There’s nothing like a nice little surprise. And a nice little surprise this week is a Madras-born, Mangalore-bred, Tamil-loving, Kannada-speaking former journalist who has studied at Oxford, Princeton and is all of 33 years of age walking away with the Booker Prize for his debut novel, The White Tiger.
But who exactly is Aravind Adiga?
He tells the Madras edition of The Times of India today:
“I was born in Madras, in a clinic on Poonamallee High Road, not far from where my grandfather, Mohan Rau, owned a nursing home and a mansion (the latter still stands). My mother, who grew up in Madras, spoke Tamil fluently. But the language spoken inside my house was Kannada, as my ancestors had come from Udupi, in Karnataka.
“When I was six, and before I could learn Tamil at school, my father decided to relocate to Mangalore. My mother was never happy out of Chennai; she kept our house in Mangalore noisy with MGR films and Tamil songs; and her happiest moments came when she met someone with whom she could talk Tamil. For years, she (and I) clung on to a desperate hope that my father would go back to Chennai. My mother did make it back to Chennai, but not as she and I had hoped: in January 1990, she was admitted to the Cancer Institute in Chennai, and died there.”
But the media reaction to Adiga’s Booker has been relatively tepid, compared to the over-the-top reception to Arundhati Roy‘s Booker (The God of Small Things) and Salman Rushdie‘s (Midnight’s Children).
So, what exactly is this book that this “Kann-Adiga” has written that has fetched him this huge prize?
Were you expecting to win the Booker?
I thought I would be out partying in Soho by now (Sydney Morning Herald)
In a line, describe your book.
It’s the story of a man’s quest for freedom; and of the terrible cost of that freedom (Financial Times). It revolves around the great divide between those Indians who have made it and those who have not (Agence France Presse).
What was the idea?
It’s an attempt to catch the voice of the men you meet as you travel through India — the voice of the colossal underclass — without sentimentality or portraying them as mirthless, humourless weaklings as they are usually (New York Times). It was important for me to present someone from this colossal underclass, which is perhaps as big as 400 million, and to do so without sentimentality (The Daily Telegraph).
What was the inspiration?
What struck me when I went back to Delhi was all the poor people coming daily on the train from the villages. When they get off they are as completely lost as I was when I went to (Sydney) and New York and when I came to London. A person like me, my equivalent in India, treats the people who have got off the train quite badly and it reminded me of how I’ve been treated in the past (SMH).
Did your subjects have any reservations talking to you?
One of them spoke for sometime and became angry. He said, ‘You are listening to me and wasting my time. You will go back to Delhi and forget about me, this is why I don’t talk to people like you.’ So I remembered him and when I went back to Delhi I didn’t forget him. (The Australian)
Was it easy?
A book like this is as much an exercise in masochism as anything else. I am very much a part of the things I am attacking and it is not fun to write it necessarily (The Hindu).
How will winning the award change your life?
It won’t change much, because I live in Bombay, and life in Mumbai has a way of reminding you that writers are not particularly important. It won’t mean anything to my neighbours, they won’t know about this. Life will continue (The Telegraph, Calcutta).
Why did you dedicate the book to Delhi when you live in Bombay?
It’s a city that’s going to determine the future of India (The Hindu).
How does a novel like The White Tiger, which throws light on the “dark side of India” resonate with an India on the move?
There is a lot of triumphalist noise in India today. There is a sense of profound economic achievement and much of it is justified, but it is also important to listen to other noises. Something extraordinary is happening between the rich and the poor. Once, there was at least a common culture between rich and poor, but that has been eroded, and people have noted that (Booker media conference).
You studied literature at Columbia and then at Oxford. Why did you end up as a journalist?
It was a conscious choice to become a journalist. I went to Princeton for my PhD (but) I dropped out because I realised that if I was going to be a writer, I hadn’t seen much. I wanted to get out and see the world and not just geographically but also to be forced to talk to people I would not wish to talk to normally (The Australian).
