Book of the Week #31: [Guest Post]

Yashas:

So, after a gap of 30 long weeks, we are back!

Of course, as we promised yesterday, I am still insanely busy with Book Two… Either that or I just am insane…

Thankfully, we have our dear friend Shruti, who is coming back with a much needed series of guest posts.

Okay, to be honest, she says she cannot promise anything at the moment. She does not want a long-term commitment, she says. However, we do hope she sticks around for a while.

Anyway, Ladies and Gentlemen, put your hands together for Shruti!


Shruti:

Malgudi Days,

by R. K. Narayan

“We are a flawed, weak species, he gently reminds us in these pages, focusing his attention, clearly and without sentiment, on those who will stoop low, those who will stop at nothing. What makes us care for such frequently pathetic characters is that they, like most of the rest of us, are strivers, driven by hopes for a slightly better life.”
― Jhumpa Lahiri, on Malgudi Days

The discussion about Indian literature is certainly incomplete without talking about one of the most celebrated writers of India, the late R. K. Narayan.

If you have grown up in India, you have most probably heard of the name Malgudi Days. Set in the fictional town of Malgudi in the south of India, Malgudi Days chronicles the lives of the simple folks of the town through more than 30 short stories.

My first encounter with Malgudi Days was when I was little, when the TV series based on the book was televised on Doordarshan. I still remember the enchanting tune of the theme music, and I won’t be surprised if every single person who ever watched the series or even a few episodes remembers it too. Something about the series struck a chord, and I was drawn to it.

Years later, a short story from the book happened to appear in our school English curriculum and having loved it so much, I decided to lay my hands on the book at last!

As mentioned earlier, Malgudi Days is a collection of over more than 30 short stories. Check any list of the best works from Indian literature and you are sure to find Malgudi Days in it!

There is something very endearing about R K Narayan’s language; it’s simple, yet so powerful. The elements in the stories and the lives of the characters seem fascinatingly relatable.

Maybe it’s because I spent the first 11 years of my life in a town and I used to be a very frequent visitor of the village that is my native place. But I doubt if anyone who has always been a city-dweller would not find the stories appealing.

Malgudi Days features a plethora of colourful characters. You have an astrologer, a school boy and his friends, who actually go out and play and not stick to their smartphones, a large-hearted postman who knows every single person in the town. You have rich folks, and also poor people trying to make ends meet.

The simplicity and the refreshing innocence of the town is one of the main reasons behind the enormous popularity and success of the book.

Even though it was written in the first half of the 20th century, Malgudi Days has proven to be a timeless classic. Through the enchanting narrative, R,K, Narayan wove a tale of this simplistic town so well that it has captured the imaginations of people across the country. And I am sure it will continue to do so for many more generations to come.


Yashas:

Well, I have not read the book, nor can I remember that short story from our curriculum…

And isn’t that the reason why we have a team?

 You can start reading Malgudi Days here.

We do hope Shruti comes back, next week, and really for a few more weeks hereafter.

Anyway, that is all for today.

Thank you…