It was during my third year in graduation from Delhi University that I got a chance to read Bachelor of Arts by R.K.Narayan. Was it because I was on the same stage of life as the protagonist that i liked reading the book – my first english book by an Indian author. And from that time onwards, it has become one of my favourites.
Bachelor of Arts is a story about a young guy named Chandran, who has just passed college and is preparing to go to London for higher studies. During this period, he comes across a girl named Malti. It is love at first sight. From day one, the hero develops a liking for this girl, but cannot get the guts to propose to her directly.
But he sure has guts to talk marriage to his parents. Being the eldest son, even his father (who is a staunch Hindu and believes that the girl’s side must take initiative) accedes to his wishes. But god has different plans. The marriage never happens. The stars don’t match the girl and the boy and Malti (the girl who Chandran dotes secretly) is married to another person.
The story doesn’t end here. The hero flees from home to become a sanyasi and gives up the worldly life. Grows beard, eats less, and lives like a sanyasi. But his mind is not calm, the number one prerequisite to become a sanyasi.
One day he thinks the futility of all these. Why has he left his parents, who catered to every desire of his for twenty years; only for a girl whom he had met just a month ago? As soon as the thinking dawns upon him, the desire to return home becomes strong in his mind.
And he returns. Although the return is painful, he slowly gets accustomed to life. He falls in love once again, proving false all those Bollywood generated myths that a person loves only once. This time with a girl who his parents have suggested for marriage.
I loved this book and until I gave this book to a friend would read it often. What about you all? Have you had a chance to go thru this book? If not, I will strongly recommend Bachelor of Arts by R.K. Narayan.