What does it mean to be a bachelor in Bombay?
I describe myself as a ‘writer’, a category that doesn’t mean anything to the landlords of Bombay (The Guardian, London)
What’s your next novel?
India just teems with untold stories, and no one who is alive to the poetry, the anger and the intelligence of Indian society will ever run out of stories to write. I do want to write about people who haven’t been written about, and there’s a lot of them in India still. (AFP)
Photograph: Aravind Adiga in the 10th standard (courtesy Mid-Day)
Proud of Aravind Adiga’s achievements. The White Tiger offers a story of coruscating wit, blistering suspense, and questionable morality, told by the most volatile, captivating, and utterly inimitable narrator that this millennium has yet seen. I am also proud that Aravinda is from Tulunadu and has made Tulunadu very proud
“coruscating wit, blistering suspense, and questionable morality, told by the most volatile, captivating, and utterly inimitable narrator that this millennium has yet seen” has been copied word to word from http://www.powells.com/biblio/1-9781416562603-0.I'm sure this phony guy has not even read a page from the white tiger. This dark skinned tulu guy is a plagiarist. There is no such thing called as “Tulunadu”. All we know is of a region called dakshina kannada which belongs to the GSB’s.
He has been ignored, all because he is a Madras-born, Mangalore-bred, Tamil-loving, Kannada-speaking person from the peninsular India, like Our dear Sam!!
We are proud of him and wish him all the best writing and many more such Honours! May God bless the young fellow!
This sudden Kann Adiga thing is baffling me. I think Adiga belongs every where, to every reader who can appreciate his success. I am glad that Yediyurappa as of now has not gone ahead and announced a 10 lakh cash prize and belittled the writer. If he can, let the CM atleast now tell Kannadigas the importance of English language.
We are proud of Arvind! I am even more grateful to Arvind’s dad for getting Arvind out of Chennai; else Arvind would have ended up as a script writer for Tamil movies in Gemini Studios.
Mallappan-Peteelu or Violin Mallapa!
Still missing your psychoanalyst’s appointments?:)
Kudos to Churumuri for the superb synthesis of media reports.
Booker prize to Indian. Hmmm.
Wonder if this time the Indian authored book that won Booker prize actually says something that uplifts mind and spirit or just mirrors the inferiority complex of the author who is a victim of convent education.
Sorry, I am sick of these folks writing books in English practically washing their dirty laundry of their minds in front of western public; pale skinned ones are too happy to oblige and through an award at these attempts. At least write in native language so that the ‘down-trodden’ ones they are writing about have some chance to read it!
This fine art of canvassing India’s poor and their plight is becoming nauseating.
What should I expect next of Adiga? Is he going to be an expert on International politics to environmental science to human rights to rocket science?
Booker prize, hooker prize.
Anyone read the book? How is it? Dont have too much time for books these days – will definitely get a copy if it is recommended by someone here.
Very unclever of Churumuri to have made Arvind appear like a ‘wannabe Konga’! Once again, his dad Adida deserves Karnataka Rathna award for sparing the boy from the horrors of a ‘DMK’ education…
“Tamil-loving” ? Well, probably his mom did because she was raised in Tamil Nadu. There are many families from coastal area who migrated to chennai (and other cities) as part of spreading their ‘Udupi Hotel’ business. That’s why they all spoke kannada at home.
Adiga studies in Mangalore from third standard to tenth standard and secured first rank in SSLC.
Not just kannadigas, all Indians should be proud of him. This is beyond kannada.
Congratulations to Arvind. The entire country should be proud of him.
A book’s literary value comes because it supports your world view of things? Would you recommend censorship for any book which does not match your ‘feelings’? Whether it is URA in kannada or Adiga in English etc.
BTW have you read this book by Adiga yourself? If yes would you recommend it as a good read?
