Malgudi days as I mentioned in an earlier article most of us know the stories in some way or the other. It was adapted to a TV Series when we were growing up and we got hooked up to it back then. The children and adults both had the same amount of interest.
After a long time I was able to get my hands on the book that the Series was based on. Malgudi days is written by prominent writer R.K. Narayan, his contribution is well-known and he is a renowned author of many books but I think no other book of his got so much prominence and publicity as Malgudi days.
There is a quote on the back cover of the book by Francis King which I liked and totally agree with he says, “The hardest of all things for a novelist to communicate is the extraordinary ordinariness of most human happiness…Jane Austen, Soseki, Chekhow: a few bring it off. Narayan is one of them”.
This pretty much summarizes the entire book. If you are looking for some obvious humor, laughs, mystery, drama, love stories, etc. then this is not what you will get from it. The book will leave no impression on you when you finish any story (it’s a collection of short stories) but then when you will be off the book each story will leave a lasting impression on you. The beauty of the stories as King aptly says is the extraordinary ordinariness.
Very few authors can capture the human emotions in such a beautiful way.
In all there are 32 stories and all the stories revolve around a town in south India called Malgudi (it’s a fictitious town don’t look it up in the map). The characters in each story are so well crafted that you can identify them with the few people around you, they are pretty ordinary characters but then again they are extraordinary in their manners.
I would even commend the TV Series in this regard that they did a pretty decent job with the book as the people still remember a lot many characters from that Series still.
All the stories are excellent, it’s hard to pick a few but a few I liked the most are The Missing Mail, The Doctor’s word, The blind dog, Such Perfection, Engine Trouble, Forty-Five a month, The Axe, Lawley Road, A willing Slave, Leela’s Friend, Mother & Son, Selvi, Second Opinion.
In “The Missing Mail” a village postman’s emotions with a household are displayed when he doesn’t deliver a bad mail to the house until the daughter of the house is wedded.
In the “Doctor’s Word” it shows how a doctor’s word is considered to be God’s word and just by listening to a lie how the doctor’s friend cruises through a bad disease which almost killed him.
In “Forty-Five a Month” a man’s tussle with the love for his child and fighting with the financial reality is depicted where he wants to take his little daughter for the movie after promising her but he has to slog in the office every day and the result he gets is a five rupee increase.
In “Mother & Son” the relationship of mother and son is beautifully shown when after getting angry with his son she says some harsh words to him and later she becomes restless when her Son doesn’t come back late in the night. The love and relationship are beautifully depicted.
Each story is unique and touches some or the other part of our everyday life and as Narayan mentions in the beginning that the characters of Malgudi can be found anywhere in the world and the stories have universal appeal.
I enjoyed “Malgudi days” thoroughly and this has re-kindled a wish to watch the entire TV Series again, so may be I will try to find out some you tube links showing the episodes.
How did you like the Series? And have you read the book, and did you like it? Do let me know.