Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The White Tiger

"The dreams of the rich, and the dreams of the poor- they never overlap, do they? See, the poor dream all their lives of getting enough to eat and looking like the rich. And what do the rich dream of? Losing weight and looking like the poor. "

Aravind Adiga's brand of wit shines through the 2008 Man Booker Prize winner, The White Tiger.

Receiving rave reviews, this book is a clear winner right from the start. It had left me captivated the minute i read the first page, igniting contained laughter, for fear of being mistaken as a lunatic. The sypnosis of the books describes the "writer" as a complicated man, who's a servant, philosopher, entrepreneur, murderer.

It was peppered with wit throughout the book, and at times, dark humour. You could probably pity Balram's master, who treated Balram with much kindness, but suffered a fate that one didn't think that he was deserving of. But, the point is, at some point in time, the sympathy somewhat fades away when you realise that this is a true reflection of what is really happening in India. The caste system, the corruption, the poverty levels, the education levels. While it is a rising country with an incredible economic development the last decade, some problems just remain rooted. Looking at how the Slumdog Millionaire's child actors got evicted from their slum homes, it's just mere proof of the economic condition.

In view of such an economic condition and wide divide between the rich and the poor, one can't help but to empathise with Balram, who basically fixates himself on the mindset on to each his own. He can feign his piousness for his religion just to get into his master's good books, pinch a few pennies here and there, and the ultimate was his Master's ending, which he did not deserve, till we realise that Balram was once betrayed as well.

This book is written with incredible wit and beneath the layers of dark humour, lies a reflection of a true society, one that is divided by castes, by corruption. Beyond the rapid development of the country, this exposes a story of rich people who become richer and poor people becoming poorer. And to break out of this vicious cycle, the only option might just to be ammoral. Ironic really, how after he breaks out of his poverty, he starts thinking like one from the other league. And it goes on and on. A vicious cycle.


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