BACHELOR OF ARTS, THE – R K NARAYAN Review, Summary, Story, Price, Online, Fiction, Nonfiction

By: sarav | Jan 19, 2008 11:34 AM (Updated Mar 07, 2009 06:07 AM) Am not an avid reader of books and novels, especially that of thick books running into hundreds of pages. Even when i was a kid, was content with reading Indrajal comics or amar chitra katha or max A tale of two cities or Count of Mount cristo kind, short and easy to read kind of books.

i had already read this book when i was the age of the protagonist in this story. But last week when i found this tiny book squeezed in between the volumes of Britannica, i could not resist taking it out for my “before you hit the bed” reading.

Bachelor of Arts is the story of a young man, Chandran coming of age in colonial India, yes…. you guessed it right in the fictitious town of Malgudi.

Chandran is in his final year in college and a bright History student with extraordinary organising skills for college events but sucks big time in doing the same for himself. He is busy spending his days making new friends, watching second show movies, suspecting and analysing every move of every other person around but trying to accept and come to terms with situations as he moves on. In summary, withering his time away as we all did.

Once Chandran graduates, unlike his friends, he decides to spend his time relaxing at home without studying further or doing anything worthwhile thereby continuing his withering away business. During that period, he comes across this beautiful girl Malathi and is crazy about her. After having found out that she is from the same caste as his, Chandran pesters his parents to approach Malathi’s family and ask her for marriage.

For some reason (which is very realistically elaborated in the book), the marriage does not take place which dejects Chandran so much as to make a decision to leave Malgudi for good and live with his cousin in Madras. He gets so carried away with the loss of Malathi forever from his life and eventually losing interest in Life, starts escaping from everyone around. After reaching Madras, he doesnot even meet his cousin at the station and ends up living in a Hotel later wandering for 8 months or so as a Sanyasi before realising that it was just a passing phase that he had gone through and gets back to Malgudi, gets married and does really well in his career compared to what he has gone through.

Seems like a regular Devdas kind of story. rt? Hmm. not really. the language, the events and situations in Chandrans life and the way they are depicted is what makes this story extraordinaire.

Overall, a very close-to-life account of one among us kind person going through the phases of Life every other teenager goes through, sometimes a bit carried away. The human experience, especially from a boy and then a man’s view is excellently protrayed in clear and concise language by a simple story teller who at times brings out the influence of the West into the lives of us from the East. bet you the human emotions and the relationships described in this book will remind you of your own while you are reading the story of Chandran. There is humour all along to giggle while reading tinged with sadness. True to the name of the publications called Indian Thought Publications, this is the true Indian writing as can be related by most Indians.

The more you read self help books or how to kind of books, the more you will realise that all these new age authors have taken the thoughts from ancient philosophical works and woven around it. While most would be able to relate to some accounts in such books, for others like me they seem too complex better put cryptic.

Having read Swami and Friends and The Vendor of Sweets as well by R K Narayan, somehow i feel he is not highly regarded as a writer for his down-to-earth writings. He is an out and out Indian steeped in tradition and old world values. Today a Naipaul,an Arundhati Roy or a Kiran Desai are icons of Indian Writing. Very few can appreciate what R k Narayan wrote long ago though everything he wrote holds good today. Let it be. it is my personal view.

Unfortunately, Chandran did not have facilites to read the esteemed revus of Impressing Women on MS and putting them into practice on others after losing Malathi but on the other hand, its fortunate that he experienced it first hand and compromised with Life while winning over his infatuation.. or was it Love??

Nevertheless, a very good book which I am delighted to cull from the plethora of highly rated ones.By the way, i could not put down the book nor could i go to sleep without completing all the 150 odd pages.

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