Archive for July 23rd, 2010

Disclaimer : This is NOT A book review. This is just a collection of¬† my thoughts while/after reading the book. It is more on how I felt connected/disconnected, happy/sad, satisfied/dis-satisfied ūüôā .¬†


¬†Its been a long time since I last wrote anything on the books that I’ve read.¬† There were many reasons for it, but I won’t get into all that explanation now (God knows, once I start, I can’t stop!!)¬†

Anyhow, I grabbed a copy of Aravind¬†Adiga’s Man Booker Prize winner book, The White Tiger, from a friend.¬†I’d been wondering what the fuss about him was all about. So I settled with the book and started.¬†

And I was hooked.

This guy blew me away with his story, the premise, the¬†flow, the characters….you name it, he had it in there. The¬† macabre humour hidden in the plight of the downtrodden, which is at once funny and yet, deeply painful!!¬†

¬†The White Tiger, is more than just¬†a masterpiece in literature. It is a mirror, the one into which we’d rather not look, because it shows us our ugly side, the spotlights turned full focus on the murk¬†

With Dad in the Army, I had a chance to visit most parts of the country. Though I learned a lot about the different cultures, I can hardly claim to have in-depth knowledge on how exactly the people live. 

And it came as a shock to realize that Adiga, a South Indian, could lay bare the everyday life of the common man¬†in North India. The entire book was so gripping that even when I was not reading it, I was thinking about it. And that is what makes it deserving of all its adulation. That it touches one deep enough to evoke the kind of response, which can be best described as, addiction. Even after the book got over, I was craving for more ūüėÄ .Almost as if I didn’t want it to end.¬†

As usual, I rate a book on its narration power and Aravind¬†Adiga¬†scores real high on that front ūüôā (Ok, maybe not as much as Chitra¬†Banerjee Divakaruni, but still, he’s up there alright ūüôā ).¬†

Here are a few excerpts from the book. These are by far, some of the best lines I’ve read :-¬†

A rich man’s body is like a premium cotton pillow, white and soft and blank.¬†Ours are different. My father’s spine was a knotted rope, the kind that women use in villages to pull water¬†from wells; the clavicle curved around his neck in high relief, like a dog’s collar; cuts and nicks and scars, like little whip marks in his flesh, ran down his chest and waist, reaching down below his hip bones into his buttocks. The story of a poor man’s life is written on his body, in a sharp pen.”¬†

At the end of the market is a tall, whitewashed, cone like tower, with black intertwining snakes painted on all its sides‚ÄĒthe temple. Inside, you will find an image of a saffron-colored creature, half man half monkey: this is Hanuman, everyone’s favorite god in the Darkness. Do you know about Hanuman, sir? He was the faithful servant of the god Rama, and we worship him in our temples because he is a shining example of how to serve your masters with absolute fidelity, love, and devotion.These are the kinds of gods they have foisted on us, Mr. Jiabao. Understand, now, how hard it is for a man to win his freedom in India.”¬†

Now I have to tell you about this magazine, Murder Weekly, since our prime minister certainly won’t tell you anything about it…………………….Just because drivers and cooks in Delhi are reading Murder Weekly, it doesn’t mean that they are all about to slit their masters’ necks. Of course, they’d like to. Of course, a billion servants are secretly fantasizing¬†about strangling their bosses‚ÄĒand that’s why the government of¬†India publishes this magazine and sells it on the streets for just four and a half rupees so that even the poor can buy it. You see, the murderer in the magazine is so mentally disturbed and sexually deranged that not one reader would want to be¬†like him‚ÄĒand in the end he always gets caught by some honest, hardworking police officer (ha!), or goes mad and hangs himself by a bedsheet¬†after writing a sentimental letter to his mother or primary school teacher, or is chased, beaten, buggered, and garroted by the brother of the woman he has done in. So if your driver is busy flicking through the pages of Murder Weekly,¬† relax. No danger to you. Quite the contrary.It’s when your driver starts to read about Gandhi and the Buddha that it’s time to wet¬†your pants, Mr. Jiabao.”¬†


they say the air is so bad in Delhi that it takes ten years out of a man’s life. Of course, those in the cars don’t have to breathe the outside air‚ÄĒit is just nice, cool, clean, air-conditioned air for us. With their¬†tinted windows up, the cars of the rich go like dark eggs down the roads of Delhi. Every now and then an egg will crack open‚ÄĒa woman’s hand, dazzling with gold bangles, stretches out an open window, flings an empty mineral water bottle onto¬†the road‚ÄĒand then the window goes up, and the egg is resealed.”¬†

¬†Do we loathe our masters behind a facade of love‚ÄĒor do we love them behind a facade of loathing?”¬†

¬†The way I had rushed to press Mr. Ashok’s feet, the moment I saw them, even though he hadn’t asked me to! Why did I feel that I had to go close to his feet, touch them and press them and make them feel good‚ÄĒwhy? Because the desire¬†to be¬†a servant had been bred¬†into me: hammered into my skull, nail after nail, and poured into my blood, the way sewage and industrial poison are poured into Mother Ganga.”¬†

¬†¬†“See, this country, in its days of greatness, when it was the richest nation on earth, was like a zoo. A clean, well kept, orderly zoo. Everyone in his place, everyone happy. Goldsmiths here. Cowherds¬†here. Landlords there. The man called a Halwai made sweets. The man called a cowherd tended cows. The untouchable cleaned feces. Landlords were kind to their serfs. Women covered their heads with a veil and turned their eyes to the ground when talking to strange men. ¬†

And then, thanks to all those politicians in Delhi, on the fifteenth of August, 1947‚ÄĒthe day the British left‚ÄĒthe cages had been let open; and the animals had attacked and ripped each other apart and jungle law replaced zoo law. Those that were the most ferocious, the hungriest, had eaten everyone else up, and grown big bellies. That was all that counted now, the size of your belly. It didn’t matter whether you were a woman, or a Muslim, or an untouchable: anyone with a belly could rise up. My father’s father must have been a real Halwai, a sweet-maker, but when he inherited the shop, a member of some other caste¬†must have stolen it from him with the help of the police. My father had not had the belly to fight back. That’s why he had fallen all the way to the mud, to the level of a rickshaw-puller. That’s why I was cheated¬†of my destiny to be fat, and creamy-skinned, and smiling.To sum up‚ÄĒin the old days there were one thousand castes and destinies in India. These days, there are just two castes: Men with Big Bellies, and Men with Small Bellies.¬†

And only two destinies: eat‚ÄĒor get eaten up.”¬†

“I heard about it the next day, while pretending to scratch a dirty spot out of a tabletop. Vijay¬†and a policeman¬†had knocked the rickshaw-puller¬†down, and they had begun beating him; they hit him with their sticks, and when he thrashed at them they kicked him. They took turns. Vijay¬†hit him and the policeman¬†stamped on his face and then Vijay¬†did it again. And after a while the body of the rickshaw-puller¬†stopped wriggling and fighting back, but they kept stamping on him, until he had been stamped¬†back into the earth. If I may go back for a moment to that WANTED poster, Your Excellency. Being called a murderer: fine, I have no objection to that. It’s a fact: I am a sinner, a fallen human. But to be called a murderer by the¬†¬†police!¬† What a fucking joke.”¬†



¬†I could go on and on, but I guess, posting the entire book here would be illegal ūüėĬ†

¬†So if you haven’t read the book already, do so.¬†¬†

¬†It’s a MUST read !!¬†









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