@Malla****, please use a sensible nick
@guynxdor, Your Profile-http://web.cruisingfor…..com/bb7/members/guynxdor.html
no wonder you are trying to provoke Malla.
Now coming to the point -Congratulations to Arvind
P.S : Tulunadu, south kanara, dakshina kannada or whichever name you may use, doesn’t belong to a particular community or caste. Everyone is welcome to settle/conduct business there
May I ask why you are so jealous. If you hate English language so much, why do you type your blogs in English. Looks like your frustrations are due to your extreme inferiority complex. Have the white guys done something bad to you that makes you to speak against them.
Haven’t read his book…but reviews of it bring to mind shades of Ms. Roy.
I would have to agree with Shyodha.
Did most folks miss Adiga’s patronizing ring?
Again…this prize is his own…not India’s.
The Trickle down effect of Adiga has started. It happens only in India.
Adiga – International – He wrote in English.
Adiga – National – He is an Indian
Adiga – Kannadiga – His mother tongue is Kannada
Adiga – Tamilian – Born in Chennai
Adiga – Brahmin – Caste by Birth
It is unfortunate that instead of appreciating art, all folks here have started stretching Adiga around and mincing him.
Oh yeah.. I missed the ONE N ONLY MALLAPOTELL…
Adiga – Tulu Nadu…. represents Tuluva and Kannada is his borrowed mother tongue.
The writer has said about Adiga as Tamil-loving, Kannada speaking 33 years old etc. Therefore Adiga is a “Suitable Boy”?
Well said DB
If a Bengali had won Booker, our media would have started a non-stop celebration. Sadly, The Man Booker is a KannAdiga.
Fortunately he is an ADIGA, not a RAI. Otherwise Bengalis would have claimed that he is a Bengali!
Kudos to Adiaga for getting the award (as an Indian). Read in newspapers that the novel is good, have to read it.
Tamil-loving Adiga?! – Another inferior KannAdiga!
why >Another inferior KannAdiga<
@ Dr. Sree Reddy:
“Read this: He tells the Madras edition of The Times of India today:……..
It sounds as if he is proud of associating himself with Tamil than Kannada. May be because he is giving the interview to Madras edition?!
Does it matter where he was born and raised or what his mother tongue is?
An Indian author who writes in English has won the booker and it is a source of pride for me( I admit I am biased towards the English language while not deriding or looking down upon native Indian ones) I have aordered a copy on Amazon will start reading soon.
