Texte de Vikas Swarup


« Salim comes running through the door and collapses face down on the bed. I am alarmed. "Salim! … Salim!" I shout. "What's happened to you? How come you are back so early?" I turn him on his back. He is laughing. "The most amazing thing has happened today. This is the happiest day of my life," he declares. "What is it? Have you won the lottery?" "No. Something even better than winning the lottery. I have seen Armaan Ali." Bit by breathless bit, the whole story comes out. How Salim caught a glimpse of Armaan Ali while doing his daily round in Ghatkopar. The star was alighting from his Mercedes-Benz to enter a five-star hotel. Salim was travelling on a bus to deliver his last tiffin(1) box to a customer. The moment he spotted Armaan, he jumped down from the speeding vehicle, narrowly missing being run down by a car, and ran toward the actor, who was passing through the hotel's revolving door. He was stopped by the tall, strapping uniformed guard and prevented from entering the hotel. "Armaan!" Salim called, trying desperately to catch the star's attention. Armaan heard the cry, stopped in his tracks, and turned around. His eyes made contact with Salim's. He gave a faint smile, a barely perceptible nod of acknowledgement, and continued walking into the lobby. Salim forgot all about the tiffin and came racing home to give me the news of his dream having come true. A customer of Gawli Tiffin Carriers went hungry that afternoon. "Does Armaan look different from the way he appears onscreen?" I ask. "No. He is even better in real life," says Salim. "He is taller and more handsome. My ambition in life is to shake his hand, at least once. I probably won't wash it for a month after that." I reflect on how good it is to have simple, uncomplicated ambitions. Like shaking a film star's hand. […] "Your ambition is to shake Armaan's hand," I say to Salim. "But what do you think is Armaan's ambition in life? He seems to have it all – face, fame, and fortune." "You are wrong,"Salim replies solemnly. "He does not have Urvashi." The papers are full of the Armaan-Urvashi breakup, after a whirlwind romance lasting nine months. There is speculation that Armaan is completely heartbroken. That he has stopped eating and drinking. That he might be suicidal. Urvashi Randhawa has returned to her modelling career. I see Salim crying. His eyes are red and wet with tears. He has not eaten all day. The heart-shaped glass frame containing a picture of Armaan and Urvashi, on which he had spent almost half his meager salary, lies on the ground, shattered into a hundred pieces. "Look, Salim, you are being childish. There is nothing you can do about it,"I tell him. "If only I could meet Armaan. I want to comfort him. To hold his hand and let him cry on my shoulder. They say crying makes the heart lighter." "And what good will that do? Urvashi will not come back to Armaan. Suddenly Salim looks up. "Do you think I could speak to her? Maybe I could persuade her to come back to Armaan. Tell her that it was all a mistake. Tell her how sad and contrite he is." I shake my head. I don't want Salim trampling all over Mumbai(2) looking for Urvashi Randhawa. "It's not a good idea to poke your nose into other people's affairs, or make other people's troubles your own, Salim. Armaan Ali is a mature man. He will deal with his troubles in his own way." "At least I will send him a gift,"says Salim. He goes and buys a large bottle of Fevicol glue and sets about sticking the shattered pieces of the heart-shaped frame back together again. It takes him a week, but finally the heart is whole, a grid of crisscrossing black streaks the only reminder of the fault lines on which it broke. "I will now send it to Armaan," he says. "It is a symbol that even a broken heart can be put together again." "With Fevicol?" I ask. "No. With love and care." Salim wraps it up in cloth and sends it to Armaan Ali's home address. I don't know whether it reached Armaan or not. Whether it was broken by the postal department, smashed by the security guards, or trashed by Armaan's secretary. The important thing is that Salim believes it reached his hero and helped to heal his wound. »
Vikas Swarup, Q & A, 2006

a) There are four main characters in this passage: the narrator, Salim, Armaan Ali and Urvashi Randhawa. Say whether they are present or only mentioned.
b) What are Salim's, Armaan Ali's and Urvashi Randhawa's jobs?
c) What is Armaan Ali to Salim?
a) "The most amazing thing has happened today.". What does Salim refer to?
b) What happened on that day was more important than his life and his job. Find two quotations justifying this statement.
3. What elements in Salim's and Armaan's lives show that they belong to two separate worlds? Use you own words. (30/40 words)
a) According to the narrator, Armaan "seems to have it all – face, fame and fortune.". What event in Armaan's life makes Salim think differently?
b) Quote the line showing how that event affects Salim.
a) What two things does Salim first consider doing for Armaan Ali? (20/30 words)
b) What does the narrator think of Salim's plans? What argument does he give to him? Use your own words.
6. Salim eventually sends Armaan a frame. In your own words, tell the "story" of this frame. What does that story reveal about Salim's vision of Armaan and Urvashi's relationship? (40/ 50 words)
a) Read the whole text again and describe Salim's personality.
b) Focus on the narrator. Describe and analyse his attitude towards Salim and his passion. (3 elements – 40/ 50 words)
Expression écrite
Choose one of the following subjects (250 words approximately).
1. "The papers are full of the Armaan-Urvashi breakup". You are a journalist working for a tabloid. Write the article.
2. More and more blogs on the Internet are dedicated to stars. How can you account for that phenomenon ? Say what you think about it.
(1)Tiffin: lunch.
(2)Mumbai: the other name for Bombay.


