Thursday, February 25, 2010

Malgudi days: Childhood Reminiscence

Anytime that you wish to go back to childhood and revisit nostalgia, its time to read Malgudi days. Such are the stories of the fictitious city and characters that have been created by RK Narayan (RKN) . It does not seem plausible that there's no town by this name in real India. Malgudi was conceived more as a concept but has gone beyond it to be more concrete than that. In one of the narrations of RKN he said " If I explain that Malgudi is a small town in South India I shall only be expressing a half truth, for the characteristics of Malgudi seem to me universal."

For me the book proves to be full of limitless joy - Swami and his friends remind me of the Doordharshan serial and its characteristic music which no one in our generation can forget. The wonderful cartoons by RK Laxman to illustrate the characters added more to its glorious splendor. The stories carved out of the Malgudi are so simple, the characters are simpletons and have no complexities about them. What you read  about is routine day of anyone that you are following yet by the end of it, you fall in love with the characters.

Presently, I am reading short stories of RKN (Under the Banyan Tree) whose greatest  achievement is his ability to carve a wonderful short stories in couple of pages making a memorable read for you. These are ordinary stories of ordinary people- village postman, roadside astrologer, shopkeeper, watchman, grocery shop, village dog and beggar but they are so beautifully carved that the stories are refreshing and enjoyable. You can mentally visualize and capture any Indian village reading these stories. These stories not only appeal to a particular age group but can be immense joy for anyone to read it. The characters are such that you come across them everyday in your life. This is the real success of Malgudi days being the simplicity of stories and characters and yet they stir you and touch your heart. . In the current era of internet and fast stress paced life that we all lead, it feels good to read about  a time when life appears to be at a manageable pace and complexity of issues were so naive.

I recommend for anyone who has not read Malgudi days to be the very next very book that you read. Originality, simplicity and realism of place and characters are what you will totally relate to and enjoy.

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