ಮೊದಲದನೆಯಾಗಿ- ಈ ಪುಸ್ತಕ ಇಂಗ್ಲೀಷಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಬರೆದ ಈ ಮಹಾನುಭಾವ ಅಡಿಗ, ಆಸ್ಟ್ರೇಲಿಯದಲ್ಲಿ, ಅಮೆರಿಕದಲ್ಲಿ ಕಲಿತು, ಭಾರತದ ಕಡು ಬಡತನದ ಕುರಿತು ಕತೆ ಹೊಸೆದಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಸ್ವಾಮಿ, ಬರ್ಯೋದು ಬರಿತೀರ, ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ಅಮೇರಿಕಾದಲ್ಲೂ, ಆಸ್ಟ್ರೇಲಿಯದಲ್ಲೂ ಇರುವವರ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಬರೆಯಿರಿ ಸ್ವಾಮಿ. ನಮ್ಮ ಜನರಿಗೆ ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ಅಲ್ಲಿಯವರ ಪರಿಸ್ಥಿತಿಯೂ ಗೊತ್ತಾಗಲಿ. ಹೋಗ್ಲಿ ಬಿಡಿ, ಬರ್ಯೋರು ಬರಿತಾರೆ ಅಂದ್ರೆ, ಆ ಬುಕರ್ ಬಹುಮಾನ ಕೊಟ್ಟ! (ಈ ಮೊದಲು, ಆ ರೋಯ್ ಮ್ಯಾಡಮ್ಮು ಇದೆ ರೀತಿ ಭಾರತದ ಜಾತಿ ಪದ್ಧತಿ, ಮಹಿಳೆಯರು ಸ್ಥಾನ ಮಾನ, ಸ್ವಲಿಂಗಕಾಮ ಅಂತ ಏನೇನೋ ಬರೆದು ಬುಕರ್ ಬಹುಮಾನ ಪಡೆದಳು. ಆಮೇಲೆ ಅದೇನು ಬುದ್ಧಿವಂತಿಕೆ ಬಂತು ಆ ಮ್ಯಡಮ್ಮಿಗೆ!) ಕನ್ನಡಿಗರು ಜಯಕಾರ ಹಾಕಿದ್ರು! (ಒಬ್ಬರೂ ಪುಸ್ತಕ ಏನೂ ಓದಿಲ್ಲ.) ಭಾರತೀಯರು ‘ಆಹಾ! ನೋಡಿ ನಮ್ಮವನು ಎಷ್ಟು ಚೆನ್ನಾಗಿ ಇಂಗ್ಲಿಷ್ ಬರಿತಾರೆ!’ ಅಂತ ಹೆಮ್ಮೆ ಪಟ್ಟು, ಮಕ್ಕಳಿಗೆಲ್ಲ ‘ನೀವು ಹೀಗೇ ಕಲಿಬೇಕಪ್ಪಾ ಇಂಗ್ಲೀಷೂ!’ ಎಂದು ಹುರುದುಂಬಿಸುತ್ತಾ ಇದ್ದಾರೆ.
ನನಗೆ ನಮ್ಮ ಬಡತನದ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಬೇಸರ ಪಡಬೇಕೋ, ನಮ್ಮ ಜನರ ಸ್ವಭಾಷಾ ಮೌಢ್ಯ, ಪಾಶ್ಚಿಮಾತ್ಯರ ಬಹುಮಾನದ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಇರುವ ಗೌರವಾರದ್ಯ, ನೋಡಿ ಬೇಸರ ಪಡಬೇಕೋ ತಿಳಿಯದು, ಸ್ವಾಮಿ. ನಾನೊಬ್ಬ ಕೀಳರಿಮೆ ಹೊಂದಿದ ಪ್ರಾಣಿ, ನೋಡಿ.
Here is snippet from a review which reflects my feeling; folks writing about India’s poor are becoming more repetitive than Hindi movies.
“.. while Adiga is hardly the first writer with a privileged background to write a book like this, [–i.e., waxing eloquence about poverty in India, my words–] it’s hard not feel that it’s a bit rich coming from a well- and foreign-educated (Columbia and Oxford !) author to take as his protagonist (and mouthpiece) someone so down-and-out that his parents didn’t even bother giving him a name and then have the character find success in this particular way.) “
Every one is in a hurry to pay tributes to Adiga and to Booker Prize. Has any one thought of what can be done to help that autorickshaw owner or the farmer that Adiga is talking about?
It is a pity that in the midst of all this jubiltaion we have missed sight of what Adiga was motivated to portray. This is what Mahatma Gandhi also felt when thousands came to prostrate in front of him and see him. He felt very bad that all of them are interested to see him and consider him as god but do not have time for what he has to say.
Indierctly all of us want to share in this award as a Kannadiga or Tamilian or Indian but not prepared to take up the challenge thrown in this book.
I havent read this book but I pass judgement on it.
Thats pretty funny.
(I dont know much about others way of life and yet I condone violence against them etc.).
AG : Are you talking to me?
I’ve read some reviews about this book. As have all his admirers :)
Your second statement sounds “serious”…what are you trying to say?
Another desi foot soldier whoring himself to white man. Arundhoti Roy’s usefulness has run out. So they are building a new trojan horse.
Yavaga buddhi barutto ee bevarsi gaLige.
