(Last Updated on : 06/01/2009)
The title of the story aptly illustrates the meaning as the story is set at the backdrop of the village Malguri. This is R K Narayan's one of the comic story that takes place by the narration of a wild animal who eventually takes shelter of a saint and realizes the inner meaning of life by spiritual knowledge.
R K Narayan is a master of the domestic scene. He presents every major and minor problems of family life with minute details through the different point of view of the participants. R K Narayan gets full respect for his simple characters. His presentations that are often humorous of their issues give warmth to his scenes and allow the reader to feel real sympathy with the characters. R K Narayan's work never syncs with the present-day. His writing career spanned the second half of the twentieth century. This was the most happening phase of human history. Both the world at large and the world at small witnessed many changes in case of technology as well as political changes and morals mutated. But all these changes cannot even mark a scratch in Malgudi's denizens. Life there might have stood still. The Malgudi men, women and children, go on about their lives, uninterruptedly as they have always done, and always will. Narayan often raises the present scenario as a backdrop. Possibly to show how meaningless it is for Malgudi.
"Waiting for the Mahatma" is set amid the final years of India's freedom struggle where Mahatma Gandhi also appears in the novel. But the characters are just brushed by the tension of the times, not swayed. They remain very much themselves and this is the character of Malgudi also. Narayan brings change towards the later part of his career. In one of these stories a Malgudi man returns from the US with a Korean wife and a story-writing machine. The humor here seems slightly affected and the exactness of earlier touch.
'A tiger for Malguri' is mainly a story in a tiger's version. Here the tiger is the protagonist. It recounts its story of capturing by a circus owner from where he escaped successfully. But again caught by a monk with whom he spends the rest of his life in a hill. Here in this book a tiger narrates the entire story. There is a flow of an entertaining philosophical discourse in the whole work of R. K. Narayan. After a carefree predatory life in the jungle near Malgudi, Raja, the tiger is captured and comes to know the strange ways of humans. He is forced into a career as a circus performer. He gets bored and tries to escape when one day he gets success in his mission. But again he comes under the control of a monk. And Raja's real education begins at that point of time. He becomes an unlikely disciple pursuing harmony between the natural and spiritual world. This book is a piece to treasure. It has very witty sentence structures that are able to extract the laugh from anyone under the sun. It equally articulates the many phases that man goes through in life very competently, using the tiger as a main figure of speech. This knowledge can be passed on from one generation to the next. This can be called as Narayan's most profound book.
'A Tiger for Malgudi' is published by Heinemann Educational Publishers, Viking adult, William Heinemann Ltd., Penguin Books Ltd., and Indian Thought Publication.
In 'A tiger for Malgudi' R. K. Narayan combines Hindu mysticism with ripe Malgudi comedy and also with human ridiculousness through the eyes of a tiger finding the human world too brutish and baffling. At the end when Raja meets the saint he gets to learn some inner meaning of life and live a very peaceful life. The humor and sarcasm are so very characteristic of Narayan. And this character looks prominent in his this piece of work named 'A tiger for Malgudi'.