The White Tiger A Novel Aravind Adiga Free Press New York London Toronto Sydney FREE PRESS A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. Avenue of the. The White Tiger: A Novel. Home · The White Tiger: A Novel Author: Adiga Aravind. downloads Views KB White Tiger · Read more · White Tiger. The White Tiger is the debut novel of Indian author Aravind Adiga. The Two Faces Of Modern India In The Novel The White Tiger By Aravindadiga. Poor-Rich Divide in Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger.

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PDF | You love it; you hate it but you can't ignore it. Arvind Adiga in his Man Booker prize winning debut novel The White Tiger, portrays. PDF | Aravind Adiga's debut novel The White Tiger won the Booker Prize in The Booker Prize made him famous overnight and got an. Abstract: Aravind Adiga's The White Tiger, which was awarded the. Man Booker Prize in , is singular in its fictionalized portrayal of the relationship between.

Balram is an honest servant at first, devoted entirely to serving his master. However, the corrupt lives of his masters, their indulgent habits and lack of morals, soon pervades his simplicity and Balram starts desiring a life akin to that of the rich and powerful. In a gruesome twist of Fate, Balram murders his master Mr. Ashok, steals a large amount of money from him and escapes to Bangalore with his nephew Dharam.

In this new city, a new Balram discards his old identity and assumes the identity of his old master he becomes Mr. He uses the stolen money to open a small taxi service. Making good use of the business values he learnt from his master, Balrams business expands rapidly. At the end of the book, he is a rich man owning a successful taxi service business with twenty six vehicles and sixteen drivers.

The White Tiger, Adigas debut novel, has been widely acclaimed for its portrayal of India. However, the corrupt lives of his masters, their indulgent habits and lack of morals, soon pervades his simplicity and Balram starts desiring a life akin to that of the rich and powerful. In a gruesome twist of Fate, Balram murders his master Mr.

Ashok, steals a large amount of money from him and escapes to Bangalore with his nephew Dharam. In this new city, a new Balram discards his old identity and assumes the identity of his old master he becomes Mr. He uses the stolen money to open a small taxi service.

The White Tiger

Making good use of the business values he learnt from his master, Balrams business expands rapidly. At the end of the book, he is a rich man owning a successful taxi service business with twenty six vehicles and sixteen drivers. The White Tiger, Adigas debut novel, has been widely acclaimed for its portrayal of India. It won the Man Booker Prize in I know by heart the works of the four greatest poets of all time—Rumi, Iqbal, Mirza Ghalib, and a fourth fellow whose name I forget. I am a self-taught entrepreneur.

That's the best kind there is, trust me. When you have heard the story of how I got to Bangalore and became one of its most successful though probably least known businessmen, you will know everything there is to know about how entrepreneurship is born, nurtured, and developed in this, the glorious twenty-first century of man.

The century, more specifically, of the yellow and the brown man. You and me. It is a little before midnight now, Mr. A good time for me to talk. I stay up the whole night, Your Excellency. And there's no one else in this square-foot office of mine. Just me and a chandelier above me, although the chandelier has a personality of its own. It's a huge thing, full of small diamond-shaped glass pieces, just like the ones they used to show in the films of the s. Though it's cool enough at night in Bangalore, I've put a midget fan— five cobwebby blades—right above the chandelier.

See, when it turns, the small blades chop up the chandelier's light and fling it across the room. Just like the strobe light at the best discos in Bangalore. This is the only square-foot space in Bangalore with its own chandelier! But it's still a hole in the wall, and I sit here the whole night.

The entrepreneur's curse. He has to watch his business all the time.

Now I'm going to turn the midget fan on, so that the chandelier's light spins around the room. I am relaxed, sir. As I hope you are.

Let us begin. Before we do that, sir, the phrase in English that I learned from my ex-employer the late Mr. Ashok's ex-wife Pinky Madam is: What a fucking joke. It is an ancient and venerated custom of people in my country to start a story by praying to a Higher Power.

The White Tiger

I guess, Your Excellency, that I too should start off by kissing some god's arse. Which god's arse, though? There are so many choices. See, the Muslims have one god. The Christians have three gods. And we Hindus have 36,, gods. Making a grand total of 36,, divine arses for me to choose from. Now, there are some, and I don't just mean Communists like you, but thinking men of all political parties, who think that not many of these gods actually exist.