If a Kannadiga/Telugu/Marathi etc if born and brought up in Tamil Naadu, he/she ought to know and love the Tamil language. But that does not happen with all those (English educated)? Tamils who are born and brought up in Bengaluuru/Karnataka to know (forget about love) Kannada language. People do not make a fuss for not knowing Kannada despite of living all their lives in Karnataka. They try to say “He/ She is Tamil and it is obvious he/she doesnot know Kannada”. This does not happen in Tamil Naadu. I think this is difference between us and them.
There is no need to learn the plight of farmers/autorikshawa from Adiga’s book. If we are living in Karnataka/India, cant we see from our own eyes? (May be “first world”(sic) people need to read!)
There is a Tamil woman who was born, brought up and benfited by Karnataka for all her life, has opened an Indian grocery shop here in Japan. Her shop’s DVD collection does not have a single Kannada movie whereas she has happily kept Tamil and Hindi. She and her family are Bengaluuru based even today.
I wonder how many non-Tamils who are Tamil Naadu born & brought up people dare not to keep Tamil DVDs .
so, is Yedujji issuing Rs. 10 lakh and a plot in bangalore for Arvind Adiga?
The book is sold out in kerala… though….
A second important Adiga in literature. Let’s celebrate!
Stop all this rubbish about tamil, kannada, kerala and andra and start leaving as a indian. You call yourself a doctor and with that kind of education you are still talking about race. It time you grow up mate
agree with alajan
I received my copy from Amazon and started reading last night. Finished 20 pages and it is very very well written. I have read God of Small things by arundathi roy and i think his quality of writing is a shade better.
Booker prize is a perfect indication of inferiority complex Indians have been nurturing since 1700s. People with white skin, their language, their prize, their appreciation, everything is so precious and divine for us.
I see dr attached here only to me and therefore will respond to your writing.
What do you mean by rubbish?
What is the meaning of race? Do you know what is race?
Where in my mail I have talked about race? Linguistic identity is different from race. Ok got it. ? Dont confuse race with linguistic identity.
From your name you appear to be a Tamil and you seem to be very happy because Mr. Adiga has declared his love for Tamil language!.
We expect the same from all those Tamils/ (non-Kannadigas)who have been living in Karnataka. But they refuse to say a word in Kannada and keep saying nasty things about Kannada.
You grow up in your thoughts beofre you tell others. According to you upholding Kannada or anything related to Kannada means someone who does not have education!!.
Tamils scout only Tamils in any industry. Is that being Indian? You guys are linguistically higly blind people.
Being a Kannadiga is not being an Indian??!!
Read mails before you write.!
Bringing the focus back to Adiga and his book ( away from these fractious language/race discussions). Finished reading it today, very gripping and very well wirtten – compared to the other two Indian winners – Arundathi Roy- God of small things and Kiran Desai- the inheritance of loss(2006) I should say the style of writing appeals more to me. I now recall that I have read articles by Adiga in Time and the Financial times in the past.
Kudos to him(Adiga).
Adiga clearly has ‘borrowed’ the premise of ‘master-slave’ relationship from Adoor’s Malayalam film ‘Vidheyan’ (1993). It was penned by Paul Zacharia, another writer heavily influenced by socialism.
Paul probably ‘borrowed’ his premise from some Russian novel knowing the Kerala’s infatuation with communism. (There are more Stalins in Kerala than anywhere in the world.)
Someone should point Booker Hooker Jokers to the film ‘Vidheyan’.
Thanks for the review. I read The Inheritance of Loss – was ok, got boring after a point and I felt it was clearly written with a western audience in mind (isn’t Kiran Desai from the US or moved there when she was young?).
Will definitely get hold The White Tiger next week and maybe write a short review.
I did not see any communist/socialist influenced master-slave relationship in the book. The relationship he protrays is one that exists in India. The book is well writen and deserves commendation.
Buy the book, it is available in paperback now. At the least it will make an interesting read.
