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Waiting for the Mahatma

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  1,236 Ratings  ·  68 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
Published 2006 by Indian Thought Publications, Mysore (first published October 28th 1955)
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Jan 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An amazing insight into Indian freedom movement through a tale of love. A book where you would love and hate to read the ending.
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
Feb 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 10, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Cristina Chaparro
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
Dec 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
The young Sriram
The beautiful Bharati
And of course the great Mr. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi known as Mahatma Gandhi
Sriram is brought up by his grandmother and when he reaches twenty, his grandmother hands over his heritage that she was saving for him. After couple of years he meets a beautiful girl – Bharati – who is seeking for donation and trying to arrange the event for welcoming Mahatma Gandhi. Here we should know that Sriram was not Gandhi’s follower, yet for the affection that he has to Bh
Sep 01, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
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
Rishi Prakash
Aug 11, 2013 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
Biswajit Roy
Jun 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
an innocent and touching love story proffered with great humour and realism
Sep 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: worth-reading
This review will come very very soon. I promise !
Aruna Kumar Gadepalli
An interesting story that revolves around days of freedom movement. Climax is really interesting.
Riku Sayuj
Sep 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Of all of Narayan's books, this was my favorite.
Debasmita Bhowmik
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
1. The story is so simple, yet so vast. It spans several decades maybe; it's difficult to tell with the author's breezy descriptions of time and love. Sriram's life undergoing a huge upheaval and so many tumultuous times, all after meeting one girl. Set in the backdrop on the early 1940s and late 1930s, it's heartening to read of huge events being told with such simplicity as RK Narayan has incorporated them into the book.

2. The language is beautifully simple. Nothing superfluous, no unnecessari
Gorab Jain
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: indian, buddy-reads, 2017
The usual suspect of a very promising start. Only this time the latter half is also good.

Many similarities with his other works. Its like a new dish prepared using the same ingredients :)
First there is this young protagonist being idle and inheriting lots of wealth - like Talkative Man
Falls for a strong female character doing social work - Raman and Daisy from Painter of Signs
The tongue in cheek dialogues and witty replies thought in head but not spoken - Nataraj from Man Eater of Malgudi
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Aastha by: Vishwas Ahuja
The book starts pretty normal with granny giving the responsibility to sriram for his money but things change when bharati enters the scene . He joins the independence movement to woo Bharati even if he himself is not motivated/interested enough. The rest of the story follows his life as he contributes his part in the independence movement however small it seems.
The rural landscape somewhat romanticize the whole affair of freedom. The nation's struggles run parallel to his love story. Gandhi is
Mar 19, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A self-centered, callow youth peripherally joins Gandhi's movement in order to impress a girl. His bumbling is tiresome, but the context is interesting. The primary tone seems to be cynical about everything and everyone involved.
TenSangpo Sangpo
Mar 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author could have easily twisted the final part of book where Sriram goes to Delhi to see his beloved, Bharati. Gandhiji's approval for Sriram and Bharati's marriage at the end somehow gives the novel an aura of typical Bollywood movie. Hence, 4 instead of 4.2!
Ashita Thakur
May 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Camille McCarthy
Aug 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sam Marlowe
Jan 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sameera Qais
Jan 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well crafted story by one of my favourite writers, R.K. Narayan. Patriotism and romance are balanced effectively in this simple, yet elegant, story where Gandhi's ideals are injected in small doses. It was like viewing major historical events like the Indo-Pak partition, independence and Gandhi's assasination through the eyes of the young characters of the story. A very simple story but a good read!
Venkat Narayanan
Told through the POV of a spoilt brat aka young man with hell lot of distractions and worse he has a love interest and even worse he follows her into the world freedom fighting.
Honest and utterly poignant R K Narayan is the only writer whom I have never had any difficulty in reading.
The simple but accurate descriptions and most effective way of using the English language(no verbose) makes it one of the most fav novels of mine.
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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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