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Waiting for the Mahatma

3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,025 Ratings  ·  55 Reviews
Sriram is twenty. As a mark of his coming of age his grandmother allows his the pass-book to his savigns in the local bank, but Sriram is growing up in other ways, too, and an enchanting and unpredictable girl leads him into the entourage of Mahatma Gandhi.

These are the opening events in R K Narayan's novel. It is the finest thing he has yet achieved, and his story of the
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 15th 1981 by University Of Chicago Press (first published October 28th 1955)
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Feb 16, 2016 Versha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I make it a point to start my year by reading a book by an Indian author and i couldn’t have asked for a better book than ‘Waiting For The Mahatma’ by R.K. Narayan. I have always enjoyed his satiric writing.

Set in the same place ‘Malgudi’, this book revolves around Sriram a young aimless boy, who is smitten by a girl named Bharthi and goes after her blindly leaving his granny and finds out that she is one of the volunteer who works for Mahatma. Sriram joins the group in a jest to impress Bharth
Adriano Bulla
Jul 30, 2014 Adriano Bulla rated it it was amazing
Not a review, this one, my little homage to a novel I found original and beautiful.

I remember I read it when I was in my mid twenties, on a train from Milan to that wonderful city that us Copenhagen.
Although this novel appears to be, at first sight, realistic, there is 'magic' in it. I say it in inverted commas because what I mean by it is not any sorcery, but that this novel, I strongly believe, has a soul. It breathes, it has an energy going through it, in waves, from beginning to end. I can'
Oct 17, 2012 Prashant rated it really liked it
Shashi Tharoor in his book Bookless in Baghdad wrote about the simplicity of Narayan's writing.

On the death of R.K., he said he had a mixed feeling because he always found Narayan's English too bland and 'grammatically incorrect' for anyone's taste. He called R.K. a man who never wanted to learn and lived a negligent life.

Narayan would have himself partially agreed with Tharoor. He never wanted to influence his writing from anyone else's and thus never read any other author's work(strange in i
Nov 09, 2011 Mel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2011
I think it took a great deal of real courage to write and publish Waiting for Mahatma in 1955. The novel, set largely in his fictional city of Malgudi India, begins around 1939 and ends in 1947, just before the partitioning of India.

Waiting for Mahatma centers on a young man named Sriram who lives with his grandmother. He is in love with and wants to marry a young woman who is involved with Mahatma Gandhi's movement to achieve Indian independence and this draws him into becoming active himself
Mar 30, 2014 Vaidya rated it really liked it
Easily among RKN's best works, right up there with Swami and Friends and The Painter of Signs. RKN has always specialized in absurdity, the very commonality of the common man that shines through in the most profound or historic of moments. And when that gets applied to something as 'serious' as the freedom struggle, what you get is a masterpiece.

Given the task of painting 'Quit India' on village walls, he obsesses that the "Q" takes more paint, reducing the tail, ending up with Ouit India.
The v
Cristina Chaparro
Mar 25, 2016 Cristina Chaparro rated it it was amazing
I have really enjoyed the book.

I have to admit that at the beginning I did not know very well where it was leading, but I ended up enjoying it a lot. However, it may be difficult to understand or enjoy if you expect a typical plot with an introduction phase, a conflict, development and resolution. It is not that the book lacks it, it is that, under my point of view, it is more focused on characters's feelings and in historical events rather than in the plot itself. The plot, in fact, is a quite
Sep 15, 2014 Somdutta rated it really liked it
Shelves: uc-davis-library
R.K Narayan takes us to a place called Malgudi which is a fictional town, familiar to readers of his stories.This is a love story which takes place at the time when Mahatma Gandhi was one of the key players in leading India's struggle for freedom. Sriram, gets in to India's freedom struggle because he wants to be around Bharati and less because of his love for his country. Before meeting Bharati he led an idle life, without any aims, taken care by his grandmother. He decides to leave his grandmo ...more
Jan 22, 2014 Bertport rated it liked it
Third person limited narrator, following one Sriram, born in a town and educated pretty well, could have gone to college but apparently did not because he was too stubbornly unwilling to study or follow direction. He is terribly innocent. When he came of age at the beginning of the book and his grandmother turned over his savings account to him, I thought he was going to lose it all to his neighbor Kanni or other unscrupulous people quite soon. But there I was mistaken. It turns out that Kanni w ...more
Rishi Prakash
Aug 21, 2013 Rishi Prakash rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another super story by the great man. "Waiting for the Mahatma" is another realistic novel set during the freedom struggle days. He comes out with a story which depicts another side of our freedom struggle movement and its impact on the lives of numerous Indian people.

The best aspect of this novel is the simplicity of we the Indians prior to gaining independence. The long and hard fought freedom struggle which alters the lives of different people like Sriram(main protagonist) makes one feel abou
Sep 08, 2011 David rated it liked it
While I enjoyed this book, and appreciate the concept of an Indian story told in English, I wasn't moved that much. The story centers on a boy named Sriram, who has fallen in love with a girl, Bharati. But she won't agree to be with him until they receive Mahatma Ghandi's blessing. When the story begins, he is living with his grandmother in relative luxury. Then Ghandi comes to town, bringing with him a group of "volunteers," including Bharati. Sriram is quickly taken by her, and agrees to join ...more
Biswajit Roy
Jun 06, 2015 Biswajit Roy rated it it was amazing
This is one of those book that one can cherish all there life once he or she has read it.The emotions in this book are so grounded in a period of time,so honest and innocent that you feel like transported to that era,those events.
Aruna Kumar Gadepalli
An interesting story that revolves around days of freedom movement. Climax is really interesting.
Ashita Thakur
May 30, 2015 Ashita Thakur rated it really liked it
Shelves: indian-lit
Waiting for the Mahatma was in some words, a gamble. But then again, Narayan has often chosen difficult subjects, what with infidelity in the Guide and misplaced patriotism in this particular novel.

