I know this book doesnt need my “expert” comments on it. Its a real classic. I have no words for R.K.Narayanan who has managed to make that “connection” between the readers and the characters in his stories. His protagonists are so simple and innocent that it tugs your heart strings.
There’s something warm in his stories which brim with simplicity,innocence and are unbelievably realistic, not to mention the irony of the endings in most of them.
My favourites amongst the short stories are
— MARTYR’s CORNER – Its about how external fate plays with Rama, a eatables vendor. A riot changes his life and he is thrown out of business but he is able to get back on his two feet by becoming a waiter . Nothing dramatic , nothing too emotional. Its Simple and Humorous. You have to read the story to really cherish it, so I am not giving out too many details.
I particularly love the last lines in this story
People came and went, the radio music frayed his nervews,but he stuck on; he had to.When some customer ordered him around too rudely , he said ” Gently , brother. I was once a hotel-owner myself”. And with that piece of reminiscence he attained great satisfaction
— LAWLEY ROAD : This one is really humorous and ironical. India had just got independence and the chairman of a usually defunct municipality decides to DO something for the city. They change the names of all the roads/parks( “Mahatma Gandhi Road was the most sought-after name.Eight ward councillors were after it.” ; “There came a point when the council went mad.It decided to give the same name to four different streets. The town became unrecognizable with the new names”) They also decide to remove the statue of Fredrick Lawley who they assumed was another of those arrogant, slave-driving and tyrannic Britisher. The irony and comedy of it all is something you should read for yourself . Here are some quotes though :
“People dropped their normal occupations and loitered around the statue, wondering how they could have tolerated it for so many years.The gentleman seemed to smile derisively at the nation now”
“We had all been misled abt Sir F. This Fredrick Lawley(of the statue) almost built the town of Malgudi. He established this, he established that, and he died in the great Sarayi floods while attempting to save the lives of villagers living in its banks.He was the first Englishman to advise the British parliament to involve more and more Indians in all Indian affairs”
A book you will all no doubt enjoy.
Rating : (although I dont feel “qualified” to do it) 10/10