Book Title: Malgudi Days
Author: R K Narayan (Rasipuram Krishnaswami Iyer Narayanaswami)
Rating: 5.0 of 5 Stars
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A Bird’s Eye View
About the Storyteller:
R K Narayan is the author who shaped my young reading mind. From among my uncle’s collection and the school’s library books, I have read some of his novels when I was just 14 years old and in 8th grade. I had this desire to explore beyond the British writers. I found a new storytelling friend in his books. This author was my second Indian writer and other Indian author that I read was Ruskin Bond’s collection.
R K Narayan was a writer who could be termed very pragmatic like my grandmother. Nothing could shake my grandmother. She was such a strict matriarch that you have to give in to her rules, that’s it, no arguments! Likewise, you can feel the familiarity of connecting with the stories made palatable with a little humor infused in them. This was the rule in our house, strictness mixed gentle humor. This made the works of R. K. Narayan appealing and heartwarming. Ruskin Bond indeed wrote well and it was beautiful to read, but then, he was not close to home like R. K Narayan.
Swami and His Friends was ethereal and more than that book Malgudi the village was heartwarmingly home for me. His books were like a never-ending conversation with a friend. It starts with ‘psst… by the way do you know what happened with a fake saint who visited our village’ kind of friendly newsgathering. Let’s get this straight, we are not gossiping; but sharing news (nodding my head! 😊)
The Story in a Nutshell
The book has a collection of short stories, more like sketches of life in Malgudi. We could feel the various inhabitants and they were interesting personalities with their own character traits. The connecting link was the fact was ingrained humor. We find in the various stories. It might even make you understand the South Indians better. “These South Indian are Crazy (tapping my head with a finger)” (refer to Asterix and Obelix’s Comic for the comic element)
I especially loved Iswaran, and the Lawley Road where the guys sell the Statue with two goats as an add-on. Each story was done with such special care and attention to details, that you will be taken over by the wonderful culmination of emotions done with deadpan look. You are sure to be rolling on the floor laughing.
The simplicity of the town people and their attitude towards being tricked or hurt are handled with such finesse. I loved the collection so much that each piece was like a wonderful cake that you will enjoy nibbling.
For me, this book contained small parts of my personal life experiences. The interaction with few characters almost felt like my life’s incident was taken to write these short stories. This shows the depth of understanding that went into each story which the author had done with great care. There is much in the way the characters would remain true to their interest and come together in times of crisis.
My Likes and Dislikes
Two stories that I really loved for their strength and great storytelling was Iswaran and Lawley Road. Others were wonderful too; but these two stories were really precious gems in the collection.
The story titled Iswaran speaks of suicide, a serious subject is handled with finesse and flair by the writer. The irony in the story leaves you feeling that the event of a students life when dejection sets in can be really hard. The story is well defined and relatable experience make it poignant piece.
Lawley Road shows the Villagers’ capability of cunningness and their right touch of humor in life. I was rolling on the floor laughing that the simple-minded villagers sold the statue with the two goats as an add-on for a huge price. The wit and exceptional quality of humor that can be brought out only this author.
If the readers are looking out for a book about the south Indian pastoral shades of life, I think you should read Malgudi Days as a sampler. This book is exceptionally my favorite book. My childhood was filled with humor and our happiness at home could be the counterbalance of bearing up.
This book brings the joy and sadness with dry humor. Well, the stories made me surprised and happy at all the points. I would suggest this book for middle grade reading. R K Narayan’s English is so simple and easy to take in.
This book shows how much hard effort the writer had put in the book to bring out the best stories. That is one thing that I loved about his stories. They were practically smile puller at every turnpikes of Malgudi. This village is not a fictional for me; but a true place where I hang my heart of imagination.