You can almost imagine Sri Ram as a walking talking entity in today's political scenario. Sri Ram would be a man-boy who is busy updating his status on Facebook from 'At the movies' to 'having lunch at KFC with mah buddiez' and wondering whether he should buy an iPhone 6 or the latest Nexus. Everyth
Jun 17, 2014 Vishaal rated it liked it
Shelves: owned, fiction
A compassionate, simple love story set during the times of the Indian independence.

A refreshing and quick read, Waiting for the Mahatma kept me smiling with many things I could relate - especially about 'Granny' and 'Bhrathi'. R.K. Narayan's writing and sense of style may not delight many, but there is some unexplainable magnetic pull about the book that wants you to go on.

Some parts do feel a tad childish, and cry out for better story-telling, but the book is an overall good read.
Camille McCarthy
Aug 06, 2014 Camille McCarthy rated it really liked it
I found this book very enjoyable. It reminded me a bit of "the Stranger" since the main character, Sriram, is a bit clueless. However instead of being apathetic about everything the main character cares more for Bharati than for anything else; he finally has found some direction in his life in the form of following Bharati in whatever she is doing, which just happens to be doing the work of Gandhi and spreading the non-violent freedom movement. The book was subtle and a bit silly at times, in a ...more
Nov 19, 2012 Ashwin rated it really liked it
Definitely one of my favorite books. Simple prose and subtle humor. A book that is as likely to induce a gentle smile as a silent tear.

Jun 16, 2010 Sachin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
an innocent and touching love story proffered with great humour and realism
Riku Sayuj
Sep 09, 2013 Riku Sayuj rated it it was amazing
Of all of Narayan's books, this was my favorite.
Sep 28, 2012 Prashant rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: worth-reading
This review will come very very soon. I promise !
Joe Rodeck
May 06, 2015 Joe Rodeck rated it it was ok
The setting is India just before WWII with Mahatma Gandhi leading a passive rebellion against the British Empire.

A novel that has Gandhi as a player can't be all bad, but this was a meandering bore. The author does manage to illustrate what a charismatic and awe-inspiring figure Gandhi was. The main character's only salient feature is his hero worship.

Reading level: easy.
Sam Marlowe
Jan 29, 2015 Sam Marlowe rated it really liked it
A simple idyllic romance unfurling in the midst of a momentous political scene. Possibly the most nationalistic of R.K. Narayan's works. The author has set the conflict of emotions, which is a recurring motif in his works, against the backdrop of the Indian struggle for freedom. The character of Mahatma in the novel can easily be seen as the very human conscience, whose guidance we continuously refuse.
Feb 12, 2016 Marva rated it really liked it
Highly humorous and hilarious. The book treats "Mahatma" very much differently from the contemporary novels, as "character" not a symbol. The life of the lazy, wealthy Sriram is interesting in the sense, he is a rare choice for being a protagonist - Gandhi Follower(?) in a novel of the times. One among the best of RK Narayan.
Tamanjit Bindra
Dec 24, 2014 Tamanjit Bindra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: indian-fiction
Very creative story. If you are a history buff you would realise what i mean. The ending was kind of predictable but i guess it doesn't need to be unpredictable. The plot overall is very unpredictable and dynamic. but in the end i guess it's just a love story trapped in history. must read.
Damini Singh
Apr 08, 2016 Damini Singh rated it really liked it
I believe the plot was very interesting, and I was shown the inequality of the Indian society at the time. This story also showed me how love is a powerful source of motivation and how wealth can blind you from reality.
An interesting read, although I found it a bit sad the main character was so easily led into things he didn't really understand just because he had fallen in love with a girl, which also led to him neglecting his grandmother who had raised him.
Dec 06, 2015 Madhu rated it liked it
Nice book in the backdrop of Indian freedom struggle. I liked the story.
Daya Baburaj
Excellent book,somewhat different from common freedom struggle stories...
May 31, 2014 Krystal rated it really liked it
Easy read! I studied it while doing an Indian literature course in college!
An endearing love story set in the backdrop of the Indian freedom movement. Recommended.
Aug 28, 2014 Gautam rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
My first book this year and what a book to start with...a beautiful coming-of-age romantic drama set in 1940s in Malgudi, when India is struggling for independence a young boy Sriram falls in love with a girl but not any normal girl, a girl fighting for independence with the Mahatma. And then starts his persuit for life and love. As the story is set in RK Narayan's Malgudi, so is filled with his elements of common man's humour and agony. A beautiful story, I wish Chetan Bhagat and Co. could crea ...more
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R. K. Narayan is among the best known and most widely read Indian novelists who wrote in English.

R.K. Narayan was born in Madras, South India, in 1906, and educated there and at Maharaja's College in Mysore. His first novel, Swami and Friends and its successor, The Bachelor of Arts, are both set in the enchanting fictional territory of Malgudi and are only two out of the twelve novels he based the
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