The White Tiger

Finally, I got my hands on Aravind Adiga's debut novel. After a lot of weeks of waiting for it, hungrily reading excerpts wherever I could, vainly searching for a pdf all over ebook sites like esnips and going to Om Book shop twice just to be told that they were expecting it 'tomorrow' (both times)... I've got it. Luck has finally landed me with a copy and how. When least expecting it, Dad back from work, handed me a copy fishing it out from underneath several grocery items. If I had been sitting down, then I would have reeled - such was my surprise.

"Gosh were did you get it??" I asked Dad.
He smiled but didn't answer. I felt he was waiting for me to guess. I inspected it with scrutiny. No plastic bag except for a thin and slightly scarred cellophane covering. "Wait, wait! Which signal?" I asked. "Moti Bagh" he said, laughing. But his expression of mirth at once become somewhat grave. " I can't help feeling bad for Adiga. Can you imagine how much he'll lose in sales because of book piracy?" I didn't reply but just gave dad a stupid smile. I was too ecstatic to do anything but.

Probably if I was a little more sober I would have reiterated what Jeffrey archer had said when he came to India this year, which was something of this sort - "I've been told that in India, you're a good enough author only if you're books are sold at pavements and traffic signals."
But such is the tragedy of life: You don't always get to express what you would like to when the moment calls for it. What's more, it stings painfully when you get that perfect retort or witty on-liner hours later, when all the matter is done and dusted. All one can say then is 'Humph!'. So I did just that right now.

Anyway back to the book. I tore off the the cover like a hungry kid who'd just been given a bag of chips. I read the blurb and I examined the print and the cover which, quite remarkably was of a very good quality. It looked so much like the real thing that it would leave even the publishers stunned, save for a slight darkening of the back cover, probably due to the photocopying.
Whatever the hell, it looked nice.

"Tell me when you finish it, so I can read it". It was Dad's voice which brought me back to reality. Then to a sense of angst. I was in the middle of a PG Wodehouse. What use was stopping at page 73 to start and finish another book just to pick up where I had left off, having forgotten much of the already read part. To leave it all when I was in the thick of things was not an option. I never do usually leave books half-read. Unless you'd like to count "self-help" crap as books. But never fiction.

Well now I'm down to just 80 or so more pages of The girl in blue. Seems I just have to finish it. Curse you Wodehouse. Curse you and your engaging Wodehousian wit!


Anirudh Garg said...

nice thing said by jeffery archer :)

Asneel said... wodehouse that good?

Espèra said...

It's THAT good?
I've seen it lying around in my library plenty of times ... :S

JT 26 said...

when u finish it,give it to me...:)btw i jus need to pen down that character....i am not jus getting the time ....but seriously its like one empty ocean ,one empty boat and loads of sailors waiting to sail to another world.....

Quicksilver said...

Anirudh -

It is really...damn how I wish I could have said that.

Asneel -

Yes, it is. Especially if you have a penchant for witty British humour, with utopian love stories in each book. If you enjoy happy endings, read Wodehouse, though it may feel a little dated.

Espera -

Yes. Yes it is. Read my reply to Asneel.
If you have one at hand, there is no reason that you musn't read it, probably you'll enjoy it. I've read his golf stories and like it very much, even with my negligible knowledge of golf.

JT 26 -

I'm guessing that you're adi. What does 26 mean?
After I've read it, I will give it to you, no probs.

Ankur Banerjee said...

I was looking for the book too, and Teksons always keeps saying 'tomorrow'. His second book - 'Between The Assassinations' - is crap and only got published because of his Booker win.

Anirudh Garg said...


even if u wud one wud have cared to publish it in national newspapers :|

aditi.c. said...

i finished it yesterday.. a good read..although one has to appreciate the dark sides.. waitin 4 ur views on d same n btw very cool blog.. got used to the compliments already? :)

Espèra said...

Ah. Well, Wodehouse I know. And dated British stories, I like. You ever read William Browns by Richmal Crompton?

Quicksilver said...

Ankur -

You can't really trust most bookstores except maybe for fact and fiction and oxfords.