Some believe that none of them exist. There's just us and an ocean of darkness around us. I'm no philosopher or poet, how would I know the truth? It's true that all these gods seem to do awfully little work—much like our politicians—and yet keep winning reelection to their golden thrones in heaven, year after year. That's not to say that I don't respect them, Mr. Don't you ever let that blasphemous idea into your yellow skull. My country is the kind where it pays to play it both ways: I'm closing my eyes, folding my hands in a reverent namaste, and praying to the gods to shine light on my dark story.

Bear with me, Mr. This could take a while. How quickly do you think you could kiss 36,, arses? My eyes are open again. A statutory warning—as they say on cigarette packs—before we begin. One day, as I was driving my ex-employers Mr. Ashok put a hand on my shoulder, and said, "Pull over to the side. Ashok asked, "how many planets are there in the sky? Ashok leaned back and asked Pinky Madam, "Did you hear his answers?

That's really what he thinks the correct answers are. He can read and write, but he doesn't get what he's read. He's half-baked. The country is full of people like him, I'll tell you that. And we entrust our glorious parliamentary democracy"—he pointed at me—"to characters like these.

That's the whole tragedy of this country. He was right, sir—I didn't like the way he had spoken about me, but he was right. Me, and thousands of others in this country like me, are half-baked, because we were never allowed to complete our schooling. Open our skulls, look in with a penlight, and you'll find an odd museum of ideas: The story of my upbringing is the story of how a half-baked fellow is produced.

But pay attention, Mr. Fully formed fellows, after twelve years of school and three years of university, wear nice suits, join companies, and take orders from other men for the rest of their lives.

Entrepreneurs are made from half-baked clay. The one the police made of me. Calling myself Bangalore's least known success story isn't entirely true, I confess. About three years ago, when I became, briefly, a person of national importance owing to an act of entrepreneurship, a poster with my face on it found its way to every post office, railway station, and police station in this country.

A lot of people saw my face and name back then. I don't have the original paper copy, but I've downloaded an image to my silver Macintosh laptop—I bought it online from a store in Singapore, and it really works like a dream—and if you'll wait a second, I'll open the laptop, pull that scanned poster up, and read from it directly… But a word about the original poster. I found it in a train station in Hyderabad, in the period when I was traveling with no luggage—except for one very heavy red bag—and coming down from Delhi to Bangalore.

I had the original right here in this office, in the drawer of this desk, for a full year. One day the cleaning boy was going through my stuff, and he almost found the poster. I'm not a sentimental man, Mr. Entrepreneurs can't afford to be. So I threw the thing out—but before that, I got someone to teach me scanning—and you know how we Indians just take to technology like ducks to water.

It took just an hour, or two hours. And here it is, on the screen, in front of me: Between 25 and Five feet four inches estimated. Thin, small.

Well, that's not exactly right anymore, sir. The "blackish face" bit is still true—although I'm of half a mind to try one of those skin-whitener creams they've launched these days so Indian men can look white as Westerners—but the rest, alas, is completely useless. Life in Bangalore is good—rich food, beer, nightclubs, so what can I say! I am in better shape these days! But let us go on, we don't have all night.

I'd better explain this bit right now. Balram Halwai alias MUNNA… See, my first day in school, the teacher made all the boys line up and come to his desk so he could put our names down in his register. When I told him what my name was, he gaped at me: That's not a real name. It was true. I'd never been given a name. She lies in bed and spews blood.

She's got no time to name me. He's got no time to name me. He licked his lips. Wait—don't we have a Ram in this class? I don't want any confusion. It'll be Balram. You know who Balram was, don't you? Know what my name is? He shrugged. Later on, of course, I picked up a third name. But we'll get to that. Now, what kind of place is it where people forget to name their children? Referring back to the poster: The suspect comes from the village of Laxmangarh, in the… Like all good Bangalore stories, mine begins far away from Bangalore.

You see, I am in the Light now, but I was born and raised in Darkness. But this is not a time of day I talk about, Mr.

