My Dateless Diary: An American Journey (India)

My Dateless Diary: An American Journey (India) An Unusual And Witty Travel Book About The United States Of AmericaAt The Age Of Fifty, When Most People Have Settled For The Safety Of Routine, R K Narayan Left India For The First Time To Travel Through America In This Account Of His Journey, The Writer S Pen Unerringly Captures The Clamour And Energy Of New York City, The Friendliness Of The West Coast, The Wealth And Insularity Of The Mid West, The Magnificence Of The Grand CanyonThreading Their Way Through The Narrative Are A Host Of Delightful Characters From Celebrities Like Greta Garbo, Aldous Huxley, Martha Graham, Cartier Bresson, Milton Singer, Edward G Robinson And Ravi Shankar To The Anonymous Business Tycoon On The Train Who Dismissed The Writer When He Discovered Narayan Had Nothing To Do With India S Steel Industry As A Bonus, There Are Wry Snapshots Of Those Small But Essential Aspects Of American Life Muggers, Fast Food Restaurants, Instant Gurus, Subway Commuters, TV Advertisements, And American Football An Entrancing And Compelling Travelogue About An Endlessly Fascinating Land

R K Narayan is among the best known and most widely read Indian novelists who wrote in English.R.K Narayan was born in Madras, South India, in 1906, and educated there and at Maharaja s College in Mysore His first novel, Swami and Friends and its successor, The Bachelor of Arts, are both set in the enchanting fictional territory of Malgudi and are only two out of the twelve novels he based the

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  • Paperback
  • 192 pages
  • My Dateless Diary: An American Journey (India)
  • R.K. Narayan
  • English
  • 07 April 2019
  • 9780140109412

10 thoughts on “My Dateless Diary: An American Journey (India)

  1. says:

    A must read for every fan of his writings, this is a collection of short writings around author s experiences in America R.K Narayan went to America in his fifties on a Rockefeller foundation and the book is an account of his visit He wrote his most well known work The Guide while in US It is a good reflection of his views about the American civilization, their culture and food habits

  2. says:

    This book, as the name suggests, is a series of writings from R K Narayan s journal It is about his first visit to the United States on an invitation by the Rockefeller Foundation He stayed around 9 months in the country, starting and ending in New York, but also traveling across the country to places such as Chicago, California, and New Mexico It is non fiction, obviously, and highlights his encounters with various luminaries in the literature, academic and film making fields, as well as among the Indian expatriate circles Narayan also has several experiences with ordinary American citizens, many of whom in the year 1956 are fascinated with the idea of India the mysticism, Jawaharlal Nehru and so on.This was a very difficult book to read The book seems to have been pulled from the diary without much editing I mean that literally without hyperbole A couple of quick giveaways are the tense usage swinging wildly from present to past to past participle and the fragment sentences I didn t mind that, but there seems to have been no effort to cut out the extraneous and focus on experiences that give the overall book a direction and meaning Instead, we have a series of disjointed events, some of which are very tedious For example, there is an encounter between Narayan and a couple of men at a station who apparently were intent on extorting money out of him, but reluctant to use force It seemed totally unbelievable as is sometimes with real events and worth leaving out of the book.The other problem is that Narayan made this trip at the age of 50 and, unlike some younger version who might have been accepting and open towards a different culture and people, there is a weird cynicism in his attitude towards everything that happens I guess there must have been a significant culture shock, but instead of expressing that, Narayan takes the tack of lightly mocking almost everyone in the book I am reminded of back benchers in my school days who would make fun of teachers while they were not around They would notice something that most of the other students missed and then use that to ridicule them In this book, Narayan manages to observe some flaw in most people he interacts with, except for those who seem to have been extremely courteous to him.The book can be interesting, if we ignore Narayan s viewpoint We see many Americans very interested in knowing about India, and many of the encounters where Narayan had were positive 1956 was a very different world India was a newly independent country and had recently become a democratic republic with its own constitution with a charismatic Prime Minister There must have been high hopes for India s future and for many Americans, India must have seemed like a strong friend and possible ally Of course, as we know, the next few decades would change those hopes in many ways India s stagnant economy and its non alignment strategy coupled with friendship towards the Soviet Union But in 1956, much of that was in the future.A short portion that struck me was Narayan s experience in a bus to Nashville that was segregated by color remember, this was prior to the passage of the federal Civil Rights Laws He tells the story of a white couple who were unable to get seats in the white section, but who decided to suffer for the complete journey than sit in a vacant seat next to Narayan in the colored portion of the bus What is it about bigotry and racism that prevents people from even looking at their own advantage So again, it was a different world and in this case, a much worse one.So yes, some interesting portions and a blast from the past The book could have been much better if Narayan had taken a high level view of events instead of getting into the weeds.

