Thursday, December 11, 2008

REVEIWING The White Tiger

The White Tiger is a dark, compelling, thought-provoking, stark and a blatantly naked novel. It is a gripping tale of how Munna, aka Balram halwai, aka Ashok Sharma, aka the white tiger , struggles against his sordid birth and background which is so poverty and misfortune stricken. Balram finally succeeds in vanquishing his enemy , that is indigence and penury and frees himself from the shackles of servitude, but not before terminating the life of his very employer Mr.Ashok Sharma whom he would have loved to call [the Lamb].

It is indeed a very different and thought provoking situation, because unlike any other case, where the perpetrator of violence and murder is either provoked, angered, humiliated, beaten, avenged or dealt with harshly by his victim, in this case, the murderer, Balram Halwai does not harp any such angst against his meek, considerate and caring master. He just kills him coldly and later feels sorry for the deceased ! He would rather have killed his elder brother [ the Mongoose], against whom he harps enough disdain, or even their father, [ the Stork, THE GREAT SOCIALIST].

But Balram is a killer with a purpose. He loathes his lifelong servility, having to grovel and toady every now and then. He has BIG dreams. Dreams to quit being a driver. Dreams to become rich. Dream to be an entrepreneur.

Thus his chance journey away from the murky village of Darkness , to Delhi, the Light, is fraught with struggles. The readers are of course supplied with acrid humour, showing the utter despondancy of our protagonist who is on his plight to become The White Tiger. Yes, he achieves all his dreams.

The narration is addressed to The Premier Of China. Why China ? He already expresses his admiation for three nations in the early part of his novel, the two others being Afghanistan and Abyssinia as they never let themselves be ruled by foreigners. It is indeed exemplary, how this ' half-baked clay' rises from filth to fecundity.

THE WHITE TIGER, with its dark plot makes for a compelling read.