Reckoned as the painter of modern India, R.K. Narayan is a storyteller with a sharp realistic attitude. The unedited realities of life were aptly painted by the great maestro R.K. Narayan in his every novel and short stories. Born in Madras in the year 1906, R.K. Narayan from his very young age was inclined towards writing. Success didn't come in one day. However he was never disappointed. The agony, fear, pain and tear were never able to diminish his writing style. A masterpiece as it has been stated, 'Swami and Friends' is the very first work of R.K. Narayan set against the backdrop of the fictional city of Malgudi. The great writer Graham Greene endorsed this remarkable work.
The first of a trilogy of novels, Swami and friends is ideally set against the backdrop of the pre independence days of India. The story is about an adolescent boy of 10 years who was growing up at this time of pre independence era. The story is about this growing of the little boy; about his tears and fears, about his mischief and happiness and about his wonders and innocence. The story is the saga of the growing pain of that small boy, Swami. The small boy who was the student at the Albert Mission School stands as the insignia of the journey of mankind through the eternal illusion of haze and maze. In the story, the school, Albert Mission emphasizes on the magnitude of Christianity and stresses on the importance of English literature. The 10 year old kid who was following the so called tradition suddenly grew up when Rajam, joins the school. Rajam is the symbol of colonial power that drastically changes the Kid's life. The monotonous school life of Swami then gained a neat facet when together with Rajam, he dreamt of forming a cricket team. The story attains its catastrophe when Rajam moves out of the team without even uttering a word to Swami.
Published by William Heinemann Ltd, Swami and friends weave a magic world of the 'Malgudi days' which becomes so realistic with each stroke of practicality.
The irony and criticism against the colonial system is mutely uttered in the 'Swami and friends'. The dexterously etched characters teamed with the unique style, which was truly innovative, offered 'swami and Friends' a dimension, which is not just original but also matchless. R.K. Narayan's stylized language and ironical humour sets the mood of this fiction, which further takes this novel to the greater height of mellowness.