Gaya, Bihar
Gaya, Bihar
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeGaya, Bihar - Credit: Hideyuki KAMON


Falgu River, Bihar
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeFalgu River, Bihar - Credit: Gunjan Arya

The Gaya district in Bihar State is Balram Halwai's birthplace.

The area has historical importance for Buddhists - it is the birthplace of Buddhism in India, and as such attracts Buddhist pilgrims.

Bihar state is seen by many as the 'basket case' of India, full of poverty and lawlessness, with the lowest literacy levels in the country.

Dhanbad, Jharkhand

Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeDhanbad - Credit: Amar Kumar
Dhanbad is a bleak, industrial coal mining city of over one million people in Jharkhand state.

Balram takes his first menial jobs in Dhanbad, and it is here that he learns to drive.

New Delhi
Lotus Temple, New Delhi
Creative Commons AttributionLotus Temple, New Delhi - Credit: Sourav Das


Connaught Place, New Delhi
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeConnaught Place, New Delhi - Credit: Tony Young

New Delhi is India's capital.

Delhi is a huge swarming metropolis, where old and new India stand in stark contrast. There are gleaming new suburbs, where the wealthy live behind gates. There is the concrete commercial centre of Connaught Place with its bars and shopping malls. Then there are the masses of people living by the sides of roads, under bridges, in railway stations, scratching a living through begging and hawking. The teeming mass of Old Delhi is like a place that time forgot.

India Gate, New Delhi
Creative Commons AttributionIndia Gate, New Delhi - Credit: Shashwat Nagpal

Balram takes the post of chauffeur to Ashok in New Delhi.

UB City, Bangalore
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeUB City, Bangalore - Credit: soul_flow, Flickr

Bangalore is India's silicon valley. There are fast roads, fast cars, shopping malls, call centres, cocktails and miniskirts. There are also shanty towns, along with poverty and corruption.

Bangalore (also known as Bengaluru) is India's 'Silicon Valley', with fast, wide roads, gleaming malls, and expensive bars. For many, it represents the 'new India', with all its money and hype. Just like any other Indian city, dig  little deeper, and you find poverty and desperate slums.

Balram's story ends in Bangalore, where he uses his ill-gotten loot to set up a taxi company.


Infosys, Bangalore
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeInfosys, Bangalore - Credit: Ashwin Kumar