I would like to describe anything written by R. K. Narayan as comfort reading. His stories on the town of Malgudi are really about simple people and simple things. Even though I have seen and enjoyed TV series “Malgudi Days” a lot, I had not read a book by him till now. I picked up “The World of Nagaraj” on a hunch and it is quite a good book. It may not be his best but I liked and envied Nagaraj a lot in the story.
Nagaraj is a very simple though comfortably rich person living in Malgudi who spends his day doing almost nothing. He does not need to earn. He spends his time sitting on pyol (raised platform in veranda) looking at people passing by in the street. He meets his friends, sometimes work free for a saree merchant on his accounts and dream about writing a book on great sage Narada. His life gets disturbed by the arrival of his brother’s son and that is the gist of the story.
I have never read a description of more simpler person than Nagaraj. He does not want to fight with anybody, wants everybody to like him. Most of the time keeps his thoughts to himself because he does not want to offend anybody. He gives benefit of doubt to everybody. His pleasures in life are as simple as possible and he gets completely baffled by a slight change in his routine and will not know what to do.
The amount of detail that the author has put in the description of Nagaraj’s moods and his thoughts is amazing. I do not know whether the comparison is justified but Nagaraj reminded me of Bertie Wooster of P. G. Wodehouse but without a Jeeves and hence lost all the time.