First Book Review “Malgudi Days “

They say a man’s best friend is his dog and a woman’s best friend is her diamond. But I say their best friend is books. Books are one thing that remains faithful – you just have to make sure you are looking at the right ones. Good books are just like good friends – they will always remain sincere to us. The beauty of a book lies mostly in the presentation style along with its contents.

One such book which is overall a great package is “Malgudi Days” by “Rasipuram Krishnaswami Ayyar Narayanaswami”, better known as “R K Narayan”. Though its 100+ years since this legend was born, he still rules in the hearts of any literary lover. 

Compared to other books by the same author, this was the most widely appreciated, and even made into a television serial. Narayan certainly has an extraordinary command over words. A similarity between most of his books, whether it is novels, stories, short stories, memoirs or even essays, is the simple language and the play of words as he narrates each incident, each location & each personality. These stories written with Narayan’s simple style and characteristic gentle irony, portray the variety and colour of Indian Life. The vividness in the explanation makes each character dear to us. Infact, though the characters of “Malgudi days” all belong to a small village; these people are still alive amongst us. The characteristics of the village Malgudi seems universal to any part of the world. 

Malgudi days is a collection of 32 short stories told by R K Narayan. In each of the stories he narrates the extraordinary ordinariness of a human life. The artistic innocence of his words at once hits a chord with our hearts. It deals with a small village in India having a multitude of personalities having various characters, outlooks, habits and day-to-day philosophy.

Each story in this collection, deals mainly with one character or emotion of a typical person, which captivates the reader’s imagination. Though the crux of any story can be explained in a couple of lines, the elaborateness makes us feel that we are at that particular village scene watching the incident and prying inside the character’s heads and knowing about the feelings of their heart.

The stories all ends with a surprising note that makes us think from the character’s point of view, on their emotions and what prompted them to do their deeds. It gives an exposure to traditions, life and emotions of various kinds of people. This makes a very interesting reading as it throws light into the minds of people in general.  

For example, the story “An Astrologer’s Day” Narayan introduces us to a typical market scene. The story revolves on an astrologer seated under a tamarind tree which flank a path running through the Town Hall Park. The astrologer’s appearance – the ash and vermillion on the forehead, turban on the head, sparkle in the eye, even the unique location of the eye is beautifully expressed. The author goes on to enchant the reader with his beautiful explanation on the astrologer and the other traders doing business in the busy path. Yet, the focal point in the story still remains with the astrologer, his astronomic techniques and dealings with his customers – particularly one of them.

The resplendency of the language of R K Narayan’s Malgudi days prompts the readers to go back to the book and turn the pages yet once again plunging into the various human minds. It leaves any reader spellbound with emotions. The excellent vocabulary of the author’s words leaves the readers thirsting for more.

A great book that adds value to your collection.