Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Before you start to wonder what the heck does the title of this post signify; let me spare you the trouble of googling.”Six degrees of separation” is a concept that I came across in the internet a few months back and I was quite fascinated by it. Well what it states is “Anyone on the planet can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries.” To put it in more simpler terms, you name anybody in the whole wide world; we would connect to that person within a chain of 5 more people .The theory was actually formulated by some Hungarian and to prove this there was an experiment which was done in which, few individuals were selected randomly and they were asked to send a package to a complete stranger somewhere in the world . The senders were given the recipients name , occupation and general location. The senders were instructed to pass on the package to a person they knew on a first name basis who they thought was most likely, out of all their friends, to know the target personally. That person would do the same, and so on, until the package was personally delivered to its target recipient. Long story short ;The experiment was successful it only took (on average) between five and seven intermediaries to get each package delivered.

Well , its often said that nothing is fool proof for a sufficiently talented fool .I convinced(begged would be a more apt word) a few friends of mine to try this out. I selected the “target recipient” who is a native of Trivandrum (another friend of mine ) and also selected a few “random individuals “(also friends of mine, 3 in number ).Both the parties do not know each other and are complete strangers (perfect isint ?).Now the worst thing , to get a package which should be delivered to the target ; we bought 3 packs of “Cadbury Temptations “and gave all them the following info:-

1. Name of the target
2. Occupation
3. District

Now the senders were supposed to give this package to a person they knew pretty well who they thought was most likely, out of all their friends, to know the target personally.Well, the process started and and all I can say after 2 months is “the process has ended” and we don’t know where the packages are(somebody somewhere must have eaten it I guess!).

Moral of the sory :-An idle mind is a devil’s workshop.

Monday, May 25, 2009


I was in two minds on writing a review on this book written by Aravind Adiga .This was mainly because I wasn’t too sure about whether I liked the book or not and more importantly It took me some time to have an opinion on this book.The author won the booker prize for the book in the year 2008 and had received mixed responses from readers. One section saying that it was anti-india and the other saying that the book was brilliantly written. To be honest, I brought this book to hate it(well , you cannot like or hate a book without reading it ,can you?)mainly because I hate these anti India , image bashing books/movies or anything remotely conveying the same.

The author, Aravind adiga, completed his school education in India and then emigrated to Australia for further studies and then going on to become a journalist of very good reputation. This is his first book and I have to say that the Adiga’s style of writing is intense, sarcastic and is hard hitting(infact cude)and I really liked his narrative .Having mentioned that, I did not like the content and feel that its just another attempt by an Indian writer to play to the gallery of the western audience.

The story is set in one of the Indian villages where the protagonist, Balram halwai takes us through his life . Infact the story is set as a series of letters being sent to the Chinese premier by Balram where he is telling us his entire story ;how he started off in a tea shop and then his rise as an entrepreneur in Bangalore.He even expresses his thoughts on the Indian caste system and the corruption in the political levels.

The book touches a lot of detail about the Indian society and I am not sure how Adiga manages to do that. For someone who has spent a major chunk of his life outside India, I am doubting the authenticity of the details/situations he has mentioned( admitted that all characters are fictious and blah blah ..but then still).Though I really like his style of writing, I have to say that whatever Adiga has written only reinforces the West’s idea of India. Maybe he was just trying to sell his book ! (And unfortunately I see another Slumdog millionare in the making.) For example, Adiga talks about Indian Gods and religions which many may find degrading.Sample this extract from the novel :- “I guess, Your Excellency, that I too should start off by kissing some god's arse. Which god's arse, though? There are so many choices. See, the Muslims have one god. The Christians have three gods. And we Hindus have 36,000,000 gods. Making a grand total of 36,000,0004 divine arses for me to choose from". The novel is filled with such takes on different aspects of Indian society.

Cultural and religious differences is what makes India .Somebody ought tell Mr.Adiga that even if he dosen’t think too much about those Gods, there are some many others who do! Women is this novel are limited only to mere objects of desire and left to be used for the obvious.

In one of his interviews I believe, Adiga has stated “At a time when India is going through great changes and, with China, is likely to inherit the world from the West, it is important that writers like me try to highlight the brutal injustices of society (Indian). That's what I'm trying to do -- it is not an attack on the country, it's about the greater process of self-examination.”

I classify the above mentioned as a marketing gimmick and nothing more than that.What self examination is he talking about? Infact in the book , the protagonist is a murderer and at the end becomes a successful entrepreneur. Is Adiga implying that to become a successful entrepreneur in India, one has to be crooked,sly,with no values and last but not the least, a murderer? I do not know what Azima premji, or Ratan Tata would have to say to that.Taking a moral high ground is easy but if he really means what he writes, then he should get down and start working for the same.

My honest review of the book is :- Read it because it won the booker prize and for the style of Adiga’s writing which is refreshingly new. But do not read it for the literary content.