A free man by Aman Sethi

Sethi records his friendship with building labourer Ashraf, who lives on the street in Delhi. Ashraf is full of incredible stories, but you are never sure how true they are, and would make an interesting movie. It is certainly an interesting read, and a great insight into Delhi street life, but I just feel that maybe Sethi could have gone a bit deeper into why certain things happen – he seems a bit reluctant, or perhaps too lazy, to look at why people like Ashraf and his friends are living on the street, and how the labour market operates, and who runs it. The book touches on so many things that need to be brought out, such as slum clearances, violence, alcoholism and drugs, homelessness etc  Ashraf and his colleagues are very amusing, and certainly have some envious freedoms, but their lives could and should be better. More down to earth than Katherine Boo’s book, but not as deep. 70/100

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