Sunday, 15 April 2012

The Financial Expert

Date of Reading: 24/11/2006
Author: R. K. Narayan
Publisher: Indial Thought Publications
Place: Mysore
Year: 1992

          Margayya has a flair for minor financial transactions which are an integral part of Indian life. We first meet him sitting in the shade of a banyan tree, advising the people of Malgudi how to extract loans from the Co-operative Bank. A brush with the secretary of the bank, and an accident in which his spoilt son Balu throws his account book down a drain, cut short his career as a financier.
         Then his fairy Godmother comes in the form of Dr. Pal who gives him a manuscript of the book 'Bed Life' concerning marriage and sex. This on publication becomes an instant success and with the money Margayya starts a money lending business which makes him rich.
          But Balu again proves a nuisance. He doesn't pass his matriculation and once he even runs away to Mysore. So as all the parents do, he fixes Balu's marriage with Brinda to make him straight-headed. After the birth of his child, he demands his share; Margayya finds Dr. Pal working behind all this, and in anger beats him with his sandal. Now Pal is pissed off and he works against him. As a result of the rumours Margayya's depositors demand their money back, which makes him poor overnight.
          His family home is saved with the help of his brother. Margayya asks his son to sit under the banyan tree and start his former business but Balu is too dignified to do such a thing. So Margayya himself goes to his profession with the determination to continue it until his death.

Rating: Not Bad

          Supported by Graham Greene, R.K. Narayan has made a seal in Indian English Writing, and though I like his Swami and Friends, I don't feel the same for this one. Incidents happen too quickly without giving an emotional appeal. Margayya, as a character is too distant. He completes a circle, reaching where he has begun at the end of the story but his fall or rise do not make much heart pain to the concerned reader.
          But the adaptation of Indian philosophy to the story is a commendable achievement. Name Margayya itself indicates, " one who shows the path ". Title is ironical as Margayya fails in his own life despite being called as a financial expert. Story is divided into five parts corresponding to the five parts in a Shakespearean tragedy.
         The fault with Indian English Writing is that though they pretend to give a glance of Indian life, compared to native writings it is insufficient. All of them have a basic hidden agenda (which is obvious to all) ie, to please the western audience which is better done by abusing or mocking one's own land.
          The taste of India is to be found in its native literature and the other is just the copy of the copy and therefore as Plato says, is twice removed from reality. 

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1 comment:

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