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The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

Munna does not have a proper name. Because his mother is bed-ridden. And his father is busy pulling rickshaws in town faraway from home. So teacher names him Balaram. But he gets a better name - "White tiger" by the school inspector who was really impressed by the correct answers provided by this kid and says he will recommend a scholarship and a better school for Munna.

But the pride does not last long. His family has to spend a lot of money for the marriage of Munna's cousin. And so Munna is taken out of school and put in a tea shop.

His father falls very sick. He is vomiting blood. He with his cousin take the father to a town hospital. But the doctor is not around. Nor does he come in the evening when he is supposed to be coming. And father dies there in the hospital, uncared for. Who will bother about one more death in the darkness? 

In the tea shop, Munna sees the drivers and is enchanted by their uniform and their lifestyle. He wants to be a driver. He begs another driver to teach him. And once his lessons are learnt, he roams everywhere in search of a driver's job.

Ashok is foreign returned son of a land lord from Munna's village. Luckily the family is looking for a driver for him and Munna becomes second driver in that household. His job involves more of cleaning the house and garden and less of driving. But when Ashok goes to Delhi for some important work - they do not want to pay the tax, so Ashok will visit Delhi and  bribe the ministers , Munna wants to go with him.

How does he go to Delhi  instead of first driver RamPrasad? How does Ashok start believing him so much that he starts telling everyone that he is part of the family? And how does Munna end up murdering this master who treats him much better than any one else and  for whom Munna was once ready to go to jail?

I like the book and do not like it. The part I do not like is the statement here. If you want to break the chain of poverty, illiteracy and miserable life, you can use any means?

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Someshwara shataka

ಚರಿಪಾರಣ್ಯದ ಪಕ್ಷಿಗೊಂದು ತರು ಗೊಡ್ಢಾಗಲ್ ಫಲಂ ಈವಿದಾ
ಮರಗಳ್ ಪುಟ್ಟವೆ ಪುಷ್ಪವೊಂದು ಬಳಲಲ್  ಭ್ರಂಗಕ್ಕೆ ಪೂವಿಲ್ಲವೆ
ನಿರತಂ ಸತ್ಕವಿಗೋರ್ವ ಗರ್ವಿದಂ ನೃಪ ತಾಂ ಲೋಭಿಯಾಗಲ್ ನಿಜಂ
ಧರೆಯೊಳ್ ದಾತರು ಪುಟ್ಟರೆ ಹರ ಹರಾ ಶ್ರೀ ಚೆನ್ನ ಸೋಮೇಶ್ವರ

Will a bird in the wild go hungry just because one fruit tree dries up? If one flower withers, will not the bee get any flowers? If one haughty king is miserly, will there be no patrons (of poetry) on this earth?


ಕೆಲವಂ ಬಲ್ಲವರಿಂದ ಕಲ್ತು ಕೆಲವಂ ಶಾಸ್ತ್ರಂಗಳೋದುತಂ
ಕೆಲವಂ ಮಾಳ್ಪವರಿಂದ ಕಂಡು ಕೆಲವಂ ಸುಜ್ಙಾನದಿಂ  ನೋಡುತಂ
ಕೆಲವಂ ಸಜ್ಜನಸಂಗದಿಂದಲರಿಯಲ್ ಸರ್ವಜ್ಞನಪ್ಪಂ ನರಂ
ಪಲವಂ ಪಳ್ಳ ಸಮುದ್ರವೈ ಹಾರ ಹರಾ ಶ್ರೀ ಚೆನ್ನ ಸೋಮೇಶ್ವರ

Learning from wise men, reading from good books, observing others  work and learning from good company, these are the ways a man becomes omni-scient (sarvajna - one who knows everything). Just like many streams join together to make an ocean.

P.S.
1) If you find some of my wordings in this shataka is wrong, please let me know. It is a 40 year old memory.
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