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Showing posts from October, 2008
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The White Tiger
By Aravinda AdigaAdiga’s debut novel has been acclaimed as the one that questions the India Shining story, the one that puts paid to the hype of the emerging super power. It describes an India that has been left behind in the New India dream of the middle classes. In a state that is obviously Bihar, Adiga creates a character called Balram Halwai and gives him a voice. It is a voice that is unlike any that we have seen so far in English Indian fiction – brutal, simmering with obvious anger, yet laced through with sardonic dark humour. Balram Halwai is a man who has come up from the depths of grinding poverty to become one of New India’s stories of successful entrepreneurship. And in a series of letters he writes to the Chinese Premier on a state visit to India (a devilish ploy by Adiga, given our obsession with comparisons with China), he describes the route he takes to get where he is.Balram is born Munna (there are so many children in his joint family in Laxmangarh, th…
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Road Trip II

Day 4: Mangalore to Gokarna. Km: 240 km
We turn north to return. An uneventful drive covering territory we have already seen. The roads are as bad. The scenery as pretty. We reach Gokarna and look around at the resorts available. The prettiest one Swa Swara is out of bounds for us – they need a minimum of 7 nights stay! One day, when I am retired and have all the time in the world, I tell myself. So we settle for second best. Which is not bad except for the 10 minute walk to the beach! Gokarna is a small temple town that still has not seen an influx of tourism. It has some 3 beaches, the best known of which is Om beach (named so because of its shape). We attempt a short foray to the seaside to see Om Beach. It is a bit crowded – mostly Indians and some foreigners. We have little time before the sun sets and we promise ourselves a morning at the beach tomorrow.
Day 5: Gokarna to Goa. Km: 130 km

Today we attempt an early morning excursion to another beach – Kudle. It is smaller…
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Road Trip I

A vacation, a car and a road. With as little planning as is possible for a couple of itinerary-pinned-down -to-the-last-minute type of travelers. The direction was more or less decided by the toss of a coin (or so we would like to believe) –the South. Safer, friendlier, more familiar.

Day 1: Bombay to Goa. Km: 554
Good roads, some traffic and lots of greenery. The ghats after the rains are a sight for sore city-weary eyes. But it’s been a long hard drive with just meal and photography stops. We get to see the hills but very little of the sea! Wasn’t this supposed to be a coastal trip?
I am cranky after 12 straight hours on the road. Keeping an eye on an accelerator-happy driver with his car (that he calls -with delusions of grandeur - ‘the beast’, if you please!) is as much hard work as driving. The hotel we are using as a pit stop isn’t helping – the aircon goes wonky and we are forced to shift rooms in the middle of the night. Maybe, unplanned trips aren’t our thing.

Day 2:…