Saturday, February 4, 2017

Swami and Friends - R K.Narayan

Rating: 5/5
Read between 27th January,2017 to 28th January 2017

Edition Details:
Format : Paperback
Page Count : 212
Publisher : Indian Thought Publications
ISBN : 978-81-85986-00-5

First Sentence:
It was Monday morning.

Swami is an average ten year old kid in Malgudi. His life revolves around his friends,school, exams and cricket. He keeps finding himself into one trouble or other which is mainly because of his own fault.  And he has then to work to extricate himself out of them.

Now you'll be wondering what trouble can befall a ten year old kid and that too in a town like Malgudi.

Well, for that you'll have to book your self a ticket to Malgudi and meet Swami.

This is not the first time i'm reading this book. Initially, i had this habit of writing the date of starting a book on its first page. When i decided to read this book and i opened my edition i was surprised  to find that i had read this book more than seven years back on 9th of October 2009. It was a pleasant surprise as i knew i had fond memories of reading this gem of a book then. I had loved reading it then and i loved reading it now. There are few books for which you can say that.

The whole book revolves around Swami. His thoughts about life and other people in general are always funny to read. The things that make it more funny is that he is very serious when he's uttering them. 

The book begins with him going to school on a Monday morning. Then we get to see his friends in the class viz Mani the guy who's stronger than every body in the world (that's what Swami believes), Sankar(the studious one) and Pea, who's as normal as Swami. The story is series of events that occur in Swami's life and how it affects him and his relationship with his friends. We get to see the following events: 

Entry of a new student which changes the dynamics of his friendship.final examination, beginning of new year in school, summer vacation, birth of his younger brother ,participation of Swami in a political protests, opening of Malgudi Cricket Club(MCC) by Swami and his friends, preparation of first match of MCC.

Each event has an consequences which more often than not are funny to the reader.They are simple yet enjoyable to read. Their life may seem mundane on the outside but R K Narayan shows that it's not so. After the English Teacher i can say that this is my second best R K Narayan book.

The characters are typical R K Narayan. Swami and friends were familiar to me as are all R K Narayan characters. I could see a little bit of me in each of them. And more often then not they reminded me of someone from my life. The relationship that Swami had with his parents and his grandmother also struck a chord with me.

I loved reading the book and would definitely recommend it. If you haven't read it then you should definitely give it a try. I know you wouldn't regret it. 

Some lines from the book:

The bond between them was laughter. They were able to see together the same absurdities and incongruities in things. The most trivial and unnoticeable thing to others would tickle them to death.

They were so close that they could have heard each other if they had spoken in whispers. But it was a matter of form between enemies to communicate through a medium. Mani faced Swaminathan steadily and asked," Are you a man?" Swaminathan turned to Rajam and repeated, "Are you a man?" Rajam flared up and shouted,"Which dog doubts it?" Swaminanthan turned to Mani and said ferociously, "Which dirty dog doubts it?"

"You have seen my grandmother, Rajam?"
"No. Will you show her to me? I should love to see her," replied Rajam.
"Wait a minute then," said Swaminathan and ran out. He had one last hope that his granny might be asleep. It was infinitely safer to show one's friends a sleeping granny."

He closed his eyes and muttered:"Oh, Sri Rama! Thou hast slain Ravana though he had ten heads, can't you give me six paise?....If i give you the six paise now, when will you give me the hoop? I wish you would tell me what that herb is.... Mani, shall i tell you the secret of getting a hoop? Oh, Rama! Give me six paise and i will give up biting my thumb for a year...."

"How much does Rama want for his mangoes?"
"Fifteen annas," replied Swaminathan without conviction.
"Very good. How many mangoes does Krishna want?"
"Four."
"What is the price of four?"
Father seemed to delight in torturing him. How could he know? How could he know what that fool Krishna would pay?

He was no doubt secure between Father and his friend. But Swaminathan felt at the same time that it would have been better if all the persons in the card-room had escorted him to the car. He needed all the guarding he could get, and some more. Probably by this time the boy had gone out and brought a huge gang of assassins and was waiting for him.

If you haven't got the book you can get it from here:

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