I am talking of a place in India, at least a third of the country, a fertile place, full of rice fields and wheat fields and ponds in the middle of those fields choked with lotuses and water lilies, and water buffaloes wading through the ponds and chewing on the lotuses and lilies. Those who live in this place call it the Darkness.

Please understand, Your Excellency, that India is two countries in one: The ocean brings light to my country. Every place on the map of India near the ocean is well off. But the river brings darkness to India—the black river. Which black river am I talking of—which river of Death, whose banks are full of rich, dark, sticky mud whose grip traps everything that is planted in it, suffocating and choking and stunting it? Why, I am talking of Mother Ganga, daughter of the Vedas, river of illumination, protector of us all, breaker of the chain of birth and rebirth.

Everywhere this river flows, that area is the Darkness.

One fact about India is that you can take almost anything you hear about the country from the prime minister and turn it upside down and then you will have the truth about that thing.

Jiabao, I urge you not to dip in the Ganga, unless you want your mouth full of feces, straw, soggy parts of human bodies, buffalo carrion, and seven different kinds of industrial acids. I know all about the Ganga, sir—when I was six or seven or eight years old no one in my village knows his exact age , I went to the holiest spot on the banks of the Ganga—the city of Benaras.

I remember going down the steps of a downhill road in the holy city of Benaras, at the rear of a funeral procession carrying my mother's body to the Ganga. Kusum, my granny, was leading the procession. Sly old Kusum! She had this habit of rubbing her forearms hard when she felt happy, as if it were a piece of ginger she was grating to release grins from.

Her teeth were all gone, but this only made her grin more cunning. She had grinned her way into control of the house; every son and daughter-in-law lived in fear of her. My father and Kishan, my brother, stood behind her, to bear the front end of the cane bed which bore the corpse; my uncles, who are Munnu, Jayram, Divyram, and Umesh, stood behind, holding up the other end.

My mother's body had been wrapped from head to toe in a saffron silk cloth, which was covered in rose petals and jasmine garlands. I don't think she had ever had such a fine thing to wear in her life. Her death was so grand that I knew, all at once, that her life must have been miserable.

My family was guilty about something. My aunts—Rabri, Shalini, Malini, Luttu, Jaydevi, and Ruchi—kept turning around and clapping their hands for me to catch up to them. I remember swinging my hands and singing, "Shiva's name is the truth! I smelled the river before I saw it: I sang louder: A wooden platform had been built by the edge of the ghat, just above the water; logs were piled up on the platform, and men with axes were smashing the logs.

Chunks of wood were being built into funeral pyres on the steps of the ghat that went down into the water; four bodies were burning on the ghat steps when we got there. We waited our turn. In the distance, an island of white sand glistened in the sunlight, and boats full of people were heading to that island. I wondered if my mother's soul had flown there, to that shining place in the river.

I have mentioned that my mother's body was wrapped in a silk cloth. This cloth was now pulled over her face; and logs of wood, as many as we could pay for, were piled on top of the body. Then the priest set my mother on fire. I watched my mother.

As the fire ate away the silk, a pale foot jerked out, like a living thing; the toes, which were melting in the heat, began to curl up, offering resistance to what was being done to them. Kusum shoved the foot into the fire, but it would not burn. My heart began to race. My mother wasn't going to let them destroy her.

Underneath the platform with the piled-up fire logs, there was a giant oozing mound of black mud where the river washed into the shore. The mound was littered with ribbons of jasmine, rose petals, bits of satin, charred bones; a pale-skinned dog was crawling and sniffing through the petals and satin and charred bones.

I looked at the ooze, and I looked at my mother's flexed foot. This mud was holding her back: She was trying to fight the black mud; her toes were flexed and resisting; but the mud was sucking her in, sucking her in. It was so thick, and more of it was being created every moment as the river washed into the ghat.

Soon she would become part of the black mound and the pale-skinned dog would start licking her. And then I understood: The same would happen to me when I died and they brought me here.

Nothing would get liberated here. I stopped breathing. This was the first time in my life I fainted. I haven't been back to see the Ganga since then: I'm leaving that river for the American tourists! This is a famous district—world-famous. Your nation's history has been shaped by my district, Mr. Surely you've heard of Bodh Gaya—the town where the Lord Buddha sat under a tree and found his enlightenment and started Buddhism, which then spread to the whole world, including China—and where is it, but right here in my home district!

