Waiting for the Mahatma

Thu 05 July 2012 by Thejaswi Puthraya

Sriram grows up under the strict supervision of his grandmother and has just received his twentieth birthday gift in the form of a bank passbook. He now has financial independence and inherited a lot of money and life is beginning to look good when it turns upside down after he falls in love with Bharati, a dedicated volunteer of Mahatma's entourage to Malgudi. He joins the Mahatma against the wishes of his grandmother to prove his love for Bharati.

At the peak of the independence agitation, Bharati courts arrest along with thousands of Mahatma followers and he yearns for her even more. He comes in contact with some volatile elements while trying to seek direction in the absence of Bharati and takes up arms to liberate the country. Not long after, he is arrested but is released after a few years when the country attains independence. He manages to track down Bharati and proposes his love for her once again. She agrees on the condition that it receive approval from the Mahatma.

The book's title seems to suggest that the Mahatma plays quite a significant role but he appears only twice in the book and Sriram and Bharati are the central characters. Sometimes while reading the book, you admire how the RK Narayan alludes Bharati to Bharat Mata. Compared to his other books, the humour in the book is subdued but definitely worth a read.