I read a excerpt of BTA some time ago in brunch and I thought it was kinda nice. Probably the reast of it doesn't work out.

Anirudh -

Well it is true. Just what my morale needed.

Espera -

Have I? I can say with certainty that I've read all the William books they have at BCL.

Ankur Banerjee said...

@Quicksilver: BTA is a not a good book as a whole. It basically tells many separate and unconnected incidents in one book. The ones they released as an excerpt was the best out of the lot.

BTW, I finally found 'The White Tiger' in ebook format. Can't wait to get reading.

Quicksilver said...

Aditi.c. -

Didn't see your comment there, stuffy head you see.
Welcome to my blog, thanks for visiting and commenting. glad you like it.
I am thinking of a book review, now that you mention it.

Ankur -

But a real book (albeit pirated) is so much better than an ebook.

Ankur Banerjee said...

@Quicksilver: Dang. One of these days, I need to do a post on why I think ebooks are better just so that I don't have to repeat myself all the time. In short: ebooks allow you to search through material much more quickly, bookmarking is easier (and you can also scribble notes on your favorite bits without feeling guilty), and you don't even need to scroll manually since Adobe Reader has an auto-scroll feature. That's apart from the fact that I can carry a huge collection around AND read it on my cellphone, not to mention the fact that even storing a huge library on the PC is so much easier and cheaper (= zilch) for ebooks.

Espèra said...

Ankur: But they don't smell like books! And they give you watery eyes and an achy back within half an hour of settling down to read. You can't lie down and read cuz I'm guessing your PC isn't on your bed. You can't "lend" it.

And best of all ... if your parents walk in, you can't hide the monitor behind a text book.

Oh and I'm not counting reading using cellphones cuz that sucks so much I don't have the words. Admit it.

Ankur Banerjee said...

1. I _can_ lie down and read, on my laptop. I actually do that a lot.

2. Lending is much more easier, since you can simply send the file over to anyone you want.

3. I also use software to automatically lock the screen every half an hour or so to prevent sore eyes / RSI. For Windows users, it's a software called Workrave, but in Linux this functionality is built-in.

4. OK, I admit, on _most_ phones is a pain. Mine has a Office+PDF viewer - quite adequately featured for a viewer app - so that's a non-issue for me. So I can grab a quick read on my cell whenever I want.

5. Parents. Right. Both in Windows and in Linux your taskbar has the 'Show Desktop' button. (Or Windows+D). Then there are applications which can provide a boss key for your system. Don't you think hitting a keyboard shortcut is much faster and easier in hiding stuff than trying to hide a book?

Espèra said...

1. Ah. Laptop. I knew I missed something.

2. It's NOT the same as lending. It's like photocopying a book and giving it to them. Nuh-uh doesn't count.

3. Achy backs?

4. On a, what, 5 inch large screen? You know that sucks too.

5. Unfortunately, when we are trying to study for our Monday Tests, parents refuse to believe we can do that without the NCERTs.

6. The smell! You can't have THAT now, can you?

Ankur Banerjee said...

1. Exactly. I don't like lending paper books from my collection ("My preciousses...") in general. There's absolutely no such situation with ebooks.

2. Since Workrave locks the screen, you can't use it at that time. So be nice to yourself and walk around, stretch et al. Heck, if you can't think up ideas Workrave even shows activities to relax your strained muscles. Hello? I mentioned 'RSI' too apart from watery eyes that Workrave solves.

3. You could say you're reading the NCERT ebooks. [innocent smile / devilish grin] You could use that as an excuse, but in my case I actually preferred the ebooks to the paper textbooks. This is where note-taking _within_ the PDF comes handy. (Before my Boards, I used to be reading those NCERT ebooks on my cell, and my teachers - who also come to the test centre for 'motivation' - used to mutter something suspiciously similar to "...still readings SMSes before the exam")

4. OK, some may not like reading books on their phone. That still leaves the desktop / laptop segment.

5. I don't _care_ about the 'smell'. (This is usually the last argument most people fall back on during this discussion, and then say, "Aha! So that's why I won't read ebooks." Frankly, they're missing out on a lot just because of one not-so-good reason.)