Just a few miles from Laxmangarh! I wonder if the 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!

There is a small branch of the Ganga that flows just outside Laxmangarh; boats come down from the world outside, bringing supplies every Monday. There is one street in the village; a bright strip of sewage splits it into two. On either side of the ooze, a market: Inside, you will find an image of a saffron-colored creature, half man half monkey: Do you know about Hanuman, sir?

He was the faithful servant of the god Rama, and we worship him in our temples because he is a shining example of how to serve your masters with absolute fidelity, love, and devotion.

These are the kinds of gods they have foisted on us, Mr. Understand, now, how hard it is for a man to win his freedom in India.

Works Cited

So much for the place. Now for the people. Your Excellency, I am proud to inform you that Laxmangarh is your typical Indian village paradise, adequately supplied with electricity, running water, and working telephones; and that the children of my village, raised on a nutritious diet of meat, eggs, vegetables, and lentils, will be found, when examined with tape measure and scales, to match up to the minimum height and weight standards set by the United Nations and other organizations whose treaties our prime minister has signed and whose forums he so regularly and pompously attends.

Electricity poles—defunct. Water tap—broken. Children—too lean and short for their age, and with oversized heads from which vivid eyes shine, like the guilty conscience of the government of India. Yes, a typical Indian village paradise, Mr. One day I'll have to come to China and see if your village paradises are any better.

Down the middle of the main road, families of hogs are sniffing through sewage—the upper body of each animal is dry, with long hairs that are matted together into spines; the lower half of the body is peat-black and glistening from sewage. Vivid red and brown flashes of feather— roosters fly up and down the roofs of the house.

Past the hogs and roosters, you'll get to my house—if it still exists. At the doorway to my house, you'll see the most important member of my family. The water buffalo. She was the fattest thing in our family; this was true in every house in the village. All day long, the women fed her and fed her fresh grass; feeding her was the main thing in their lives. All their hopes were concentrated in her fatness, sir.

If she gave enough milk, the women could sell some of it, and there might be a little more money at the end of the day. She was a fat, glossy-skinned creature, with a vein the size of a boy's penis sticking out over her hairy snout, and long thick pearly spittle suspended from the edge of her mouth; she sat all day in her own stupendous crap.

She was the dictator of our house! Once you walk into the house, you will see—if any of them are still living, after what I did—the women. Working in the courtyard. My aunts and cousins and Kusum, my granny. One of them preparing the meal for the buffalo; one winnowing rice; one squatting down, looking through the scalp of another woman, squeezing the ticks to death between her fingers.

Every now and then they stop their work, because it is time to fight. This means throwing metal vessels at one another, or pulling each other's hair, and then making up, by putting kisses on their palms and pressing them to the others' cheeks. At night they sleep together, their legs falling one over the other, like one creature, a millipede.

The White Tiger: A Novel

Men and boys sleep in another corner of the house. Early morning. The roosters are going mad throughout the village. A hand stirs me awake…I shake my brother Kishan's legs off my tummy, move my cousin Pappu's palm out of my hair, and extricate myself from the sleepers.

I run behind him. We go out of the house and untie the water buffalo from her post. We are taking her for her morning bath—all the way to the pond beneath the Black Fort. The Black Fort stands on the crest of a hill overlooking the village. People who have been to other countries have told me that this fort is as beautiful as anything seen in Europe.

The Turks, or the Afghans, or the English, or whichever foreigners were then ruling India, must have built the fort centuries ago. For this land, India, has never been free. First the Muslims, then the British bossed us around. In the British left, but only a moron would think that we became free then. Now the foreigners have long abandoned the Black Fort, and a tribe of monkeys occupy it.

No one else goes up, except for a goatherd taking his flock to graze there. At sunrise, the pond around the base of the fort glows. Boulders from the walls of the fort have rolled down the hill and tumbled into the pond, where they lie, moist and half submerged in the muddy water, like the snoozing hippopotamuses that I would see, many years later, at the National Zoo at New Delhi. Lotuses and lilies float all over the pond, the water sparkles like silver, and the water buffalo wades, chewing on the leaves of the lilies, and setting off ripples that spread in big V's from her snout.

