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Book Review: The World of Nagaraj by R.K. Narayan

The World of Nagaraj is a plot less novella by R.K. Narayan. The protagonist of the novel is a man called Nagaraj: the novel has been built around his everyday chores. He whiles away day with nothing substantial to do in life, with no concrete aim. He longs to write a masterpiece on the sage Narad. As he is so much in fake preparation of the book that wherever he goes, he begins narrating the tales of the book to be written by him. For this reason people don’t take him seriously, including his elder brother Gopu, and his own wife Sita.

He is a rich man, lives in Kabir Street of Malgudi. Since he has inherited lot of farming land, thus he is free from the clutches of financial worries. This privilege keeps him from working anywhere. He has many school friends and to whom he often visits and consults on how to do business. One such friend is Coomer whom he helped by lending two thousand rupees. With that help, Coomer started Sari business and went on to open up Malgudi’s biggest Sari center.

Nagaraj took time to complete his B.A. but his elder brother Gopu did complete it quite easily. However it is Nagaraj who takes out the sayings and thoughts from the great literary figures like Shakespeare. After the death of their father both brothers divided the property and Gopu goes away to a village where he started gobar gas plant and other farming business. From Gopu’s point of view, Nagaraj is a useless man with no aim at all.

Well, one day Nagaraj’s nephew Tim comes to live with him after having squabble with his parents. Gopu and his wife want Tim to join the family business, but Tim hates the stench of cow dung and of other manure. Nagaraj is a childless parent hence he always longed and adored Tim ever since he was a kid. Tim is enrolled in the Albert Mission School to continue his schooling. Over a period of some time, Tim grows enigmatically silent and started coming late at night. At times he reeked of alcohol. Gopu for sure knew that Nagaraj would not be able to control his son. As a result, when one day Nagaraj goes to his school to see him or rather to spy over him, there he comes to know that Tim has left the school. Even after this, Nagaraj plans several times to question Tim but he comes late at night and in the morning slips away silently on his bicycle. Through Gopu, one day Nagaraj comes to know that Tim is working at a Kismet Bar and his future is certainly now goes out of control. And Gopu blames Nagaraj for this act. Well, Nagaraj’s plan to write a book about Narada keeps seeing procrastination.

At any point of time, the novel does not see any interesting climax or fight of destinies. Well, this book is based on a very popular theme of human lives i.e. conflict of nature - a theme prevalent in the works of R. K. Narayan.


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