Rajam Quotes in Swami and Friends
Swaminathan gasped with astonishment. In spite of his posing before Mani he admired Rajam intensely, and longed to be his friend. Now this was the happiest conclusion to all the unwanted trouble. He danced with joy. Rajam lowered his gun, and Mani dropped his club. To show his goodwill, Rajam pulled out of this pocket half a dozen biscuits.
‘His father is the Police Superintendent. He is the master of every policeman here.’ Granny was impressed. She said that it must be a tremendous office indeed. She then recounted the day when her husband, Swaminathan’s grandfather, was a powerful submagistrate, in which office he made the police force tremble before him, and the fiercest dacoits of the place flee. Swaminathan waited impatiently for her to finish the story.
This was probably Swaminathan’s first shock in life. It paralysed all his mental process. When his mind started working again, he faintly wondered if he had been dreaming. The staid Somu, the genial Somu, the uncle Somu, was it the same Somu that had talked to him a few minutes ago? What was wrong in liking and going about with Rajam? Why did it make them so angry?
‘You had better prepare something very nice, something fine and sweet. Rajam is coming this afternoon. Don’t make the sort of coffee that you usually give me. It must be very good and hot.’ He remembered how in Rajam’s house everything was brought to the room by the cook. ‘Mother, would you mind if I don’t come here for coffee and tiffin? Can you send it to my room?’
The company was greatly impressed. Rajam then invited everyone to come forward and say that they would have no more enemies. If Sankar said it, he would get a bound notebook; if Swaminathan said it, he would get a clockwork engine; if Somu said it, he would get a belt; and if Mani said it, he would get a nice pocket-knife; and the Pea would get a marvellous little pen.
Swaminathan reflected: suppose the Pea, Mani, Rajam and Sankar deserted him and occupied Second A? His father was right. And then his father drove home the point. ‘Suppose all your juniors in the Fifth Standard become your class-mates?’ Swami sat at decimals for half an hour.
‘Whom do you address as “boys”?’ asked Rajam menacingly. ‘Don’t you know who we are?’
‘We are the Government Police out to catch humbugs like you,’ added Swaminathan.
‘I shall shoot you if you say a word,’ said Rajam to the young driver. Though the driver was incredulous, he felt that there must be something in what they said.
Rajam realized at this point that the starting of a cricket team was the most complicated problem on earth. He had simply expected to gather a dozen fellows on the maidan next to his compound and play, and challenge the world. But here were endless troubles, starting with the name that must be unique, Government taxes, and so on. The Government did not seem to know where it ought to interfere and where not. He had a momentary sympathy for Gandhi; no wonder he was dead against the Government.
The headmaster was sleeping with his head between his hands and his elbows resting on the table. It was a small stuffy room with only one window opening on the weather-beaten side wall of a shop; it was cluttered with dust-laden rolls of maps, globes, and geometrical squares. The headmaster’s white cane lay on the table across two ink-bottles and some pads. The sun came in a hot dusty beam and fell on the headmaster’s nose and the table. He was gently snoring. This was a possibility that Rajam had not thought of.
Mani ran along the platform with the train and shouted over the noise of the train: ‘Goodbye, Rajam. Swami gives you this book.’ Rajam held out his hand for the book, and took it, and waved a farewell. Swaminathan waved back frantically.
Swaminathan and Mani stood as if glued where they were, and watched the train. The small red lamp of the last van could be seen for a long time, it diminished in size every minute, and disappeared around a bend. All the jarring, rattling, clinking, spurting, and hissing of the moving train softened in the distance into something that was half a sob and half a sigh.