The White Tiger

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The driver of another wealthy businessman who lives in Ashok’s apartment complex. He has Vitiligo, a common, disfiguring skin disease that primarily afflicts India’s poor. Vitiligo-Lips takes a liking to Balram and attempts to help him adjust to Delhi. At first, his mentorship takes the form of supplying Balram with murder magazines and answering Balram’s questions about city life. Later in the novel, Vitiligo-Lips helps Balram procure a prostitute and begin to cheat Mr. Ashok out of his money.

Vitiligo-Lips Quotes in The White Tiger

The The White Tiger quotes below are all either spoken by Vitiligo-Lips or refer to Vitiligo-Lips. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Self-Made Man Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Free Press edition of The White Tiger published in 2008.
Chapter 5: The Fifth Night Quotes

“The Rooster Coop was doing its work. Servants have to keep other servants from becoming innovators, experimenters, or entrepreneurs. Yes, that’s the sad truth, Mr. Premier. The coop is guarded from the inside.”

Related Characters: Balram Halwai (speaker), Wen Jiabao, Vitiligo-Lips
Related Symbols: The Rooster Coop
Page Number: 166
Explanation and Analysis:

Kusum Granny sends Balram a letter encouraging him to marry. While he is tempted, Balram eventually decides this choice will entrap him: He sees his family as a set of obstacles that are part of the Rooster Coop.

This passage adds an additional facet to the entrapping-mechanism of the Coop: the way roosters in the Coop prevent others from escaping. Previously Balram has described the way other servants from Ashok’s family have sought to halt his goals. Here it is not only unknown servants but also family members that play this role—for Balram repeatedly finds himself torn between pursuing his entrepreneurial exploits and following the wishes of Kusum Granny. Balram thus justifies his rejection of his family and of any affiliation with other servants based on the idea that they will keep him within the Coop.

Though this dynamic might imply that the roosters fight each other in order to escape the cage, Balram’s language explicitly resists that interpretation. His use of the passive voice in the phrases “Rooster Coop was doing”and “is guarded” indicates that these actions are not actively chosen by the roosters but rather stem from the entrapping social system. Indeed, the servants are not battling for a select few spots as “innovators, experiments, or entrepreneurs” but simply preventing anyone from gaining that power. They thus function as a self-encasing guard cohort that has adopted the logic of the cage owners.


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Vitiligo-Lips Character Timeline in The White Tiger

The timeline below shows where the character Vitiligo-Lips appears in The White Tiger. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 7: The Sixth Night
Social Breakdown, Self-Interest, and Corruption Theme Icon
Soon after Ashok’s evening with the minister’s assistant, Balram asks Vitiligo Lips to find him a golden haired prostitute. He also asks the older driver for advice... (full context)
Social Breakdown, Self-Interest, and Corruption Theme Icon
...the money he stole from Ashok, Balram hires a golden-haired prostitute with the help of Vitiligo Lips . To his disappointment, she is not nearly as attractive as Ashok’s Ukrainian girl. He... (full context)