The English Teacher
One more of R.K.Narayan’s story based in Malgudi - his imaginary town somewhere in south India. I generally am a slow reader and generally take almost 10 days to complete a medium sized novel.
But from the time I started reading this book early this week, I could not help me put it down. I read it at all possible time that I could get.
This book is written in typical R.K.Narayan’s style - elegant but simple English, flow of story that seems like a river stream, explaning ordinary feelings and actions in an extraordinary fashion etc.
It all begins with Krishna, who is a English Teacher in a college. He has a strong connection with the college because he was a graduate from the same one. Initially Narayan brings out the bachelor-like life (I say bachelor-like because he is married with a kid, but staying away due to work). He is a man who is working as an english teacher, but not fully attached to his job. He feels that it is not the place where he ought to be. Feelings of his mind are beautifully depicted by Narayan.
He then decides to bring his wife Susila and kid Leela to Malgudi, as everyone advises him to join his wife and build up the family. Story explains the normal activities like looking for a rented house, adjusting the monthly budget to run the family, blissful nuances of married life etc. but the way they are brought out makes Narayan stand unique.
Towards the middle, the story turns heavy with the loss
of his wife. At this stage, the story is impeccably written and the pages of the book seem to be a mirror - reflecting the feelings of a man who has lost his dearest wife. Final section of the story turns a little philosopical, trying to bring out the relationship between Life, Death and Life after death. Though at first it sounds mystical, Narayan has neatly brought out the love that Krishna has for his wife and the power that this love has. The idea I like the most was - “Thoughts are just fulfillment of mind. In the material world, when you wish to have a nice dress on you, this thought gets fulfilled when you buy one and physically wear it. But in the spiritual world (or in the world after death as he brings out) the thought and fulfillment of minds - both are related to mind as there is no physical existence of material. So the thought and fulfillment are same in spiritual sense - both happens in the mind”. He also brings out the art of balancing of mind and the difficulty that is faced by a normal person when performing the same. Overall this book is a very nice mixture of bliss, heavy moments and some thought for our minds too.