Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The White Tiger

I have been meaning to read this book for a long time. It being an award winning  book and all. I had a copy but never managed to read it. Finally, thanks to K and his awesome gift of the Kindle, I was able to read it.

The book is an autobiographical tale of a driver - Balram Halwai. He comes from a part of India which he claims to be the 'Darkness'. The story is of his metamorphosis from a quaint villager to cut throat entrepreneur. The book's theme had a lot of semblance with Rohinton Mistry's A Fine Balance. But while the  latter evokes ones sympathy and pathos, this book heckles. The book makes one feel repentant for having the simplest conveniences. The blatant sarcasm in the narrative borders on being psychotic. The journey into the tortured mind of Balram Halwai is not a painless one. It is pure gore as the reader is brought face to face with the everyday torments of an underprivileged person who has masters brutalizing him with tasks, family members eyeing his meagre earnings, peers waiting to pounce and upset his applecart. It is not easy to live a life between the devil and the deep sea with some dragons thrown in for good measure. 

The first three quarters of the book are especially engrossing. It is not a fresh tale but the style sure is. The very blatant and rude way in which the words are put are captivating. Somehow the book looses pace in the climax. It becomes a bit pedantic. I think maybe the reader gets used to Balram Halwai's brusque tone so much that even a little dilution in the same seems out of character. 

The book is a good read for the way its been written. There have been umpteen tales about the sordid underbelly of India. This is yet another take on it. Go ahead and get tormented. 

My favourite from the book :-

I wonder if Buddha walked through Laxmangarh - some people say he did. My own feeling is that he ran through it - as fast as he could - and got to the other side - and never looked back!


I'll try 2 be truthful said...

Glad that you reviewed it , few people in my circle have read it :)

It is of course an unputdownable book, it captures you on so many levels, especially us who being city bred and having all the basic comforts could only guess what coming from the 'darkness' means.

It had invoked so many feelings in me , the shock, the empathy , the crudeness and yes of course the ending and somewhere down the line it also felt 'pedantic' (thank god you used it , I don't know why I couldn't describe that feeling using this simple word :) )

There are lines like the one you mentioned which invoke poignant thoughts and on a lighter note I still remember that his son liked pizza hehe !

Renu said...

I read it earlier and didnt like it for the way it seems to say that if you have been victimised become a murdered and kill everybody..thats not the solution. secondly it degardes our industrialists by insinuating that everybody becomes big by doing what laxman did.

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