‘I am in light now’. Balram’s journey represents a dream held by many but achieved by few. Do you agree?
Adiga presents to the audience, that Balram has achieved a dream only a White Tiger is willing to strive for. This is prevalent in the text as Balram is able to risk what others wouldn’t ever consider, as they are so caught up in the Rooster Coop fending for their lives. Balram enables himself to commit such acts, as from a young age as he could see what was beautiful in the world and thus “I was not destined to stay a slave”, after Balram recited Iqbal (famous poet). Though Balram’s actions aren’t without the help of his master Ashok, whose weakness was seen as a negative quality exemplified in Pinky Madam’s escape and thus Balram must assume Ashok’s identity in ensuring his own dreams don’t forfeit him.
Balram could achieve the dreams shared by many of the lower caste system, as he was willing to risk what others were not. Balram insisted that he ‘can’t live the rest of his life in a cage’, and was willing to commit murder just so he could see what it felt like ‘not to be a servant’. Balram though perceives this quest to find the light negatively as ‘a man without family is nothing’, and he overcomes this obstacle by focusing on his own success. This is proof in why the system of India protects people from becoming successful as ‘the coop is protected from the inside’. Allowing only a handful of people who ‘have woken, while the rest of you are sleeping’, to obtain freedom from the caste system, as their success can only be obtained from dire actions.
In reciting a poem, Balram was led to believe he ‘was not destined to stay a slave’ as he could ‘see what was beautiful in the world’. This is evidently important in the text as Balram is enabling himself to think differently as opposed to members of the ‘Darkness’. Who are worrying about keeping alive leaving little time to envisage this way, caused by the landlords oppression that’s led them to feed ‘on everything in the village, until there was nothing else left for anyone else to feed on’. Balram’s dreams do allow him to obtain light through his transition to New Delhi, but this is through sheer luck of obtaining a job as ‘these poor bastards who came from the darkness to Delhi to find some light- but were still in darkness’.
Balram’s dreams cannot find their final outcome in obtaining a true sense of freedom, as he was born into the lower caste system. Balram’s true servants status lies in his genetics thus he recognises he is truly not free, as he feels ‘we were two separate cities, inside and outside the egg. In some way I was outside the car too even while I was driving it’. Balram did however obtain light through guarding his true identity as he will inevitably never escape the restrictive chains of the coop as his indoctrinated in that society. Never the less Balram is able to achieve what others would only dream of becoming a successful entrepreneur through the help of Ashok.
Ultimately Ashok allowed Balram to break the social barriers and become a part of the light, as Balram was deceived as not of a threat due to his lower caste upbringing. Balram begins to realise the want for his dream in breaking from the coop as he recognises ‘the more I stole from him, the more I came to realise how much he’d stolen from me’. Ashok’s weakness in the times of his critical parting from Pinky Madam allow Balram to fully develop an understand that the, ‘The Rooster Coop needs people like Mr. Ashok, who for all his numerous virtues was not much of a master, and exceptional servant like me to replace him’. Ashok’s failure in showing strength, in the time following Pinky Madam’s murder, resulted in his murder as Balram enacted on natural instinct as ‘once the master of a Honda City becomes corrupted how can the driver stay innocent?’. This is key in escaping the Rooster Coop, and enabling Balram to assume Ashok’s identity, that provided an escape route to the light that ceased to exist from many.
The window of opportunity to escape the coop is in contrast to the likeliness of a birth of a White Tiger; 1 in 10, 000 with reference to Wikipedia. By the weakness of Ashok we can conclude Balram took advantage of Ashok to become light, with the qualities of Balram similar to a White Tiger his nature laid way to his escape from the social hierarchy, ‘You see I am light now, but I was born and raised in darkness’. This is unique to Balram’s found status, as his entrepreneurial skills shoved away the social norms his family received and endured, allowing him to own a taxi company rather then accepting a life of slavery.