IN Southall it felt like a team-mate winning the finals of a literary kabaddi. "Jit gayi ," said Balwant Sagoo who runs a restaurant. He has not read the book, never will, but it matters that an Indian won the Booker. Southall has little time for creativity that crosses barriers. Much of life is about US and Them, and she is one of US (to borrow a use of capital letters).
Sagoo grew up on sitcoms of the likes of Mind Your Language , which defines foreigners by their varying inabilities to deal with English. A Sikh spends his career through this sitcom saying 'Thousand apologies'—he always gets it wrong. Today he might have had a little less to apologise for. The Booker brings competition to creativity. An Indian had beaten them at their game in a paper-and-print equivalent of beating England in a Test match.