The sun rises over the buffalo, and over my father, and over me, and over my world. Sometimes, would you believe, I almost miss that place.

Only a policeman could have made up a detail like that. I flatly deny it. Those are the kinds of clothes, sir, that would appeal to a servant's eye. And I was still a servant on the morning of the day this poster was made. By the evening I was free—and wearing different clothes! Now, there is one phrase in this poster that does annoy me—let me go back to it for a moment and fix it: Vikram Halwai, rickshaw-puller—thank you!

My father was a poor man, but he was a man of honor and courage. I wouldn't be here, under this chandelier, if not for his guidance. In the afternoons, I went from my school to the tea shop to see him.

This tea shop was the central point of our village; the bus from Gaya stopped there at noon every day never late by more than an hour or two and the policemen would park their jeep here when they came to bugger someone in the village. A little before sunset, a man circled around the tea shop three times, ringing his bell loudly.

A stiff cardboard-backed poster for a pornographic film was tied to the back of his cycle—what traditional Indian village is complete without its blue-movie theater, sir? Premier, since it's not like I ever joined the other young men and went to see one of these films!

The rickshaw-pullers parked their vehicles in a line outside the tea shop, waiting for the bus to disgorge its passengers. They were not allowed to sit on the plastic chairs put out for the customers; they had to crouch near the back, in that hunched-over, squatting posture common to servants in every part of India.

My father never crouched—I remember that. He preferred to stand, no matter how long he had to wait and how uncomfortable it got for him. I would find him shirtless, usually alone, drinking tea and thinking.

Then there would be the honk of a car. The hogs and stray dogs near the tea shop would scatter, and the smell of dust, and sand, and hog shit would blow into the shop. A white Ambassador car had stopped outside. My father put down his teacup and went out.

The door of the Ambassador opened: The man with the notebook was not the Buffalo; he was the assistant. There was another fellow inside the Ambassador; a stout one with a bald, brown, dimpled head, a serene expression on his face, and a shotgun on his lap. He was the Buffalo. The Buffalo was one of the landlords in Laxmangarh. There were three others, and each had got his name from the peculiarities of appetite that had been detected in him.

The Stork was a fat man with a fat mustache, thick and curved and pointy at the tips.

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He owned the river that flowed outside the village, and he took a cut of every catch of fish caught by every fisherman in the river, and a toll from every boatman who crossed the river to come to our village.

His brother was called the Wild Boar. This fellow owned all the good agricultural land around Laxmangarh. If you wanted to work on those lands, you had to bow down to his feet, and touch the dust under his slippers, and agree to swallow his day wages.

When he passed by women, his car would stop; the windows would roll down to reveal his grin; two of his teeth, on either side of his nose, were long and curved, like little tusks.

The Raven owned the worst land, which was the dry, rocky hillside around the fort, and took a cut from the goatherds who went up there to graze with their flocks. If they didn't have their money, he liked to dip his beak into their backsides, so they called him the Raven.

The Buffalo was greediest of the lot. He had eaten up the rickshaws and the roads. So if you ran a rickshaw, or used the road, you had to pay him his feed—one-third of whatever you earned, no less.

All four of the Animals lived in high-walled mansions just outside Laxmangarh—the landlords' quarters. They had their own temples inside the mansions, and their own wells and ponds, and did not need to come out into the village except to feed.

Once upon a time, the children of the four Animals went around town in their own cars; Kusum remembered those days.

But after the Buffalo's son had been kidnapped by the Naxals—perhaps you've heard about them, Mr. Jiabao, since they're Communists, just like you, and go around shooting rich people on principle—the four Animals had sent their sons and daughters away, to Dhanbad or to Delhi. Their children were gone, but the Animals stayed and fed on the village, and everything that grew in it, until there was nothing left for anyone else to feed on.

So the rest of the village left Laxmangarh for food. Each year, all the men in the village waited in a big group outside the tea shop. When the buses came, they got on—packing the inside, hanging from the railings, climbing onto the roofs—and went to Gaya; there they went to the station and rushed into the trains—packing the inside, hanging from the railings, climbing onto the roofs—and went to Delhi, Calcutta, and Dhanbad to find work.

