‘Lawley Road’ is a charming story that begins with the Talkative man, an endearing character created by R.K. Narayan. In the episode, the Talkative Man recounts to his friends the incident of how he came to have a house in the New Extension in Malgudi though he is a mere freelance journalist.
The story is set just after India had got her independence. A blanket seller, who used to sell blankets to the British, wins the election and becomes a Municipality chairman.
Having won the election, the new chairman want to do things that will earn him posterity. His ambition leads to a number of hilarious incidents; including changing the names of the streets and causing utter confusion. The chairman however, is still not satisfied. He is on the look out to do more when he realizes that though India has got her independence, Sir Frederick, a British officer’s Statue stands proudly in the center of Malgudi. He wants to bring it down immediately.
A plan to evacuate the statue is set in motion but the statue made out of metal proves to be a burden. Finally the Talkative man offers to take it if he is given it free of cost. The chairman agrees. The Talkative Man manages the Herculean task of bringing the statue to his home, but it gets stuck in the doorway. He and his family can neither get in to the house nor go out. His wife gets angry at the entire incident and leaves for her father’s house.
In the meantime, the chairman gets a letter from the government saying Sir Frederick Lawley was a supporter of India’s Independence movement and that an error has been committed by removing his statues. The government also instructs that Sir Frederick Lawley Statue should immediately be reinstalled with honor. But the statue is stuck in the doorway of the Talkative man’s house. The talkative Man refuses to give back the statue. He ultimately strikes a deal with the chairman and sells his house along with the Sir Frederick Lawley’s Statue to the government as a National Trust. That is how the Talkative Man got to own a new house in the New extension Layout.
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The Lawley Road – Part 2 and we will let you know when it becomes available.