This is a post on one of my favorite authors arguably favorite among Indian authors for a generation or so. R K Narayan is one of the authors who brought the Indian life to the fore in his wonderfully planned town of Malgudi.
Right from the first novel, Swami and friends to the works of his later days he held the readers interest like no other. He has this innnate ability to weave stories with the common man and his life.
His characters have always have had the rustic Indian feel. The first three novels in Swami and Friends, Bachelor of Arts and English Teacher are absolutely wonderful stories in an autobiographical way for RKN. The three stories set the stage for him to explore the human psyche and portray the Indian in the context of the Indian independence and more important the neo middle class after Indian independence and I am sure we can relate to the Malgudi.
For me the travel on Marudhamalai Road is incomplete without the remembrance of RKN. Lawley Road junction is a part of the Malgudi and I always have wondered about it. RK Narayan also has a connection with Coimbatore especially because his wife hails from here. It is believed he convinced his future father-in-law even in those times for marriage. How romantic!
Lawley is actually a character who builds the Malgudi town and this character is believed to be based on the then Governor of Madras. You can check this here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Lawley,_6th_Baron_Wenlock
In Malgudi, R K Narayan probably created a mini India and we can easily relate to the characters as much as you travel through each of the titles. In fact there is a story called Lawley Road, about a municipality where the roads are named after Freedom Fighters after Independence.
So the next time you cross the Lawley Road, think about R K Narayan and the story of Arthur Lawley.