom he thinks of nothing more than a burden throughout his life! The turmoil in his mind leads to one incident after another and also a cold blooded murder.

Everything in the book is subject to scathing comments, democracy, family, fat politicians anything that Balram encounters! But the biggest success of the book lies in the way Adiga has portrayed his characters, Balram and his anger, the helplessness of Ashok his master, the landlords, the servant class who live in the basement and his family in the darkness that never ceases to fight. Adiga's book is raw, angry and in your face and shows where the real India is at the same time being funny too.

This is an impressive debut novel in which Adiga has definitely showcased his literary talent, the kind that would want you to reach out for his next.

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1 comment so far.

  1. Ankit November 5, 2008 at 2:53 PM
    I started a new log yesterday, and actually my first topic is in co-relation with this topic,
    have a look


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