Compréhension de l'écrit
a) Salim and the narrator are present. Armaan Ali and Urvashi Randhawa are mentioned.
b) Salim is a delivery man: he works for Gawli TiffinCarriers and delivers meals to customers. Armaan Ali is an actor and Urvashi Randhawa is an actress, both of them at Bollywood.
c) To Salim, Armaan Ali is a hero, his favourite actor.
a) Salim refers to the fact that he has seen Armaan Ali.
b) "Salim forgot all about the tiffin and came racing home to give the news of his dream having come true.", "I see Salim crying. His eyes are wet and wet with tears. He has not eaten all day."
3. Salim is a mere delivery boy, he doesn't earn a lot of money and travels by bus to deliver the meals to customers whereas Armaan Ali is a rich actor, he has a Mecedes, stays at a Five-star hotel and has body-guards.
a) Salim has a different point of view and doesn't think Armaan Ali has it all – face, fame and fortune – since his girlfriend and him have split up. Consequently he is heartbroken and doesn't eat and drink and he also might be suicidal.
b) "The heart-shaped glass frame containing a picture of Armaan and Urvashi, on which he had spent almost half his meager salary, lies on the ground, shattered into a hundred pieces."
a) Salim wants to meet Armaan to comfort him and he also wants to try to persuade Urvashi to come back to Armaan.
b) The narrator thinks Salim is childish since Armaan is mature enough to know what he has to do. Moreover he thinks that it is not Salim's business at all.
6. Salim had bought an expensive frame taking into account his salary, he had put a photo of Armaan, his favorite star, and Armaan's girlfriend in it. It seems that to Salim their relationship is the perfect love affair. Salim probably identifies with Armaan and he broke the frame since Urvashi has split with Armaan, so he is furious and doesn't understand her. Since Armaan is heartbroken, he is heartbroken as well.
a) Salim is a very simple, childish and naïve person, is ambition in life was to meet his favorite actor Armaan which would fulfill his life.
b) The narrator is patronizing and he is compassionate but clearly tries to make Salim realize that his attitude is foolish and childish, he wants to make him realize that it is not really serious and it is not the most important thing for Salim, that there are more serious things to take into account. He wants to make Salim realize that his life is more important than devoting it to an actor.
Expression écrite
Famous actor Armaan Ali devastated
His love affair turns into a nightmare.
The famous Actor Armaan Ali who was in love with actress Urvshi Randhawa is heartbroken. They slip when Urvashi Randdhawa was seen in the arms of another man last week. Since then Armaan Ali has not appeared at the studio where he was acting in a film and stays secluded in his hotel. It is said that he is absolutely depressed and desperate.
People around him have confessed that he is so deeply affected that he refuses to eat and drink and has a gloomy mood. Some say that he may even commit suicide. He can't obviously recover from his nine-month love affair with Urvashi and feels he has been betrayed. His grief is so deep that he may even stop acting in films and quit cinema for good. He feels he can't take the risk of meeting her on a film set and the best way for him to avoid that is to stop his career.
He was so lively and cheerful that the present situation contrasts a lot with the image we all have of him. He spends his time crying and sobbing and may even suffer form a nervous breakdown.
Fans are upset against Urvashi whose career may suffer from her behavior towards Armaan Ali as some say they will boycott her film since they are really resentful. His fans are worried and hope that he will quickly go through that stage he is in and forget about that actress who doesn't deserve his love. They are all moved to tears and feel so sorry for him and hope he will cheer up soon.
2. Many people and mostly teenagers are crazy about their idols. Although it seems that it has always been like this, nowadays more and more of them are fascinated and wouldn't miss information or gossips about these celebrities.
We can suppose that it is due to the numerous TV programmes on many channels devoted to these "idols" whoever they are. More and more teenagers spend a lot of time watching, listening or reading about these celebrities. The reasons can be numerous and among them we can infer that most of these teenagers would like to be like their idols because they would like to do the things they do. They represent examples to be copied simply because they are bored or unsatisfied with their lives. Furthermore some of them may be fascinated by these celebrities because they feel close to them as far as the causes they fight for or as far as the message they convey concern them.
Generally speaking, this attitude can be explained since there is a gap between one's aspirations and the opportunities offered by today's society, especially when you are a teenager and when you do not have all the possibilities or opportunities you would like to be given. They have high expectations but few opportunities since they have not come of age and can't provide for themselves. Consequently it is difficult to fulfill one's dream and one solution is to live one's life through somebody else by proxy and to share a need to exchange and talk about it through blogs.
Moreover, nowadays, there is a real dictatorship of fashion and for many the way people see us is important that's why many want or need to be slimmer, richer, more handsome, etc.
To conclude, we can say that these personal reasons and external causes are push factors and pull factors which tend to make teenagers and even some older peolple feel more and more interested and attracted by celebrities and consequently they want to share this passion with others. New technologies like blogs allow them to do so easily and to reach a large number of people contrary to the past when it was only possible with people from their surrounding. This is generally just a phase they have to go through and which seems normal as long as it doesn't lead to a loss of one's own personality or dangerous behaviours.