Attila by R.K Narayan

Attila is the story of a dog that has been given this name because of his formidable appearance. Since he possessed these features as a puppy he was bought by his owners and it was assumed that he would grow up to become a fierce dog that would guard the house ardently. Things take quite a different turn as Attila turns out to be an extremely friendly and loving dog that would even enjoy the company of a cat let alone thieves and robbers. The owners criticize him for his friendly nature but their younger son defends him. That very night Attila not only lets Ranga, a thief escape but also befriends him and leaves his masters behind. This turns out to be a shameful incident for the owners until one day our beloved Attila who has now become a strong follower of Ranga is seen walking behind him by the older son. He runs after Attila shouting his name. Ranga the thief panics and runs followed by Attila who mistakenly topples Ranga .The thief gets caught and the missing jewels from the house are discovered in his possession. Attila is now praised and loved by all except that Attila, Narayan tells us, is cursing himself for his own doing as his greatest dream of roaming the streets was being fulfilled while he was with Ranga. The story is a light hearted one especially the description of Attila’s tactics of befriending every stranger which has been humorously described:

“The moment the gate clicked he became alert and stood looking towards the gate. By the time anyone entered Attila went blindly charging forward. But that was all. The person had only to stop and smile and Attila would melt. He would behave as if he apologized for even giving an impression of violence.”

“Gradually he realized that his bouncing advances caused much unhappy misunderstanding. And so when he heard the gate click he hardly stirred. He merely looked in that direction and wagged his tail.”

This is one of the few tales in Malgudi which are narrated from a dog’s perspective. We get to see the dichotomy between appearance and nature in the form of Attila. Narayan delicately shows the difference in what a pet is supposed to do and what it feels like doing.

One comment

  1. Subrahmanyam Kuchipudi Feb, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    This character sketch helped me a lot in completing my I am very thankful to you

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