A Free Man A Story of Life and Death in Delhi MOBI Á


A Free Man A Story of Life and Death in Delhi Like Dave Eggers’s Zeitoun and Alexander Masters’s Stuart this is a tour de force of narrative reportageMohammed Ashraf studied biology became a butcher a tailor and an electrician’s apprentice; now he is a homeless day laborer in the heart of old Delhi How did he end up this way In an astonishing debut Aman Sethi brings him and his indelible group of friends to life through their adventures and misfortunes in the Old Delhi Railway Station the harrowing wards of a tuberculosis hospital an illegal bar made of cardboard and plywood and into Beggars Court and back onto the streetsIn a time of global economic strain this is an unforgettable evocation of persistence in the face of poverty in one of the world’s largest cities Sethi recounts Ashraf’s surprising life story with wit candor and verve and A Free Man becomes a moving story of the many ways a man can be free Thought provoking and realistic whether it's the life of a laavaris what if I was the one in Ashraf's shoes? What does it feel to be anonymous with nowhere to go no door to knock on? or the unpolished language used in the book or the casualness of the casual labourers and of life at Bara Tutti The book for most parts is both a little haunting and disturbing and yet rejoices the prosaic and trivial nuances of everday life which the privilaged ones take for granted Ashraf's life is a mosaic of different shades of grey; dark sad happy entertaining alive artistic shameful contemplative at times and at times serves as the naked truth about our Indian society Ashraf is a brave character who for not even once regrets any of his decision that he took at some crossroad onceAll in all a good read for people who have the apetite for a little vulgurness which is one of a uitenssential parts of life as an Indian by an author who isn't wearing the shroud of maturitysigh and writes like an amateur driven by passion than senses making it even better Not so long and a well written book on Delhi Aman Sethi follows the life of 'Ashraf' and his friends –a gang of impoverished daily wage earners I enjoyed reading this book and knowing about the people who are so brutally ignored in everyday life as if they do not exist The indifference of middle class Indians is astonishing Sethi follows 'Ashraf' and shows us what his life is like It is rare that someone like Ashraf becomes the central character someone we can see and identify with This is indeed an achievement that Sethi goes after this character and fully embraces him; the likes of 'Ashrafs' are not seen in Indian society They are only one thing that is they are poor They are just reduced to their poverty Sethi through this book makes 'them' visibleEven though I liked reading this book I also have serious problems with it I also feel angry with the author He makes friends with these laborers and just on the strength of his education and class gains an easy access to these impoverished lives He smokes with them talks with them and becomes an important part of their lives especially Ashraf's As a reader one knows that this friendship is not really real The book is a project It will be over He is a journalist who is looking for 'material' for his book One uestions how it is different from 'builders' who exploit the poor The book at least in parts becomes annoying where the author 'helps' Ahsraf One feels this; the poor in India are exploited by upper and middle classes and the poor are also helped by 'them' depending on their mood In the case of the author it is largely a trade off between him and the life that he uses as 'material' for his book I wish the author has not put himself into this book It would have been a better book then– at least for readers like meAfter having read this book I feel a bit upset not only about Delhi but also about the world at large that there are people collectives nations who are in positions to 'help' others I wish this word 'help' disappears from the world This ability to 'help' tells us what is rotten with the world First one excludes exploits and safeguards one's own privileges and then goes out in the world to help The blurbs rave about it If you can stop smirking at the obviously PR induced sound bytes and look inside the book you'd find it worth a read In fact it is a recommended read The writing might be a bit similar to a rushed notes in journal kind but the acute sense of 'people watching' and awareness of language 'helpery' a word that I last heard in the college canteen from the canteen attendant make it a good reason to stick till the end And at the end you'd ask yourself whether you were reading the story of Ashraf or the story of Aman or even the story of yourself given that you have managed to be removed from the milieu that is described There are moments where you wince at the breaking down of the wall between the researcher and the researched upon or stifle a sly chuckle at the pithiness and coarseness of the street smartness And of course the underlying theme around 'kamai' and 'azadi' wherein is a uirky pointer to the titleI'd suggest to give this a read Recommended I absolutely loved this book actually finished it in one night Aman Sethi does an amazing job transporting the reader to Delhi The people he chose to write about are colorful and insightful I hope the author decides to do research on the lives of those struggling in the slums of India It's a section of the global population that is largely ignored I truly felt like I was given a window inside the lives of these interesting people

  • Paperback
  • 240 pages
  • A Free Man A Story of Life and Death in Delhi
  • Aman Sethi
  • English
  • 05 June 2016
  • 9780393346602

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