The name Malgudi evokes a nostalgic response in almost anyone you meet. Somehow it seems to bring about memories of a simpler, less complicated era in our lives, so much so that even Indians who've never experienced village life firsthand feel as though 'Malgudi' might be their 'native village'! Advertisers for quite a few products now use 'Malgudi' and its associations to help brand their products – fruit juice, restaurants, home-stays for tourists… Just why do we all collectively love Malgudi so much? Could be any or all of these reasons.

1. The travails of the common man.

common man

The Common Man, created by R.K.Narayan's brother R.K.Laxman.

Most of R.K.Narayan's stories were extremely simple, and had simple plots – an ordinary person, most often a young boy or man, would be jolted out of his peaceful existence through no fault of his own, and be forced to grapple with problems that were obviously too complex for him. Somehow, he would emerge from the experience, not gloriously successful but not a complete failure either. There were no heroic characters. These could well be tales about the author's brother's equally popular creation, the Common Man.

2. The wry sense of humour.

Feeling nostalgic? Here's the famous Malgudi Days theme song:

While the average reader would hardly be laughing throughout the tales, the foibles of all the characters could certainly raise a smile. Think of the hapless Swami being forced to go to school, Chandran the B.A. in love and worried about the caste that his beloved belonged to, and the inherent social commentary in the books – a glimpse of life in small-town India, revolving as it does around endless rounds of 'litigation' where brother fought brother over ancestral property, life ground to a halt for afternoon naps, and an entire town ceased functioning to organise a temple festival – ah, if only we could experience such times again.

3. The gentle lampooning of the rich and powerful.

malgudi stories

Unfortunately, Narayan never made a politician one of the main characters in his stories…

We Indians dislike bullies, but traditionally we have avoided confronting them. However, we enjoy watching the pompous, the powerful and the corrupt get their comeuppance – and in several Malgudi stories – The Man-Eater of Malgudi, The Financial Expert – they do.

4. The characters of different stripes – conmen, simpletons, financial experts, lawyers, printers, godmen…

Gandhi Mahatma Malgudi

Gandhiji in the story Waiting For Thee Mahatma is much more optimistic!

Malgudi is peopled with characters of all stripes. Even Gandhiji makes an appearance, in Waiting for the Mahatma. Even if you haven't lived in a small town, you've met characters like these, making the stories and the setting instantly relatable.

5. A reminder of how bad schools used to be!

Swami Malgudi School

Swami in school.

The two schools in Malgudi – Albert Mission School and the Board school – feature in many of the stories. In particular, the Swami and Friends stories feature both schools, and give us a glimpse of school days in olden times, when caning and other forms of corporal punishments were common, and even parents indulged in them as a reliable form of disciplining their kids.

6. Love and longing in pre-globalised India.

Bachelor of Arts is about a typical frustrated romance in Indian society

Bachelor of Arts is about a typical frustrated romance in Indian society

Lovers in Malgudi needed to be discreet, rarely even exchanging words or glances. Chandran falls in love with a girl he has never spoken to, and never even considers speaking with her – for him, love means having his parents and her parents work out the details of an arranged marriage with his beloved! Raman, a sign-painter, is braver and more independent, but is thwarted in his romance all the same. Unsuccessful love stories seem the norm in Malgudi!

7. There's even a story with a feminist angle.

A Malgudi tale with a female protagonist

A Malgudi tale with a female protagonist

R.K.Narayan did not shy away from the starker realities of life in small-town India. In The Dark Room, Janaki, the perfect wife and mother, faces a crisis when her husband starts an affair with a female employee. Though in her despair she gathers the courage to leave him and even attempts suicide, she realises that she cannot leave her life, and her children, so easily. A rarity among the Malgudi tales, this one shows a woman's perspective.


October 15th is P.G.Wodehouse’s birthday. While many legions of readers the world over swear by his particular brand of humour, some are left cold by it. In any case, we guarantee that the collection of Wodehouse quotes below will have you guffawing whether you’re a Wodehouse fan or not!

Wodehouse on aging gracefully:

wodehouse quote on aging

Ouch! That’s a bit harsh, isn’t it?

Wodehouse on the difference between men and women:

wodehouse on the difference between men and women

Wodehouse novels, especially the Jeeves and Wooster ones, are filled with women who call the shots, often leaving their male counterparts bewildered.

Wodehouse on how and when to apologize:

wodehouse on apologies

This one is almost philosophical, isn’t it?

Wodehouse on the kind of girl your friend needs to marry:

wodehouse on the kind of girl your friend needs

The perfect insult.

Then again, Wodehouse on marriage itself:

wodehouse on marriage

Unnecessarily bleak, do you think? Well, as we’ve heard before, marriage is no bed of roses…

Wodehouse on English blood sports:

wodehouse on shooting

Wodehouse novels are generally set in upper-class homes, where weekend shooting parties used to be held, with gentleman participating in shooting contests. Eww!

Wodehouse on different degrees of disappointment:

wodehouse gruntled disgruntled quote

Here Wodehouse coins a new word, making us wonder why it wasn’t part of the dictionary already!

Wodehouse on Bertie’s formidable Aunt Agatha:

wodehouse on aunt agatha

Aunt Agatha was a rich source of humour in the Bertie Wooster novels, along with the more sympathetic but equally hilarious Aunt Dahlia. No collection of Wodehouse quotes would miss out on having one on her.

Wodehouse on What Women Really Want:

wodehouse women tea

A lot of Wodehouse quotes seem to be on women, and no wonder; he generally spoke from a man’s perspective in his books.

Wodehouse on Receiving a Nasty Shock:

wodehouse on shock

Ah, which among us has not experienced a rude shock from time to time?

Which one among these did you like the most? Are your favourite Wodehouse quotes in here? Tell us!


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