Saturday, May 29, 2010

White Tiger - Aravind Adiga

White Tiger - a life-story of an Indian, Balram Halwai, narrated to President of China, Mr. Jiabao.
Mr. Jiabao is about to have an official visit to India. Balram feels that the politians will fool Mr. Jiabao by creating false picture about life in India. That's why he decides to inform Mr. Jiabao what actually is life in India by telling him his own story.
He writes seven letters to Mr. Jiabao. In his letters he writes about life in rural India. How people in rural India are being dominated by landlords, how the dowry system is followed there. He sketches the pictures of corruption and bribery spreading in India, exploitation of servants by their masters.
An inspector who visits Balram's school finds that Balram is the only student who can read & write well compared to other students. He then calls Balram as a White Tiger and offers him a scholarship.But Balram couldn't complete his education due to poor family background.
Balram doesn't want to work like his father did - carrying goods, he doesn't want to work at Tea-shop like his cousin. He decides to learn driving. He invests money and learns driving.
Balram is serving as a driver to one of the landlord's family.
He moves to Delhi with his master. Now here, his job is not just to drive his master but also to cook,clean & do whatever else his master asks him to do. In Delhi his master deals with politicians & bribes them in order to ensure the survival of his family business. Balram is just a dumb witness to all the activities of his master.
Balram, though working as a driver, desires to have his own business. He throbs his master and runs away with all his money. He moves to Banglore. Police unable to catch him up.
He starts his business in Banglore,providing cabs/cars to call centres. Here he explains the modern life-style in Banglore city to Mr. Jiabao. He has few more plans to expand his buisness. He calls himself a successful buisnessman. Through all his journey to become a buisnessman, whatever tricks/techniques he has used, he doesn't feel guilty. He ignores them easily as he has experienced that this is how is the lifestyle followed here. And this is the way to survive.
What he has seen during his journey of life is landlord exploiting poor, corruption and bribery in every field, masters exploiting their servants.... all these facts have penetrated through all levels of society. So there is no big deal if he has chosen his own way to become successful, to become part of this society.

Following are the paras stating the trustworthiness of servants in India :

"Mr. Jiabao
When you get here, you'll be told we Indians invented everything from the internet to hard-boiled eggs to spaceship before the British stole it all from us.
Nonsense. The greatest thing to come out of this country in ten thousand years of its history is the Rooster Coop.
Go to Old Delhi behind Jama Masjid, and look at the way they keep chickens there in the market. Hundreds of pale hens and brightly colored roosters, stuffed tightly into wire-mesh cages, packed as tightly as worms in a belly, pecking each other and shitting on each other, jostling just for breathing space; the whole cage giving off a horrible stench - a stench of terrified, feathered flesh. On the wooden desk above this cop sits a grinning young butcher, showing off the flesh and organs of recently chopped-up chickens, still oleaginous with a coating of dark blood. The roosters in the coop smell the blood from above. They see the organs of their brothers lying around them. They know they're next. Yet they do not rebel. They do not try to get out of the coop.
The very same thing is done with human beings in this country."

"The Rooster Coop doesn't always work with minuscule sums of money. Don't test your chauffeur with a rupee coin or two - he may well steal that much. But leave a million dollars in front of a servant and he won't touch a penny. Try it: leave a black bag with a million dollars in a Mumbai taxi. The taxi driver will call police and return the money by the day's end. I guarantee it.(Whether the police will give it to you or not is another story, sir!) Masters trust their servants with diamonds in this country! It's true. Every evening on the train out of Surat, where they run the world's biggest diamond-cutting and polishing business, the servants of diamond merchants are carrying suitcases full of cut diamonds that they have to give to someone in Mumbai. Why doesn't that servant take the suitcase full of diamonds? He's not Gandhi, he's human, he's you and me. But he's in the Rooster Coop. The trustworthiness of servants is the basis of the entire Indian Economy."

1 comment:

हेरंब said...

Awesome book. I too had written about it..