Back Online – White Tiger

Posted in crash, imac, India, literature by expatatlarge on November 9, 2008

The iMac has been reformatted and lots of stuff reloaded. iPhoto still crashes, but what the fuck. I’ll BitTorrent Aperture at some stage.

Sort of missed today. Was it nice outside? Loading stuff, downloading movies – watched Cloverfield (good idea, Godzilla meets Before Sunset), Tropic Thunder (hilarious!) – and I finished “White Tiger”, Aravand Ariga’a Booker Prize winner.

Hands up if you think this is another magic-realism Merchant-Ivory-Rushdie romance? WRONG!


Think of this shoe shop…

Then think of one of the guys under the table working to make those shoes.

I’m going to ask you to stretch your imagination – to Aravind Adiga’s lengths. Imagine that one of these shoemakers has written a novel about how he extricates himself from such an impossibly exploitative situation and made it as “an entrepreneur” in Bangalore.

White Tiger is not about a shoemaker of course, I just happen to have these pics, but rather, it ‘written’ by a tea-maker, a clever young boy in “the Darkness” of the slum world of northern India. Balram Halwai (called Munna, “boy”, until a name is needed at school) eventually eavesdrops his way of this, using information he picks up by being practically invisible to the other wealthier classes, to become the driver for a rich family. Here in “the Light” of the rich world, his sense of injustice grows until he commits a horrific crime in order “not to end up in a mound of indistinguishable bodies that will rot in the black mud of Mother Ganga.” It is the only way he can see to get out – a line of poetry echoes in his mind, ironically it is the only poem he knows: ““you were looking for the key for years, but the door was always open.

The conversational tone (I say it is ‘written’ not narrated, because the format is that of an extended letter to Chinese Premier Wen Jiaboa!) is captivating and easy to read but the themes and the reality depicted are extremely hard-hitting (or least would be if you thought India was all shagging the sadhus at the 5-star ashram, lovely colored saris and smoking good pot in Goa).

This is about the India that flashes past the tinted window of your Mercedes limousine, it’s about the India I see in the clinics and hospitals. Desperately poor people chronically trapped by corruption that runs so deep it has become the supportive skeleton of the country. All I have seen improve in 10 years that I have been going there is the quality of the rich people’s cars.

“…no drinking water, electricity, sewage system, public transportation, sense of hygiene, discipline, courtesy, or punctuality…”

But it does have entrepreneurs… and democracy!

And murderers.

And great novelists.


Another Techno-Death at E@L-GHQ

Posted in crash, geek, imac, technology by expatatlarge on November 7, 2008

Yep, I’ve killed the iMac!

Back in town for 3 hours, with the computer 6 days out of warranty [Addendum: sorry that was tech support – warranty is still OK], E@L decided to network his laptop and desktop and the iMac.

He had just got the laptop to read the iMac’s USB disk’s folders – sharing the parent disk wasn’t enough of course – when the whirling rainbow “WAIT” thingie came up.

And it stayed up, whirling.

And up it stayed. Still whirling, still rainbow.

So, fuck it, E@L presses the OFF button at the back of the monitor for five seconds.

Reboot: Now the mothafucka is stuck on the grey apple logo with the whirling grey flower-petal thing. It’s still whirling. E@L powers off. Goes to dinner. Goes shopping for groceries*, comes home and boots up. Still whirling.

He’s back onto the old PC – running flawlessly after a rest of several weeks – writing up yet another technological gadgetry failure in Chez E@L. Sigh. It is so fucking predictable.

Yes, I tried putting in the MacOS-X install disk; no luck. So much for sorting it out at home, delving into the innards (the PC still lacks one sidepanel and four screws on the other panel), elbow-deep in ribbon cables and ROM chips…

He will try the traditional Apple way of fixing computer crashes: taking it back to the dealer.

Looks like you’ll catch E@L in Wheelock Place tomorrow, cadging for a refund…


* You’d think the flat-mate, a grown woman, could buy some essentials while he was away, like replacement for the chocolate she keeps thieving at least! (Yes, cracks starting to appear in this otherwise blissful relationship! Just kidding – one more session in the sauna and I’ll be dropping the rent…