Sunday, April 22, 2007

A beautiful journey through the world of RKN

As always, the book was borrowed. A kind-hearted friend of mine (who does not yet know my prowess of building a library out of borrowed books) lent me "A Town called Malgudi". It is a collection of two novels and sixteen short stories. Simply awesome. It's a keeper... I may even break my tradition and buy this one :-)

The Man eater of Malgudi (1962):
I read RKN not for the story - but for the story telling. There is no concept of a spoiler... You can actually know the ending (or in fact the entire story) and still enjoy the "reading" part just as much. When I started reading the 'Man-eater' I knew that the ending was a murder and it was comical (thanks to the kind-hearted friend). As I started reading through the book, I actually did not care what happened at the end... at some point, I did not even want it to end... How could one when you came across such lines:

(humbly copied without permission...)

... 'I have never felt better,' I said, although the thought kept troubling me that the veterinarian was trespassing unwarrantedly into human fields.

... The alarm-clock that had screeched in the dark on the previous night was now ticking away modestly.

... Every daemon carries within him, unknown to himself, a tiny seed of self-destruction, and goes up in thin air at the most unexpected moment. Otherwise what is to happen to humanity?

Add to these... fabulous characters.... The narrator Nataraj, (the hero) is a through gentleman. Although he inherited the wealth, does a honest day's work for lively hood. He is extremely nice to redirect some (most) of his customers to his neighbouring press - The Star Printers who have a much advanced machine - The Heidelberg. RKN does not mention the name of Nataraj's press in this novel. But reading other novels you can know that it is called "Truth Printing Press" How apt for a man of his character. My respect for the character doubled when I was reading this....

(again respectfully replicated)
The septuagenarian asked again, 'Is Nataraj here?' unable to see inside owing to the glare.
'Yes, yes, I'm here,' I cried, and went down to help him up the steps.

How many business men welcome old people (who have not come to do any trade) with such respect? Later the old man rambles about his diet, his longevity and what not. Nataraj listens to everything patiently and even promises to find a replacement dog for his grandson.

The other characters - the poet (Does he have a name?), Sen - the journalist, Vasu - the villain, Muthu - the tailor, Kumar - the elephant, Rangi - the dancer, Nataraj's wife, all make distinctive impact on the readers mind - thanks to RKN's description that leaves very little to the reader's imagination... at the same time not burdening the reader with too much detail.

Oh, I could go on and on... the whole novel is filled with touching details that are too close to everyday life. But then, I will let you to read it yourself.

Next post is about the Talkitive Man... till then, grab a book and read.


aishu_here said...

The Maneater of Malgudi was my first novel from RKN..a book which I bought and later thought it was worth more than the money paid.

RKN excels in his descriptions of the simple lives of the characters ..unknowingly absorbing the reader into the smooth curves and rough turns of happenings at Malgudi with Nataraj.

BTW, Can I borrow your 'Town Called Malgudi'?...Or perhaps will buy it, thanks for the review :-)

Shubha said...

apparently, I have more friends like you ..thats where all my books disappear to.. "library of borrowed books"...