THE ENGLISH TEACHER
(Malgudi Man, R. K. Narayan, died on May 13, 2001)
He wove our childhood with deceptive innocence,
We believed in his station along with his friends.
Story flowed smoothly, characters popped up alive,
Some led a carefree, some a life of strife.
Few emerged weak, demure and pathetic,
Some came about rude and quite eccentric.
Few left love-stricken with words unspoken,
Into an ascetic in momentary delusion, heart-broken.
Impish Swami, mundane Krishna, contented Chandran,
Like you and me, everyday brethren.
Poor Sampath and his many missed ventures,
Resourceful Raju, from guide to godly lectures.
Simple narration of many a quotidian situation,
Rhapsodised to perfect depiction.
All said and done.. he switched genres with ease,
Plethora of emotions never failed to cease.
Travails of hoi polloi were no less intriguing,
A meticulous wordsmith, he kept soldiering without fatiguing.
To make realistic people and places far-fetched,
Little brother stroked in life, with pencil as he sketched.
Seventeen year old Rajam.. "An angel from Heavens" !
Married her despite the house at sixes and sevens.
Soon Rajam left him, succumbing to typhoid,
Languishing in melancholy, he could never fill her void.
Even tried jumping into her funeral pyre,
Left with little daughter and life in the mire.
Wonder ways of God, at a lonely man's plight!
Sorrow on bereavement, firmed his will to write.
Across continents and oceans, Universe devised a ruse,
So that his genius met Graham Green, his Muse.
A modest, humble, simple soul spun magic with his pen,
To lose ourselves in his world, our hearts continue to yen.
As pages of his books lock in with our eyes,
We beam having well-spent every single piece.
Kunjappa the "little one" was how he was addressed,
Having a lawyer as an uncle, from childhood was impressed.
Trains at the station too caught his fascination,
To be a lawyer cum engine driver was his ambition.
Kunjappa, B.A.LLB, Engine driver.. at the age of seven,
On the bookshelf pasted the credentials, as given!
To keep Rajam bewitched, up above in heavens,
A racounteur par excellence with his marathon sessions.
He left us this day, seventeen years ago,
In his books he lives with us, are yet to bid him ciao!