The Guide: by R. K. Narayan - Chapter 3 Summary

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      There is a flashback, and Raju takes up the story of his past. The Malgudi Railway Station was constructed in the course of time, and at last the day came when it was to be inaugurated. There was great excitement in the village. Raju managed to slip in through the police cordon, reach the platform and see the train as it steamed in, and steamed
out of the station. So many people had come for the occasion, that his father did brisk business that day.

      The coming of the Railway train to Malgudi was a turning point in Raju’s career. His father’s sales continued to increase, and he became so prosperous that he purchased a horse and jutka, as now he had to go to the town frequently to make his purchases. His mother did not like the idea, and constantly nagged his father about the jutka. She considered it a sheer waste and a lot of botheration. At last, the trouble ended when the groom who had been engaged to look after the horse and carriage, offered to take it off their hands. He would run it on his own and pay him two rupees every day and one rupee every month as rent for the shed in which the jutka was kept. This groom was a cheat. He did not feed the animal well and also over-worked it so that it soon became mere skin and bones. His father decided to sell the whole thing, and the groom gladly purchased it. He did so with an eye on the increased traffic, consequent upon the regular running of trains through Malgudi. In course of time, he did make huge profits out of it. It was a well-calculated transaction.

      Soon his father acquired the privilege of running a shop at the railway station. It was a nicely commented shop with numerous shelves. The result was that all the space could not be filled even when his father transferred all the goods in the hut-shop to the new shop. When the station-master inspected the shop, he pointed out that all the space must be filled up and that only such articles should be displayed as are likely to be required by the railway-passengers. At a later date Raju tells Velan, “My father implicitly accepted his directions. The station master was his palpable God now and he cheerfully obeyed all his commands. And so presently there hung down from nails in my father’s other shop, bigger bunches of bananas, stacks of Memphi oranges, huge troughs of fried stuff, and colourful peppermints and sweets in glass containers, loaves of bread, and buns. The display was most appetising, and he had loaded several racks with packets of cigarettes. He had to anticipate the demand of every kind of traveller and provide for it.”

      In the beginning, Raju was left in charge of the old hut-shop. His father’s friends would come as usual, but he could not take any interest in their talk of litigation and other matters of which he had no knowledge. They, too, felt that he was not good company for them. The result was that gradually his father moved to the old shop, and Raju to the new shop at the station. There the business was brisk, and Raju had to be very active. In this way, his education came to an end, and his connection with the railways began. Perhaps the fates willed, that he should grow up to be Raju, the railway guide.

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