  3. says:

    Good narration and capture of sentiments and behaviour Especially liked the section about coffee

  4. says:

    WithdrawnIn a book called Bookless in Baghdad Reflections on Writing and Writers the author, Shashi Tharoor has written about RK Narayan and his writing style, which surely, comes as an awkward surprise.I found reading this book pretty much difficult because of the way the author used his vocabulary The narration was getting difficult as I continued reading despite its simplicity because RK Narayan thinks in his language and write in English.Which is problematic whenever you re writing something And Shashi Tharoor had mentioned the similar thing, citing the reasons why he finds reading RK Narayan difficult or a little lesser interesting.Now, I should talk about the book So, as the title suggests it s the author s American journey which he has penned down, and there are many beautiful events happened to him, exciting him and some saddening too.It s a great delight in reading this book, except, of course, the unusual vocabulary Akshat Solanki

  5. says:

    He is a master story teller Part travelogue, part autobiographical Very rare do you see such a good combination of imagery, wit nonchalance

  6. says:

    In My Dateless Diary , the beloved RK Narayan chronicles his traversal of America New York, Detroit, Madison, LA, Berkeleywe breathe the air of these cities, overhear familiar conversations about joint families and Yoga, and glimpse the often impressive personages he encounters there His observations, in true Narayan style, are gentle and unjudging, and always incisive, as when he laments being caught between the two way doors of a bus often before breezily remarking that perhaps the doors would change when a white man gets caught instead.Narayan chooses not to bookmark his journey with actual dates What we thus get is a sense of timelessness that feeling you had during summer vacations of yore, when days would melt into each other, carefree yet full.The perfect pick me up.

  7. says:

    RKN uses a diary like sentence style It would read like this went to Empire State today Lunch at saravana bravan This style doesn t make for pleasant reading Although the style tries to stay faithful to a diary, it suddenly switches to a next Sunday like witty essay within the diary entry so it isn t clear is the diary is truly personal and a Non Fiction account or whether these are entries written partly as a daily log and partly to entertain This confounding of intent detracts from the overall enjoyment It also meanders like a diary but lacks the confessions of a diary I think the book would have done better re written as next Sunday part 2.

  8. says:

    Some insights about the American society during R.K s period At some places there are brilliant comparisons about the Western Society and the Indian way of life But mostly it s about meeting authors, producers etc It gets a little boring,but to be fair, the author has mentioned in the preface that it does not serve as any guide or anecdotal piece but just a reflection of his thoughts during the journey.

  9. says:

    Wonderful presentation of America The difference highlighted between an American and an Indian is perfect.

  10. says:

    These were the two questions that R K Narayan was frequently asked in U.S How do joint families work Why don t Indians eat beef keeping in mind the endless supply of cows on streets as it may solve country s malnutrition problem He wasn t troubled as he was as much trying to understand American mind as they were trying to understand his Interestingly, it was during his U.S travels that Narayan penned The Guide which later became the most important part of his oeuvre Besides struggling to find good vegetarian food and dealing with the haphazard workings of U.S railways system, the journey was pretty amazing for Narayan He traveled across the country from the quite eastern shores of San Francisco, through the industrial Midwest, passing the racially segregated Nashville and finally reaching the cosmopolitan New York He also encountered several awkward table conversations where people knew he is an author but hadn t read his novels, and feared that he would start questioning them about his works He warns that the book is not a sociological text on United States but just an account of his personal travel through an amazingly enterprising nation However, the book not only reveals several aspects of USA but also takes you on a humor filled journey through America s common folk and academic circles Narayan eloquently describes various authors and academics that he conversed with in the middle of many wine filled parties During these parties, mostly thrown in his honor, he also met some strange characters that make for a good laugh He jokes that while Indians won t miss a chance to acquire material things like a latest gadget from America and show it off to their friends, Americans were amazed by the ascetic and simplistic lifestyle of Indians This put Narayan in tight spot many a times for his patrons took him for a sage from east who would have answers to all the philosophical questions They would repeatedly and sincerely ask him about Karma, reincarnation and various other Indian mythical theories, for which he would seldom have answers He also records insightful talk with several defining personalities such as the great author Aldous Huxley and the famous actress Greta Garbo.Narayan was also amazed how decisive Americans were and quick to grasp a business opportunity, unlike him who would want to put off any big decision for next day He recounts the ordeal of choosing a publisher among dozens of prospects as all of them looked nice He writes about his experience of working on the Guide which wasn t named till then and how it grew into a manuscript and then into a book which led to an equally popular film Although he struggled to find a typist who could put his handwritten text into an intelligible typed manuscript, the Guide did manage to reach its publisher before deadline The books ends with his conversation with Greta Garbo who says to him while he is leaving, How I wish we would stop time from moving and always taking us on to a moment of parting It was indeed a sweet journey with a sweet ending.

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