Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Missing Mail by R.K Narayan, reviewed by Loveleen Gupta

The Missing Mail by R.K Narayan

Reviewed by
Name: Loveleen Gupta
School: Gyan Mandir Public School

About the Author:

Rasipuram Krishnaswamy Narayan was born on 10th October 1906 in Madras in India. He was a Prolific Indian writer whose exquisitely crafted stories and novels provided witty and perceptive observations about life in India. He has published numerous novels, five collections of short stories, two travel books, four collections of essays, a memoir and some translations of Indian myths and epics. He received th Sahitya Akademi Award for ‘The Guide’ (1958). The missing mail has been taken from the collection Malgudi Days which has stories involving incidents and experiences in the life of the people of the frictional city named Malgudi that remains central to all of Narayan’s Works.

1. Ramanujam
2. Thanappa
3. Kamakshi
4. Ramanujam’s wife
5. Kamakshi’s Maternal Grand father

Book Review

Being the beat postman of Vinayak Mudali street and its four parallel struts, Thanappa is a part and parcel of the lives of people living there. For a generation now he has been bringing them news of joys and sorrows in the form of letters, telegrams and money orders.

Everybody on the beat likes his affable manners and sustaining conservation. He is a valuable counselor for many people on the beat and gets a lot of love, respect and eatables from them. Of all his contacts he is most intimately related to Ramanujam of 10, Vinayak Mudali Street, an address to which he has been bringing mail for more than seventeen years over since Kamakshi, Ramanujam’s daughter, was born.

The girl has already attained marriageable age and her maternal grandfather, who has set aside five thousand and rupees for her marriage, keeps pestering his son-in-law, Ramanujam, to marry off the girl at the earliest. He even goes to extent of saying that Ramanujam is not doing enough to get his daughter married. This of course is not true. Ramanujam has exhausted all possibilities and explored all avenues for a suitable son-in-law but unfortunately drawn a blank everywhere. Sometimes the girl’s appearance is not approved, sometimes the boy’s family demands too much dowry and yet on some other occasions, the horoscopes do not match. It is here that Thanappa comes to Ramanujam’s rescue. He suggests a very good match for Kamakshi. The boy is working in Delhi and earning two hundred rupees. On Thanappa’s inconsistence and loaning, Ramanujam spring into action and takes his daughter to Madras for the boy’s family to see her. Luckily for Ramanujam the alliance is negotiated and the marriage is fixed.

Here a problem arises which keeps bothering Ramanujam and his wife. If for some reason or the other the marriage cannot be solemnized on the appointed day, the boy will not be able to marryfor next three years for he is going out for some training.

Ramanujam cannot afford postponement or cancellation of the marriage and let go such an excellent alliance for his daughter.

Destiny threatens to disrupt the wedding but Thanappa thwarts destiny’s plan. He holds back a letter announcing the seriousness of Ramanujam’s uncle and then a telegram announcing his death a day before Kamakshi’s marriage. Thanappa plays a key role in making arrangements for wedding as well as its hurdle-free solemnization. Ramanujam is grief stricken and is upset that Thanappa has withheld the news of his Uncle’s death from him. “I would not have cared to go through the marriage when he (his uncle) was dying…”, he tells Thanappa who stands bowed head. He confesses is offence and even suggests that Ramanujam is free to complaint against him. Saying so, Thanappa goes away. Ramanujam does not lodge any complaint against him.

My opinion:

The Title of the story is very apt. The author has carefully preserved the mystery ;of the impart of the title till very end of the story. The readers cannot even imagine that a postman like Thanappa will ever hold back the delivery of mail.

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