Monday, November 17, 2008
The White Tiger
A few days ago, I stopped near the footpath bookseller who seemed to have an interesting collection of books.I decided to buy the book - "The White Tiger " by Arvind Adiga because I read that it had won the Booker Prize this year.I think it is very well written. A short story, but a very angry and a brutal voice telling the story.
The story is about a "social entrepreneur", Balram Halwai, who now has a booming business in Electronics City, Bangalore. The story is written in the form of letters by this person to the Chinese PM. It is not stated whether the protagonist actually posts the letters he had written to the PM.
Every night at about 1.a.m he writes a new letter to the PM. He starts off regarding how he came from one of the darkest, poorest villages of India and got to the position where he is in. As the story unfolds the reader will learn that he is not our conventional "good" person but a very dark, brutal opportunistic person and a classic example of survival of the fittest who can do anything to get to the top.As the story progresses Balram starts off working in a tea stall in his village and then he escapes his village in a truck and learns driving in a driving school and he becomes a driver for a NRI couple in Delhi. There isn't much to the story but it is interesting like hell.
The way the inequalities in the Indian society has been described, the power and sarcasm in Balram's voice, the feeling of hopelessness and the small town, a semi-literate guy's view of the world is amazing! Adiga's describes India's cities like Delhi, Bangalore as "half baked cities full of half baked men". He cleverly observes what works in India and what does not. The way Adiga writes about the
a car driver's psyche and the way he puts down a car driver's stream of thought and conscience is remarkable.
I am not much of an avid book reader. But this book is good enough to make a really engrossing read. Finally it turned out to be an intelligent investment for me ;-).
Read this book if you get a day or two to spare.