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I mean, is there no other way of paying homage to the greatest Indian, other than flaunting his name on every street corner? As I read Lawley Road by R.

An Astrologer's Day - R.K Naraya- Novel city.

Narayan, I discovered that the above mentioned events are a regular feature of our Politics rather than a one off thing. Even when independence was newly acquired, the local councils believed in acting on such frivolous acts rather than concentrating on development of their cities. So, as nascent India was struggling to stand on its feet, Narayan looked a bit deeper and hit upon the incompetence of local authorities in the present story, making fun of their fetish for names. Lawley Road is told by Talkative Man TM , an imaginary narrator, Narayan has concocted to write the stories in first person.

But, more than a narrator, TM plays a prominent role in this story, in fact, he is responsible for the central agenda. Here, TM is a successful journalist and a married man as compared to the bachelor he used to be in the novella Talkative Man. He is quite popular with Municipal Council MC as he usually writes impressive articles about their working and is in good books of the Councillor, a rich blanket supplier.

The Councillor, in his zeal to celebrate the freedom, decides to change the names of all the prominent roads and streets showing deference to the patriotic leaders. As per the hasty research done by MC, Lord Lawley was an indigenous Hitler, who suppressed Malgudians and tortured them to no end. Anything British could hardly be tolerated in Free India, leave aside paying homage to a tyrant like Lawley.

Moved by such high sentiments, MC gives out a tender to TM to remove the statue. On successful completion of work, Council even facilitates TM at a public function for undertaking a worthy social work and a huge coverage is given to the event, to en-cash on good publicity. But, here the events take a surprising turn. It becomes known that MC has removed the wrong statue!

Lord Frederick Lawley was neither a suppressor nor a dictator, he was actually the founder of Malgudi, a good Englishman who worked for the upliftment of Malgudi and created the first ever co operative in India. As public authorities and media press upon MC, what will be his new strategy? Will he be able to place the chickens back in the basket?

Or, will this lead to more drainage from Public Fund? Well, read this tickling story to know more about the senseless nuances of red tapism prevalent in our corrupt bureaucracy and find out for yourself. I found the story quite simple and yet thought provoking. From the perspective of narrative strategy, it is remarkable that while the astrologer is revealed through his actions and the point of view of the narrator, Nayak is shown through his dialogue.

Nayak's language is always abrupt and elliptical, and his short sentences suggest a pugnacious nature.


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Choosing a diction is always a challenge for the writer when the characters would have, in normal circumstances, spoken a different language and not English. In this instance, the chances are that Nayak would have spoken in Tamil. The language he speaks in English is thus a close approximation of the kind of language he would have used in Tamil. Rather than seek the assistance of the astrologer, Nayak proposes a wager, with the intention of fleecing him.

A bully by nature, his objective is to intimidate the astrologer in order to appropriate his money. Curiously enough, at the end of the exchange, it is the astrologer who wins the sympathy of the reader. One of the ironies of the story is that in this encounter, the astrologer's "supernatural" knowledge turns out to be the truth, and Nayak leaves after having accepted the astrologer's advice about the future.

Nayak's attitude at the end also affirms an interesting aspect of astrological prediction, at least as it is often practiced: the importance of prediction is not so much objective truth as it is the capacity to state what will resolve the conflict in the mind of the client.

The only other character in the story is the wife of the astrologer, who is also nameless, mainly because husbands rarely refer to their wives by name in the social ethos of the story. The absence of a name also has the effect of casting her as a type, confined to the house, comfortable with attending to household chores, cooking and taking care of their daughter. She is also not from the village - a trivial detail but a necessary one in that it provides the occasion for the astrologer to confess his past indiscretion at the end of the story.

Had the wife been from the same village and this would be more typically the case , the astrologer's confession would have been redundant and would have ruined the economy of the story. The wife is also a means to suggest the overall economic standing of the family, since acquiring twelve and a half annas - a paltry sum by Indian standards - becomes an occasion for celebration.

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She also serves the fictional purpose of providing the occasion for the astrologer to reveal aspects of his past and the significance of having encountered Guru Nayak on that day. Narayan's women characters are not often as sharply defined as his male characters, and the woman in this story is no exception.

She comes across as a type rather than as a sharply individualized person. The very fact that she belongs to the town rather than the city is of considerable sociological interest, although to pursue that would have destroyed the unity of the story. Read more from the Study Guide. Browse all BookRags Study Guides. Copyrights An Astrologer's Day from Gale. All rights reserved. Toggle navigation.

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  5. An Astrologer's Day and Other Stories by R.K. Narayan.

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