Railway Rajuis a disarmingly corrupt tourist guide, who lives by his wits and falls in love with a beautiful dancer. More by chance than skill, he seduces her away from her husband, a lonely writer who is obsessed with local rock-carvings, and transforms her into a celebrity courted by wealthy and influential dignitaries wherever she performs. Raju makes and loses a fortune, finds himself in jail, and -through a series of hilarious, ironic circumstances – becomes one of India’s great holy man.
The history of his success and unexpected fame has all the excitement of a suspense story, told with Narayan’s customary tolerance and delightful humour. At the same time it raises may profound and disturbing questions.
THE GUIDE floats as gently as lily pad on the surface of Indian life and yet suggests the depths beneath. It manages to describe a saint who is neither born nor made but simply happens, almost like the weather.