How about deglamourizing a tiger? How about seeing a regal beast stripped of its regality and reduced to a meowing creature asking for pity?

Well, it would be nice. Isn’t it? The thing we feared at a point of time, it asking for mercy from us.

There might well be a morbid pleasure in it, but you can’t deny, it sells.

That is the card Aravind Adiga plays when he writes “the White Tiger”. It is for this first book of his, the financial Journalist and the book reviewer has won the Man Booker Prize – or the Booker Prize for the commons.

I was under an impression from a long time, that you have to be a skilled writer, and of course a well seasoned one, to bag a Booker Prize. But only to be proved wrong. And that too, by my own fellow country man. Shouldn’t I be pleased, and overjoyed, and proud? Like I am when I think of Rabindranath Tagore cloak-pocketing the Nobel Prize for Geetanjali? But somehow, I am not. Why? well, that needs a bit of explaining.

We all know Aravind Adiga has won the Booker Prize for the year 2008. But has anyone wondered what does it take to win a Booker Prize? What are the criteria for winning the Booker Prize? I do not know. But surely Aravind did and does. He used to work as a financial Journalist for different publications like Money and the Wall Street Journal, and no doubt it is a tough world out there. You need to be as smart as hell to survive. Aravind was. And this smartness of his probably helped him to learn the chemistry for winning the Booker prize when he penned the review of the Booker-winning novel of Peter Carey- Oscar and Lucinda.

Officially, the Booker Prize is commenced by an advisory committee comprising of an author, a literary agent,a librarian, two publishers, a bookseller, and a chairperson appointed by the Prize Foundation. this committee, then selects a judging panel from leading writers, literary critics, academics as well as notable public figures. But it is seemingly impossible for the commoners like to know what happens behind the curtains.

And I daresay, it all happens behind he curtains.

For those of you, who have not yet read this now-unputdownable piece of writing, here is the jist of the plot: The White Tiger is about Balram Halwai, a young man from India. He lives in a poor village but gets a big break when he lands a job working as a driver for a rich family who has business connections with the Indian government. And how Balram experiences the social injustice of and the poverty of India in its booming time. The book tells us how Delhi’s servants live in rotting basements below the glass apartment blocks that are home to their employers. He tells of how influential families bribe government ministers, and how national elections are rigged. None of this is untrue, but to commercialize it is even worse. Like Khaled Hossaini did in his debut “The kite runner”. He traded the crude Afghan picture and tailor-made it for his own benefit.

The Western World, mostly EU and the US is going through hard times. Possibly through the worst possible financial crisis since the great depression. Most people over there, blame India for this recession. According to them, this country is taking away their jobs and pushing them towards the cliff. It is a very good idea financially and ‘awardically’ to antagoinize India, and play on the sentiments. Only two days back, I came across an article stating that reading habit has increased in the States in this harsh time. People are looking for an way out from the reality. They are escaping to a world of fiction.

Aravind Adiga was too shrewd to overlook this possibility. He knew very well this is right time to vilify India. to show a side of India that his potential readers would love to see. They would love to see the the tiger they hate, is full of social injustice and “ewww” type poverty. It will be even better to know it from an ‘insider’- an Indian. And the advisory committee of the Booker comprising of booksellers and publishers knew that too. And the rest is behind the flowery curtains…..

Ingrijite keno likhechhi? besh korechhi. Aamar blog, aami jaa ichchhe taai korbo!

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