Raju-Rosie Relationship in R. K. Narayan's The Guide

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      Narayan has always been a student of human relationships. In his early novels, he dealt with such simple relationships as the relations between students and teachers, between friends and class-mates, or relationships within the family—between father and son, husband and wife, etc. His powers gradually matured and in his later novels, beginning with Mr. Sampath, he studies characters and relationships of a more complex kind. These relationships usually turn round sex and money. This is also the case with The Guide. The Rosie-Raju relationship is the most important relationship studied in the novel, and it turns upon sex and money.

      Rosie comes to Malgudi with her husband Marco. She is young, charming and fascinating, and Raju, the tourist guide, falls in love with her at first sight. Rosie is dissatisfied with her husband, for dead and lifeless things are of more interest to him than a beautiful, flesh and blood wife. Rosie is a born dancer, while Marco regards dancing as street aerobatics and monkey tricks. The result is that Rosie is unhappy and frustrated, in that particular mood in which a wife can easily be seduced. Probably, she is sex-frustrated between Rosie and Marco, and again sex is the primary motive behind a new relationship between Raju and Rosie.

      As soon as she sets her foot on Malgudi railway station, she asks Raju if a live, dancing cobra was to be seen in the city. Raju who never said ‘no’ to anyone, at once says that there was such a cobra, searches for it, and takes her out to see it the very next day. She is thrilled to see it dance, and herself dances with it. She is attracted towards Raju because he takes interest in her ‘art’ while her husband hates it. Raju wins her heart and seduces her by flattering and paying her bold compliments. For example, one day, soon after their arrival in Malgudi he offers to bring her from hotel-room as the husband waits outside in the car. He has the audacity to tell her to come out as she was, without changing her dress, and adds, “who would decorate a rainbow?” Her reluctance gives him another opportunity to whisper, ‘because life is so blank without your presence.” The husband is engaged more and more in his study of ‘dead and decaying’ things, leaving Raju to take care of his wife. The result is that soon Raju is able to win her over, and many are the nights of love they pass together in their hotel room, as the husband stays on in the rest house on Memphi Hills. Raju and Rosie draw each other closer because of their romantic temperaments also. Both are romantic individuals; both love freedom and would like to break the shackles of customs and tradition. Hence their relationship is not merely carnal: it is temperamental also.

      Soon the husband comes to know of their relationship. Rosie, in addition to being a romantic, is also a Hindu wife, and as such she does her best to atone for her unfaithfulness, and is humble and repentant. But she is deserted by her husband Marco, and goes to Raju’s house. Raju had already been passing a sleepless night her. He becomes hers despite his mother’s objection. Both Raju and Rosie begin to live together. Rosie practises dancing, Raju’s mother does not like all this. She leaves the house and goes to her brother to live with him. Raju is soon involved in financial difficulties, has to give up the railway stall, is unable to pay off his debts.

      This is a turning point in their life. The next stage in their relationship is reached when Rosie becomes famous far and wide as a dancer, and Raju takes up the role of a theatre-manager and impresario. Till now love and sex were the predominant factors in their relationship, now money becomes the dominant factor. They earn huge amounts, but all is wasted by Raju in drinking and gambling and maintaining a lavish style. All the District officers are among his friends, and he is much sought after for contracts for Rosie-Nalini. There are too many engagements. Rosie gets not a moment’s respite, and so she feels like a circus-animal going round and round endlessly. She suffers from a feeling of weariness. She loved art for art’s sake but here is art for money’s sake. She wanted enjoyment, thrills and sensations, but now it is always the same old routine with no rest or time for anything else. There is enough money, but there are also boredom, fatigue and surfeit. Clearly, their relationship has been metamorphosed; instead of love or sex-relationship it has become purely a money relationship. It has become mechanical too.

      Money has made Raju a hard-hearted materialist. To get Rosie’s jewellery lying in the bank in her name and Marco’s name he forges signatures. He also hides the book which Marco has sent for Rosie fearing that Rosie might be attracted to Marco once again and might go back to her old husband. Ultimately all his tricks and forgery are discovered and detected and he is imprisoned for three years.

      Nevertheless, Rosie-Raju relationship though based on the power of money and sex is somewhat natural. It is somewhat unnatural for a sophisticated girl like Rosie to fall in love with a loafer like Raju who is illiterate and good-for-nothing fellow. The independence of mind she shows after Raju’s imprisonment could have been shown by her when she was deserted by her husband, Marco. But most probably she was attracted towards Raju for sexual satisfaction. But she soon realizes the sin she has committed.

      But Marco does not forgive her. However, the novelist has very delicately made Raju-Rosie relationship acceptable and authentic in the Indian context. And Raju-Rosie relationship is the very heart of the novel, though complex.

University Questions

Write an essay on Raju-Rosie relationship in R. K. Narayan’s Guide.
How do sex and money affect human relationships in R. K. Narayan’s Guide.

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