In My Hands Today…

The Vendor of Sweets – R.K. Narayan

A widower of Gandhian principles, Jagan harbours affection for his son Mali. Yet even Jagan’s patience begins to fray when Mali descends on the city of Malgudi full of modern notions.

In his early days Jagan loses his wife Ambika because of his belief in nature cures. He had never spent much time with his wife, something that causes discontent in his son Mali. Mali has got his passport and tickets ready without even informing Jagan about his plans.Mali, without his father’s permission discontinues his education, and goes to America to get training to write a book. But, the old man accepts even this diversion with good heart and treasures every letter received from Mali and proudly exhibits it to anyone who cares to listen. A few years later, he comes back very Westernized and brings along a half-American, half-Korean girl, Grace. Jagan assumes that they are married, though Mali never told him this in a straightforward way, which causes great disappointment to Jagan. Jagan however develops an affection for Grace and feels Mali is not giving her the attention she deserves.

Soon Mali expresses a desire to start a machine factory with some partners from America. He asks his father to invest in this factory. Jagan is unwilling, which causes friction between Jagan and Mali. Troubled by the turmoil, Jagan decides to retire from active working. As this is happening, Mali is caught by the police for drunkenness and deserts his wife. Jagan then asks his cousin to make sure that Mali stays in prison for some time, so that he can learn his mistakes. Jagan also gives some amount of money to the cousin so that he can buy a plane ticket to Grace so she can go back to her hometown.

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