The matriarch of Balram’s family, his grandmother Kusum runs the household according to tough, traditional Indian family values. Primarily concerned with the family’s short-term financial solvency, Kusum removes her young relatives from school prematurely to work and marries them off as children, compromising their long-term ability to support themselves and their families. Though she agrees to send Balram to driving school, she does so on the condition that Balram send home his earnings each month. Even after Balram moves away, Kusum exerts her influence from afar by sending him threatening letters and eventually his young cousin Dharam, who she demands he care for in Delhi. As Balram sees it, Kusum is completely dominated by the logic of the Rooster Coop: she has struggled her whole life to survive under the burden of such great oppression, that she does not know any better and unconsciously brings her family down with her.
Kusum Character Timeline in The White Tiger
The timeline below shows where the character Kusum appears in The White Tiger. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: The First Night
Chapter 2: The Second Night
...by private drivers, Balram begs his family to pay for him to take driving lessons. Kusum Granny eventually agrees, so long as Balram promises to send the family his monthly earnings... (full context)
...the Wild Boar in his beautiful home, Balram visits with his own family. During lunch, Kusum nags him for neglecting to send money, while praising his success and threatening to arrange... (full context)
Chapter 5: The Fifth Night
Chapter 7: The Sixth Night
...room where –to his great surprise—he finds his young cousin Dharam. Balram then learns that Kusum sent Dharam to Delhi for Balram to mentor, along with a letter threatening to arrange... (full context)