There is no good in admiring an author, whose intellectual works can only be understood and appreciated by same literary intellectual mob. Sometimes it is tougher to be simpler. That’s why I am always marveled by this man “RK Narayan”. If you are ever gifted a chance to read his books, you will understand what I mean. He is one among the few authors, who could write, which even a poor mind (like me) can easily grasp. Just like his innocence of writing, his innocence of characters always makes me feel nostalgic. His novel “The Dark Room” is not an exceptional.
“The Dark room” tells a poignant tale of dutiful women Savitri (a typical devoted Indian house wife of those ages 1935) and her domineering husband (a typical arrogant Indian husband of those ages 1935). As an outcome of their marriage, they have three children’s Babu, Kamala and Sumati. Ramani is such a bossy chap, who expects every aspect of perfection in his household and failing to meet that will only reinforce his bad temper. Unable to bear his tantrums and her inability do anything against him, sometimes Savitri would shut herself in a dark room in their house until her will fails her.
Things get complicated when “Shanta Bai” comes in to picture. Shanta bai gets employed in the English Insurance company, for which Ramani is a senior officer. Soon an intimacy develops between Ramani and Shanta that strains the relationship between Savitri and Ramani. Incapable to swallow the infidelity, Savitri venture to leave her husband and children’s. Even her absence never provoked fatheaded Ramani to search for Savitri and extend a grain of sympathy to her. When Savitri is about to drown in river sarayu, she is rescued and sheltered by Mari (a blacksmith & a burglar) and her wife Ponni. Resolved to live independent, Savitri finds a petty job in a temple with the aid of Mari. Soon reality hits her and remembrance of her children’s and her pitiful condition melts her determination (as usual) and makes her find way to home.
Though the story sounds gloomy, RK Narayan retains the brightness through his elegant narration and witty humor. None of the characters would fail to remind Indianism or I must emphasize south Indiansim. It is a delight to read his characters. At the end of the book, when Savitri muttered to Ramani “A part of me is dead”, RK Narayan touches the futility of matrimony. It is a profound statement.
Will the Gals of present generations be able to lead a life like Savitri?. With the considerable progress in women’s emancipation since this book has written, I only presume Women’s might have weakened in their morality and have improved to wring their Men’s neck (guys! no offence meant) in the same circumstances now.But who knows !!!