Thursday, January 05, 2006

Malgudi,Swami and friends

I am reading "Malgudi school Days" by R.K.Narayan now. In fact,I am reading it for the seventh time now. And each time I find it equally thrilling and interesting. And each time I dive into the world of Swaminathan,Somu,the Pea,Mani and Rajam. Set against the backdrop of an imaginary small town,called Malgudi,Mr.Narayan not only skillfully develops the characters of the small boys and the adults but also, the easy life of small town families. How do you perceive the world of a child through the vision of an adult? And never for a single moment will you feel that you are reading the account of child's day-to-day life conceptualised and written by an elder. That is the essence of a great story teller. "Rajam,can you please lend me a policeman?"pleads Swami..to intimidate the coachman's son and then get his eighteen pies back. Or,to coax and later demand from his old granny to have six pies so that he can buy the hoop,"if you have it,give it to me or else why ask futile questions?" The vulnerability and inherent helplessness of a child is deftly depicted when Swami is made to sleep alone in his study by none other than his father. And,lo and behold,he becomes a hero once he catches the thief. His subsequent running away from the Board school and wanderings in the Mempi forest,evoke sympathy in the minds of the readers. This is a book by R.K.Narayan ,to be enjoyed by young and old alike.