The Cricket Above All Else By R. K. Narayan's Swaminathi

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1930 - The year known best, to Indians, for the Civil Disobedience Movement that breathed new life into the struggle for independence. Going by the history books, it was a period when the average Indian mind was agitated, and the national sentiment echoed the revolutionary ideas of the leaders. In this tumultuous time, we follow the mellow adventures of Swaminathan (or Swami), a schoolboy; as R.K. Narayan makes the proverbial bird (whose “eyes’ view” spanned the entire nation) land in the fictional village of Malgudi. Structurally, the book is largely a narration in third-person. The book, much like diary entries, is structured as a collection of short stories connected to each other by a loose, trivial plot. The plot represents the reality of the time, but with a fictional overlay of Malgudi and its residents; as Swami originates from Narayan’s own childhood experiences. The setting of the story in Narayan’s Malgudi allows for a stark contrast with the temporal context discussed above. Here is a village that is almost unfazed by the “prevailing turbulence” in the nation. The extensively-documented historic movements led by nationalists were not all-pervasive, and many regions led relatively peaceful…show more content…
The “Cricket Above All Else” philosophy leads Swami to walk out of school after a scuffle with the headmaster over skipping school for cricket practice. Terrified by the (presumed) consequent fury of his father, he chooses to leave the village (with thoughts of starting a new life in Madras) altogether – except that he would return to play a crucial cricket match for a day. Swami then ends up getting lost in a forest, thereby missing the cricket match, and also regretting his decisions. Here one sees Narayan’s writing at its best, as he showcases his superior understanding of child psychology through the main character, coupled with bold imagery of the scene

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