It’s Day 7 of the #A2ZChallenge. This year, I invite you to read and discuss short stories with me. Each day, I bring you a ‘Read of the Day,’ a short story in English, so that we can indulge in the joy of reading. You can visit my site daily for a short story with analysis and participate in the discussion in the comments.
Read of the Day
Today, we will read An Astrologer’s Day by R. K. Narayan.
You can read the short story online here.
About the Author
Rasipuram Krishnaswami Narayan, or R. K. Narayan, is one of India’s most prolific English writers. Winner of the Sahitya Akademi Award (1960) and the Padma Vibhushan (2000). R.K.Narayan’s writings are known for their simplicity, humour, and authenticity. He’s called the Indian Chekhov for their similar styles. He started his writing career with regular contributions to the print newsletters like The Hindu. He struggled for fifteen years as a writer (an experience he calls frustrating,) before the publication of his first book publication. He has fifteen novels, over two hundred short stories, several essays, and translations to his credit. His novel, The Guide (1958), has been adapted into the classic Dev Anand and Waheeda Rahman movie. He is best known for creating a fictional town, Malgudi, based on his hometown, Madras, and now Chennai, and its timeless characters – Swami and his friends. He has retold several Hindu epics such as The Ramayana, The Mahabharata, and Gods, Demons, and Others.
R.K.Narayan is another of my parents’ favourite writers. In fact, the last time I’d visited them, we were discussing his writings. Last weekend, I browsed through Landmark, the bookstore by Westside, and was thrilled to see ‘Swami and Friends’ in the bestsellers section. Such is the power of good writing. It’s immortal.
An Astrologer’s Day is a story of a man who leaves his village and becomes an astrologer in Malgudi city to earn a living. Narayan’s stories are known for their brevity, and it makes the perfect easy read for any day. An Astrologer’s Day is no exception. The author treads skillfully on the fine balance between descriptive prose and dramatic suspense. You discover it’s a veteran at play here.
The story feels modern, and you find rich vocabulary that’s grossly missing in today’s popular fiction authors in India. Classical authors are always in vogue, and that’s why R. K. Narayan will always remain relevant in English Literature. It’s not a surprise to see him counted among the short-story prodigies in the 19th and 20th centuries, such as O. Henry, Chekhov, Frank O’Connor, Maupassant, and Flannery O’Connor.
R. K. Narayan introduced India to the world with his classical writings and bridged the cultural gap as readers around the globe found resonation in his characters.
My daughter’s birthday is in a couple of days, and ‘Swami and Friends’ will be my birthday gift for her this year. It’ll be interesting to know how the current generation takes to R.K.Narayan’s beautiful writings.
I’d love to know your thoughts on An Astrologer’s Day by R. K. Narayan.
*I’m participating in the #BlogchatterA2Z Challenge.