Wednesday, March 07, 2007

R.K.Narayan - the dear Grandpa!

First of all, thanks to Rishi, who keeps reminding me it has been long time since I wrote anything down here. Well... Just this evening I had a chat with my long time friend, Srivatsan on literature and various other stuff. We agreed upon one common thing – ever since we started reading books, it is only on R.K.Narayan on whom we never lost our faith; we always hold him dear to our heart. Quite true. A person might have so many bad feelings towards his dad. Its quite natural. Its generation gap and all that. Mr.Freud might explain it to you better. But I hardly know anybody who doesn’t like his granddad. R.K.Narayan is like a grandpa to me.

On a first read, R.K.Narayan’s works seem to be so simple and ordinary. But the depth of his work is always penetrating – here I mean your heart. There are so many people who challenge his literary values. But nobody will disagree to agree that he was the one who never created any word picture “literally-metaphorically” – (you know who I mean – what the heck, it’s Rushdie!) - But who re-created the typical south Indian village in plain, simple, neat English. You just read it, feel it and be there!

Though R.K.Narayan is known for his fiction writing, he was an accomplished travel writer also. From the time I read his travel piece on Sringeri I had this irresistible urge to visit those beautiful temples and serene mountains. Another good friend of mine too got excited after reading that particular piece. We set for the trip on a bus to Sringeri from Bangalore. I carried R.K.Narayan’s “The writerly life”, collection of essays which contained that particular piece on Sringeri as well.

I started reading the book randomly in the bus journey. I bumped on a piece which talked about a place called “Kadur”. R.K.Narayan in his own mellowed way wrote about his experience with the local people there. The description of the roads and forests around Kadur by Narayan fascinated me. He also mentioned that it was on the way to Sringeri. Surprised by this, I just peeped out, and though it sounds cinematic, exactly I was on Kadur. The jungles and hills of that Malnad region start from this Kadur. No doubt, it was a beautiful place. It was slightly drizzling which freshened up the flora and fauna around. I was awestruck by this amazing coincidence of reading a piece and enjoying it ‘live’ at the same time. Needless to say, Narayan’s descriptions were as beautiful as I experienced them myself.

That trip introduced me to a new world of spiritual and aesthetical experience. I fell in love with those scenic paddy and rice fields and the very beautiful Sringeri temple. I made a point to visit this place every year. I also strarted exploring the literature around this place and got introduced to Kuvempu, U.R.Ananthamurthy, and Raja Rao who wrote stories based on hilly regions of Karnataka. This year when I went to Malnad I visited Kuvempu’s very beautiful ancestral house near Tirthahalli.

Many years from now, I see myself, settled down in a small Malnad village, enjoying those serene hills and tranquil life, drowning myself in good literature and good music, in that untouched wilderness. I should be thankful to Narayan as it all started with that wonderful Sringeri piece.

R.K.N – I love you, dear Grandpa!

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