I spent ten minutes trying to read th book; it is mind numbingly mediocre. Not surprisingly. Here is what the author mouthed:
“I spent a lot of time hanging around stations and talking to rickshaw pullers.” What struck him was the physical difference between the poor and the rich: “In India, it’s the rich who have problems with obesity. And the poor are darker-skinned because they work outside and often work without their tops on so you can see their ribs. But also their intelligence impressed me. What rickshaw pullers, especially, reminded me of was black Americans, in the sense that they are witty, acerbic, verbally skilled and utterly without illusions about their rulers.”
“Poor are dark skinned”!?? “Reminds him of black Americans”??? Are f-ing kidding me Arvind??! You lifted the old fuedal, master-slave idea from “Vidheyan” and woven a story with new shades, but how low can you stoop in order to present things so that the western heads nod their heads approvingly!
I have nothing more say!
More I read about this guy, more I choke! If I had paan and tambaaku (that destroyed Adiga’s hero’s gums and tooth) in my mouth right now, I would spit!
“Adiga doesn’t know how he will spend his prize money, isn’t even sure if there’s a safe bank in which to deposit it.”
‘Doesn’t he fear attacks at home for his portrayal of India? After all, the greatest living Indian painter, MF Husain, lives in exile.’
“I’m in a different position from Husain. Fortunately, the political class doesn’t read. He lives in exile because his messages got through, but mine probably won’t.”
Adiga did a shoddy job in planting Gautam Goswami , then DM of Patna as Asia’s hero of year 2004. As the story was in press, it was discovered that Gautam Goswami swindled public funds and was arrested. Gautam Goswami is still under suspension.
I had asked Adiga how he could defend his write up in Time on Gautam Goswami when every one in India knew how corrupt the Bihari Bureaucrat was. I had requested Adiga to atleast recant the story and apologize to public for shoddy reporting.
Adiga has not recanted story nor bothered to explain how he could oversee such massive corruption in the relief work!!!
That story should have got him Booker. Because that is a pure figment of Adiga’a imagination dressed up as reality.
Enjoy Adiga’s story on Time and then do a google search on Gautam Goswami to know the reality!!! Adiga has done a great disservice to poor of your country by colluding with powerful and corrupt bureaucrat
@sree reddy and others
Reading blogs related to karnataka have become a pain these days due to these language fights especially by bangalore kannadigas. Plz don’t participate in these kind of fights in future. Even i get insecure looking at my surroundings sometimes but what to do. we can only stive for our betterment by developing out entrepreneur and leadership skills.
btw, why worry about that tamil lady in japan. It takes years for a new kannada dvd to come to the market anyway.
>It takes years for a new kannada dvd to come to the market anyway.<
really, i have seen many dvd’s of Kannada movies in Benagluuru.
She is keeping not that latest ones (Tamil, hindi) in her shop.
Dont feel insecured. We are fighting for our and your security in Bengaluuru.
Your idea of acquiring entrepreneur skills more and more is welcome.
man..this Dr.Reddy dude is obsessed with this whole language row, everywhere he comments about the language n kannada. In one of his rows above he claims some guy’s name sounds Tamilian…sheesh…pardon the offense to ur ego Dr.reddy but ur name isnt kannadiga, Reddy is a telgu name so by that logic u urself aren’t kannadiga.
As far as the book is concerned, i agree with shyodha in that this whole writing about the poor in india in ENGLISH seems to appeal to the western ppl more. It is kinda getting boring when people in India can actually see towns gettin bigger and more “modernised and westernised” every day! I think neither the authors nor us educated readers should potray India only as a huge divide between the privileged rich and the oppressed deprived poor,or for that matter a bunch of bickering blitherin idiots fighting about everything from religion to caste to language. There is much more to our country and our ppl and we should potray that on a more global scale!
