Sunday, January 18, 2009

The White Tiger

I wanted to start this year by reading a good book. I had my eye on 'The white tiger' for some now. However I hesitated many times before picking this one from the store. The last time I tried reading the booker prize winner 'Inheritance of loss', I almost concluded that the booker prize winners are more for people who are fond of literature. The story moved at such a slow pace that a leaf falling from the tree would be so awesomely described in two pages. I understand from the view point of the author that she was trying to put in all creativity in describing it but for a reader like me - I lost patience. I could hardly reach 50 pages. This time, as PV also wanted to read it, I managed to break through all my assumptions of how this booker winner would be and took it to the counter for billing.

I don't want to tell the story as it is a true pleasure reading this book. Aravind Adiga has truly captured the economic divide in the Indian society through his fictional story characters of Balram who turns to become Ashok. All through the story, the author has picturised the state of the country from the eyes of the poor who always lives in the dark and thrives to see the light. The sarcasm in the narration has added a totally different flavor to the narration.

A few times, I got so angry at Adiga for continuously talking about the undeveloped India and leaving across the so many achievements or developments the country is witnessing. Going beyond my angst, I could see the majority of us today are lost in the developments and the developing developments that we fail to see the other side. There are many a people and things I notice today as I go on the road which I have not previously. He makes us confront the issues that are there in India today.

There is no place where you can see Adiga exaggerating the economic divide or under-playing the facts. This makes me wonder the extent of his research before writing this book. He must have spent a lot of time talking to people from different stratas of the society, observing them, their actions to understand what is going in their mind.

Sarcasm well wound in words, narrated as a fictional story bringing to light the not so good looking parts of India which we always try to hide or hide from. I neither know nor have read the other contenders for the Booker prize but there is no doubt, this one deserves it.