So this is an apt topic for my last blog ~ the power of the written word. In several of Narayan’s short stories the character put in writing the things they can’t say. The nature of the things they put into letters, powerful things they can’t say, suicide, quitting a job, false accusations against a teacher. There is a letter with good news of a pay raise that Sigh cannot open in “Gateman’s Gift” and it drives him mad. What is thee significance of all these letters never delivered, unopened, taken back.
In “Gateman’s Gift” Singh’s wife tells him of the registered letter “Why not open it and see, ask someone to read it?” Singh cannot read ~ is that why the written word frightens him so? It represents the unknown and for Singh can only bring bad news.
Consider the note that Venkat Rao writes in “Forty`-Five a Month”. He cannot speak to his boss but writes a strong and angry letter equating his job to slavery. For a raise of only 5 rupees a month he snatches the letter back. There is social commentary here in who has a voice and whose voice is repressed.
Even thinking of the written word in “Out of Business” Rama Rao becomees obsessed with words and their meaning, writing them into a weekly contest in a newspaper with the hopes of winning a large sum of money but only losing small sumss of money he cannot afford. it is an escape and yet a trouble for him ~ these weekly word puzzles.