Watiing For The Mahatma by R.K Narayan
Name: Shubhika Kaushik (9 years)
School: Delhi Public School, Indirapuram
Sriram is twenty. As a mark of his coming of age his grandmother allows him the pass-book his savings in the local bank, but Sriram is growing up in other ways, too, and an enchanting and unpredictable girl leads him into the entourage of Mahatma Gandhi.
These are the opening events in R.K NARAYAN’S novel. It is the finest thing he has yet achieved, and his story of the triumphs and tragedies of a raw, young zealot in the service of Gandhi is distinguished for its warmth, its humour, its lack of sentimentality and the stamp of absolute truth.
Sriram’s evolution into manhood is, for him, a strange and bewildering process. Bharti, the girl he worships, is witty, capable and, wonder of wonders, condensing to the moonstruck Sriram. Her first loyalty though is to the mahatma, a saint blessed by disconcerting common sense, a man whose tragedy is that he is so much greater than his followers. Most of accept his ideas enthusiastically, and without realizing it, pervert them to suit their own coarser personalities. Sriram is inspired by Gandhi, but he is easily influenced by glamorous patriots of the type of Jagdish, a terrorist.
It is a tale of remarkable insight into the upsurge of India nationalism as witnessed through the eyes and hearts of Sriram and Bharati, and told with all the genius compassion we have come to expect from R.K NARAYAN.