Aravind Adiga is a great fiction writer!!!. He planted pure fiction as news from India in Time while he was correspondent!!! I am happy that he is out of news reporting and found his true calling as fiction writer. BTW can we get Chidananda Rajghatta a Booker prize. He too has shown promise to write great fiction as Washington correspondent for Trash of India.
Good tat u kept ur postings to 2 paragraphs :) You should appreciate that Sree Reddy is taking so much concern on kannada being a teluguite. You need to be a kannadiga by your actions. Not by surname.
FYI Masti venkatesh Iyengar, Da ra bendre etc dont have kannada as their mother tongue. You can find thousands of telugu speaking people in karnataka who have mingled with kannada people unlike other people from other languages.
Be a sport. Its seems like your ego was hurt when everyone blasted you in some other post, that you are spewing venom on Reddy.
read the comments again pl. it was dr.reddy who started judging ppl acc. to surnames, so technicallly i was tryin to give him a dose of his own medicine so to say.
n bout the 2 paragraphs or long or short paragraphs, im not the only one who gives long ones, all of u have done it on some or the other article, so if u tell me i have to write short comments jus cos im new, blow me!
thirdly if being a kannadiga is done by behaving as though only kannada is suffering in this entire plethora of languages, then screw it. the fact is u r pushin more ppl away from kannada by whinin about kannada being neglected rather than promoting it and i m tryin to avoid that. So stop actin like you are the only ones in the entire world who are worried about
kannada or any other language for that matter!
I am she not he. 10 cents worth.
I see lot of hypocracy in your postings. Aren’t you the one who was suggesting everybody to learn other languages and speak national language? Why should you bother about me being a REDDY and supporting Kannada?
How dare you say that I am not a Kannadiga?
There is quite a sizable chunk of Kannada population who are like me. Just because you dont like a REDDY for the reasons best known to you, stop spewing venom.
Who is a Kannadiga? somebody like you who suggests people to learn and speak in national language Hindi?
People like you are a bane to Kannada and Karnataka.
As someone pointed out corrctly we have 22 national languages.
Kannada is a national language.
Please stop showing your frustration on me.
Thanks. You are right. Our actions should define us.
I pity that prajwal hasn’t read my posts at all and just keep accusing people what they are not.
@Dr. Sree Reddy,
Ignore this Prajwal chap – not so ujwal, he is yet another Inferior Kannadiga!
Just finished reading the book.
Is really a good read. Very entertaining and after a point you don’t want to keep the book down.
The premise of Balram Halwai (alias white tiger alias Ashok Sharma alias …) writing to a Chinese leader and describing his story takes a little getting used to, but once that sinks it, it is pure fun.
The story is the rise of the protagonist from a servant in his landlord’s house in the badlands of Bihar (‘the Darkness’) to an entrepreneur who runs a fleet of Toyota Qualis taxis for call centers in Bangalore.
The storyline is gripping and laced with funny but believable situations and great conversations. I thought the inner dialog of the white tiger as he plots and plans his way up are the highlight of the novel.
Definitely much more entertaining than the books I have read by other authors like Kiran Desai etc. And written by someone who has observed his subjects very closely.
Added to it the last part of the novel is set in Bangalore.
For fun (and if it is ok), here is a para from the last part (set in Bangalore):
Now, despite my amazing success story, I don’t want to lose contact with the places where I got my real education in life.
The road and the pavement.
I walk about Bangalore in the evenings, or in the early mornings, just to listen to the road.
One evening when I was near the train station, I saw a dozen or so manual laborers gathered together in front of a wall and talking in low tones. They were speaking in a strange language; they were the locals of the place. I didn’t have to understand their words to know what they were saying. In a city where so many had streamed in from outside, they were the ones left behind.
They were reading something on that wall. I wanted to see what it was, but they stopped their talking and crowded in front of the wall. I had to threaten to call the police before they parted and let me see what they had been reading.
It was a stenciled image of a pair of hands smashing its manacles:
THE GREAT SOCIALIST IS COMING TO BANGALORE.
