Author: Arvind Adiga
Best seller : The White Tiger
Vishram society is a tight knit society of middle class and mostly aged people. Located in the suburban area of Santacruz east this building suddenly becomes desired by the builder Mr Dharmen Shah. When he offers them 250% the cost of their land, there are members willing to do anything to get the deal done and some strongly oppose the redevelopment while some others are still confused!
The members have been living in the society for decades. This is their chance to become rich.
Initially opposing only because his friends did not wish to leave the society, Masterji- a retired school teacher and a widower, is forced continuously to sign the deal. The coercing makes him all the more stubborn to oppose the builder. Now its not about being comfortable or supporting his now turned hostile friends.. It becomes his fight for his right to say no.
He becomes the target of all the anguish of the members and lives in isolation there after but only gets stronger in will power to go against them.
Can this man hold on against the redevelopment or does he become a victim?
"Sangeeta, what is going on?"
"Ramu.." She turned to her son and said (forcing a big smile on her face so he would not suspect the content of her words),"..tell your Masterji that the boycott is going on."
"Boycott?" Masterji said." What does that mean?"
"Ramu.." Mrs Puri smiled again.".. Masterji, being a famous teacher, must know all about Gandhi and Nehru and what they did to the British. So tell him not to ask us what a boycott is."
"Gandhi and Nehru and.. Mrs Puri this is madness."
"Madness?" Mrs Puri chuckled. Ramu, at the table, joined in the fun.
"And refusing an offer of 250% the market value of his flat is not madness, Ramu? Some people should not speak of madness, Ramu."
In this book, Arvind Adiga brings out a brilliant sketch of a middle class close knit society. The ideologies, the inherent nature of people, the constant struggle to keep aiming for more and the greed of human nature are the highlights of this book. Redevelopment and use of unfair means for bringing a common consensus is uncovered as also corrupt measures to which a person can stoop for his own selfish needs.
People as they are painted in this story are essentially greedy. In the beginning, the people have deep bonds which have lasted for more three decades in some cases.
Masterji who has lost his wife Purnima the same year and his daughter Sandhya, a few years before, lives alone. His son, daughter-in-law and his grandson live in post southern Bombay. Masterji teaches science top up classes for children. Mrs Puri and her imbecile eighteen year old son have been close to him for years. Mr Pinto and his now blind wife live in the flat just below Masterjis. Mr Pinto and Masterji share a friendship of more than 3 decades. Yet when the offer for redevelopment is made, masterji who initially had no reason to oppose it, becomes pressurised by the constant demands of his son and members to sign the deal. Soon he finds himself to be the only man opposing the deal.
The members of the society have left no stone unturned to get a little more extra for themselves.
The builder Mr Shah- you do not know what this man is made of. He is the most complex character in this story. He is the kind man who offers more than the market price. He is set to prove himself the best man in business. Yet his dark side leaves you wondering- is this man really the one responsible?
Rating: 4 on 5
Price: Rs 699 [INR 454/- at Flikart] /-