A month before the rains, the men came back from Dhanbad and Delhi and Calcutta, leaner, darker, angrier, but with money in their pockets. The women were waiting for them. They hid behind the door, and as soon as the men walked in, they pounced, like wildcats on a slab of flesh.

There was fighting and wailing and shrieking. My uncles would resist, and managed to keep some of their money, but my father got peeled and skinned every time. The women would feed him after they fed the buffalo. I would come to him, and play around with him, by climbing his back, and passing my palm over his forehead—over his eyes—over his nose—and down to his neck, to the little depression at the pit of his neck.

I would let my finger linger there—it still is my favorite part of the human body. A rich man's body is like a premium cotton pillow, white and soft and blank. Ours are different. My father's spine was a knotted rope, the kind that women use in villages to pull water from wells; the clavicle curved around his neck in high relief, like a dog's collar; cuts and nicks and scars, like little whip marks in his flesh, ran down his chest and waist, reaching down below his hip bones into his buttocks.

The story of a poor man's life is written on his body, in a sharp pen. My uncles also did backbreaking work, but they did what everyone else did. Each year, as soon as it began raining, they would go out to the fields with blackened sickles, begging one landlord or the other for some work. Then they cast seed, cut weeds, and harvested corn and paddy. My father could have worked with them; he could have worked with the landlords' mud, but he chose not to.

He chose to fight it. Now, since I doubt that you have rickshaw-pullers in China—or in any other civilized nation on earth—you will have to see one for yourself. Rickshaws are not allowed inside the posh parts of Delhi, where foreigners might see them and gape. Insist on going to Old Delhi, or Nizamuddin— there you'll see the road full of them—thin, sticklike men, leaning forward from the seat of a bicycle, as they pedal along a carriage bearing a pyramid of middle-class flesh—some fat man with his fat wife and all their shopping bags and groceries.

And when you see these stick-men, think of my father. Rickshaw-puller he may have been—a human beast of burden—but my father was a man with a plan.

I was his plan. One day he lost his temper at home and began yelling at the women. This was the day they told him that I had not been going to class. He did something he had never dared do before—he yelled at Kusum: Munna must read and write! She yelled back: He's a coward, and he eats too much.

Put him to work in the tea shop and let him make some money. I crawled behind my father's back as they told him the story of my cowardice. Now, you may find it incredible that a boy in a village would be frightened of a lizard.

Rats, snakes, monkeys, and mongooses don't bother me at all. On the contrary—I love animals. But lizards…each time I see one, no matter how tiny, it's as if I turn into a girl. My blood freezes. There was a giant cupboard in my classroom, whose door was always slightly ajar—no one knew what it was there for. One morning, the door creaked open, and a lizard jumped out. It was light green in color, like a half-ripe guava. Its tongue flicked in and out of its mouth. It was at least two feet long.

The other boys barely noticed. Until someone saw my face. They gathered in a circle around me. Two of them pinned my hands behind my back and held my head still. Someone caught the thing in his hands, and began walking toward me with slow, exaggerated steps. Making no noise— only flicking its red tongue in and out of its mouth—the lizard came closer and closer to my face. The laughter grew louder. I couldn't make a noise. The teacher was snoring at his desk behind me.

The lizard's face came right up to my face; and then it opened its light green mouth, and then I fainted for the second time in my life. I had not gone back to school since that day. My father did not laugh when he heard the story. He took a deep breath; I felt his chest expanding against me.

His mother told me he'd be the one who made it through school. His mother said—" "Oh, to hell with his mother! Now listen to me: It was dawn; the place was empty. We pushed the door open. A dim blue light filled the classroom. Now, our schoolteacher was a big paan-and-spit man—and his expectorate made a sort of low, red wallpaper on three walls around us.Get lost, at once—" "I don't gossip about my masters, I don't steal, I don't blaspheme. You see, I am in the Light now, but I was born and raised in Darkness.

We went through dim streets and markets. This was the first time in my life I fainted. Where do you think his self-interest begins?

A little before sunset, a man circled around the tea shop three times, ringing his bell loudly. I don't think she had ever had such a fine thing to wear in her life. The seasonal exodus to the cities in search of jobs is something that defines the villager.