The Talkative Man speaks
<--Added on 8/22/08 for migration to TPB -->
Saturday, December 03, 2005
  Stalwart narrator
It was a sultry summer day in 1986. School being shut down and Doordarshan the old dinosaur leading a nocturnal existence, we kids were bored to death with absolutely nothing to do in the daytime. The sun beat down mercilessly from morning to dusk. Having been strictly warned not to go out and roam, I listlessly spent my time indoors rolling marbles or worse playing wall-cricket, an exercise which resulted in sweaty palms besides pandemonium in the household.

Unable to put up with the disillusionment of this 8 year old and his teen siblings, Amma asked us to go to her school library and see if we could get some books just to give her some peace for a couple of days.

Even though the library was closed down for auditing all summer, the exasperated librarian understood Amma's plight when she saw us. We were visiting her for the nth time that summer. We returned with shabby looking copies of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina and Narayan's The Man Eater of Malgudi

They looked pretty disgusting to me, emanating the sombre smell of library books . Neither book had an illustration anywhere, not even on the cover.

I crawled through the first few pages, nearly gave up after hitting road blocks in the form of words like "sordid", "bounties", "deference", "taxidermist". I wondered how names like Nataraj, Vasu, Babu, Muthu could fit in such a setting. Yet the mirage of finding some reference to a tiger and its exploits kept me going for a few pages, until I finally gave up.

6 months later, in the loneliness of the Half Yearly holidays, I finally ploughed through to the end. Although I was none the wiser and understood nothing(other than the fact that the book often spoke about an elephant which was by no means a man-eater), reading through to the last line of a book gave me an irrational satisfaction.

As Malgudi Days followed on TV, The Hindu would publish the story in each episode prior to the telecast. I was immensely piqued by the character of the Talkative Man. What was the rationale for introducing such a character? Who was he? He seemed a lot like the Vetaal who pops in at the end of many an intriguing tale, with his obnoxious million-dollar question.

After twenty years, most of Narayan's books adorn my bookshelf, initially purchased by painfully saving money during college days(the temptation to possess was nurtured by atleast 3-4 weeks of reading them on the sly in Landmark! I did compensate them more than enough with my bulk purchases on rare cricket and music books - they could have royally bilked me if only they had shed their avarice and given meagre discounts atleast :) ) and later on through remorseless splurging after entering the software industry. Although it's a decade and more since I stopped reading fiction, Narayan's lively style of presenting the mundane still makes me invest a quick 2-3 hours and blaze through one of his works.

I came to R.K.Narayan through back bencher Swami. I saw him growing into Mr.Sampath, English Teacher, Financial Expert etc. R.K.Narayan's novels, R.K.Lakshman's cartoons, R.D.Burman/O.P.Nayyar's Music and watching Mohinder hooking Andi Robert's and Michael Holding's bouncers - what else one needs in life ?
Oh adhu dhana Talkative Man
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Davis Cup semifinal 1987
Sai Paranjpe's Chashme Baddoor
Director Bharathan's Pranaamam
Anything but Big Fun : bubblegum
Railway Journeys - II
A Hyperactive spirit
Ek Duje Ke Liye
Looking back on Amritraj vs Jaite
Freak Encounters - I
An unlikely friendship short-lived
Railway journeys - I
Michael Jordan the greatest:The Flu Game
History at Capetown?
Images from Malgudi Days(DVD)
Found after a 17 year search!
Champions Trophy deja vu
Deepavali song
Heard in passing
Phil Tufnell fielding school
Indian cricket since its embryonic days
Journalism's Joan of Arc
Stills from Idhaya Thamarai/Aur Ek Prem Kahani
The World of Amar Chitra Katha
..and I saw Carl Lewis last weekend!
Two memorable Calypso hits
The sensational triumph in the '83 World Cup
Doordarshan and Frustration!!!
Date with a chennai girl!
Mayhem in the morning
Dream Teams: India XI vs World XI
How Dad's work
Pelting his way into the record books!
Relentless march of time
Close encounters of the Desi Kind
Thandaa paani!
Keep going
Indian Male yuppie: Boy->Man->Gentleman
Hamlet revisited
Rediff is just another TOI
Malgudi Days on DVD
TN Cricket - I : Early heroes
Bala, Bharatan and Guha
Warne does the trick once again
Remembering PV
A rare pic: Aandavans of Alwarpet
Random jottings on friendship
A gutsy analyst
Rarest among Jewels
Adhu Oru Kanaa Kaalam(2005)
The Terrorist(1997)
Holiday plans
Those small pleasures
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