If you haven’t done so already – go get a copy of the book and read it.
Dr. Sree Reddy:
Are you a ‘She’? I never knew!!!!
@ Vinay :)
Bolggers generally assume that it’s only males write.
How could anybody know?
However, I had mentioned earlier also in few posts. Even then people assume that I am he.
Yaak guru Vinay hennu andhre naalakku aashcharya suchaka chinnegalu?
@ AG, Vinay.
may be my style of writing.
Almost (more than ) a decade ago, I remember few medical students who had come from Tamil Naadu and were doing their internship in Delhi after talking to me, told my other friends ” Oh god we totally changed our idea of a woman”. So my friend asked what did I tell them. I dont know the reason. i just spoke about the student politics then.
Hoon Matthe! Ondu ‘Mental Image’ maadi ittidde – addike aaschcharya aaithu!
swalpa kuthuhaladinda kelthini. What was your mental image of me?
:) just curious.
Elderly (60+) gentleman with grey hair.
inferior kannadiga??? Inferior/ superior amongst kannadigas? gimme a break! This is the same attitude that makes the non kannadigas not respect kannada! Wait a minute, arent guys like u the ones opposing the caste system which was also based on the inferior and superior ideology? Sheesh, sometimes i end up thinking that, ppl who think like YOU were the ones who created the whole caste based divide!
Glad to know u are a lady, doesn’t change my attitude towards u one bit! Make no mistake, i don’t hate the ppl i do because of their names or surnames (LIKE U VERY NAIVELY SUGGESTED I HATE REDDYs)! I hate ppl whose thoughts, actions and behaviour i do not like, in ur case ur thoughts!
again I DO NOT HATE REDDYs or any other person, but in suggesting that u r telguite, i was using ur surname to show u are not exactly all pure kannadiga! JUST LIKE YOU said to alajan he seems to be Tamil and this u inferred from his NAME! (ur comment from the 22nd of october on this very article)
Looks to me like you do not read my comments; So u forfeit the right to accuse me of not reading urs, quite on the contrary i read every word of ur every comment! n all the other comments that i read for that matter!
:( 60 years enri.
My thoughts are that matured and based on lots of experience. ;)
Why are you I glad to know that I am MS REDDY?
You should not assume everybody who write here at Churumuri is a male. You are making a mistake there. It is always better to say he or she than use he as a universal gender. If you use he as the universal gender, you would be excluding all the females.
I am glad you dont hate REDDYS. I appreciate that. I speak Telugu at home but I am a pure Kannadathi. appata Kannadathi. My mother also says “manamu Kannadamollu”. :)
You should carefully read the entire bolg and my comments in particular
and have not accused Mr Jalan just for his name, accused bcoz of his comments. Even you dont seem to read people’s comments and understand the context. Read my comments in context.
In addition Prajwal
Unfortunately, in one of your comments your supporting the caste system and there by supporting caste divisions and discrimination.
@ Dr. reddy
I would grateful if u could point out this comment of mine where i am supporting “caste system” and if i realise i did so, i will apologise and correct/clarify myself!
had adiga been brought up in bangalore, he would have joined KRV goons and vandalized more saskens. Writing scripts to movies is any day a decent job compared to these violent activities. Thank god he was brought up in mangalore.
alias matured/experienced woman why don’t you criticize your own clan who has been indulged in konga bashing/discrimination.
All of you who condemned the book and the man without knowing much about either: Have you found the time to read it? Remember S. L. Bhyrappa’s “crucifiction” by journalists and novelists who had not had the time to read “Aavarana” before condeming it? They were too busy tryng to prevent the bloodshed the book was going to cause. About that time, Churumuri published an article by Gauri Lankesh which wondered whether Karnataka was turning into a Bihar of the South. Although her predictions were alarmist and hence not worth taking seriously, I could not help remembering her words when reading about the goondagiri of our elected representatives in the Vidhana Sabhe.