Penulis/Author: Vikas Swarup (2005)
Cetakan/Edition: Pertama, Desember 2006
It’s been awhile since my last post and it wasn’t because I have stopped reading. I actually read quite a few interesting books during these two months but haven’t got the time to share them in writing. I am doing this right after I completed my reading so that I won’t put another delay to it.
Many of us are probably a fan of a popular quiz on TV that asks intriguing questions to win big money. My reading this time is a novel about an boy who won the maximum prize on “Who Will Win a Billion” aka W3B quiz in India. Of course, this is just a novel, a work of fiction. But imagine if this happens in a real life, wouldn’t you think this is impossible?
The same absurdity led the quiz’ management to accuse Ram of being a cheater. They request the police to arrest and interrogate Ram, in order to find who else was involved on helping him winning the jackpot, just like the scandal in Britain’s “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire”. Ram Mohammad Thomas is just a young restaurant helper with no proper education. It is highly unlikely he knows all the answers to those questions unless there are insiders who helped him, and it is very unlikely he relies only on luck all through the twelve questions given.
This isn’t a simple tale about winning a billion, but there’s an in depth to it where we can observe social realism, a cynic that always been labelled onto lower class people, the poor, those who lack of possessions. While uncovering the truth one-by-one, one question at a time, Smita the lawyer learns Ram’s life. Readers are taken on a tour through India’s big cities and big stories; from orphanage to the street life, from the glam of Taj Mahal to the red district, from the religious spirit to the religions clashes. Even his name, Ram Mohammad Thomas, is a mixture of 3 religions. Inside him, we may find the treasure and shadow of India, but only if we look closely and fairly. Perhaps indeed Ram has that much luck and blessings from Btari Durga that gave him all questions he happened to know the exact answers!
Interesting plot is the magnet of this novel which has been translated into 32 languages. According to Wikipedia, the rights to make the film has been acquired by Film Four company. Click here to read the interview between the author and Channel News Asia.