Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Casting the right shadow

The White Tiger...a Booker prize winner. I found it astoundingly brilliant not just because it is a coveted winner, but because it a very well written story in a simplistic manner. I can remember the characters, the analogies, the instances because it gets retained in the membrane because of this simplicity. But nothing matches the way it has been put across. The story unfolds through the plot of Balram Halwai writing a letter to the Chinese premier, in which he narrates the story of his life, the journey from rags to riches, how he became a entrepreneur from being a measly driver.

While The White Tiger was still in the run for the prize along with The Sea of Poppies, i came across some articles on these. Some journalists as well as fellow bloggers had commented on the rise of the Indian authors and how the world had started looking at Indian Fiction pieces as real art. However there was a counter agreement that most of the books of authors of Indian origin do well on the basic premise that these portray India as a third world developing country which is, on one side lauded as a technology superpower and on the other hand is gravely poverty stricken. The stark gap in these two Indias makes the book or the story an astonishing read for the western world. While most would argue that it may not be the best way to depict your motherland (My friend also commented on this in her blog) but we also need to agree that a majority of the state of affairs in our country are like this only!!!

The authors draw inspiration for their plots from their surroundings (at least i would like to think that) though am not sure about Mr. Adiga, Mr. Ghosh or Ms. Lahiri. I have been trying to pen down some thing myself and i have realised that the vast cultures and the stark happenings in our very own great nation provide great fodder for these stories. Indian authors are known for their humane stories and emotive abilities. The twists, twirls and tears in these stories do come from the people around. I have been in Mumbai for four years and every time I am standing on the Andheri station, i see hundreds of people around, hundreds of characters for hundreds of my plots; each one unique with a different tale to tell. Slumdog Millionaire won Golden Globe, depicting the life of a slum boy. For someone who has been to Mumbai even once in their lifetime, is it possible to overlook the slums spread all over? I guess not. This is a part of the answer to the question of why such stories and why such depiction of India. Our leaders have been glorifying the nation in the past and would continue to do so but it is we who know what it is like. So why blame the authors? It would be wrong to say that they are cashing on the deprived state of the country by trying to sell it. At least their hardwork is being recognised and rewarded and the Indian publishing industry is flourishing. Isn't it?


  1. I havent read the book!! But now i have heard so much about it that i think i will pick it up!!

    Yes, all the deprivation is there... everyday of our lives when traveling to work.. or anywhere , you will see slums, meet beggars.. but the point si, it is all too glorified!!! Its like promoting slum tourism! There are so many of who live in Mumbai.. liek you said.. millions of people .. why not their travesties.. their life.. at times this gets to me too!!!

  2. White Tiger was a treat!!! The rise of Indian authors has also seen the rise of simple language, very basic one sprinkled with Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati and many others make it a good read. Indians now find it easy to connect and although i am not aware of of Indian readers might have shooted. Given that Chetan Bhagat, Anurag Mathur are treating Indians, they are enjoying for sure.

  3. Our blend of slums, riches, glamor, honesty, beauty and many many others makes a good read!!! It sure is full of drama and has many ups and downs!!! Thats why Indians are rising!!! Then people should accept the truth about stark differences present in Indian culture or else correct it!!! Why, those at helm, blame the writers. Rags to Riches story is always a hit!!! Be it about a next-door boy or Richard Bach!