A Time to Be Happy

A Time to Be Happy

A Time to Be Happy

A Time to Be Happy

Excerpt

I suppose Govind Narayan and I got on so well together because we were so unlike. There was no room in such a relationship for rivalry or conflict. There would not have been even had our lives not been led along such different paths. Ours was, in a way, a one-sided friendship, and if friendship were a thing of weights and balances, I should more than once have reflected how much I received from him and how little I gave him in return. I envied him his unassailable calm and wished I were not harassed by the urge to be up and doing all the time. The brash among us venture in our enthusiasms to change the world or to leave upon it some impress of our own personalities. The wise, such as Govind Narayan, are content to mould their own small portion of it.

I cannot picture Govind Narayan anywhere but in Lucknow. The feudal courts of the Muslim Nawabs had vanished, taking with them the languid luxury of their princely setting, but Lucknow still reflected the faded grandeur of an era when courtesy had been cultivated as a pastime and the improvisation of a couplet had been the hallmark of a gentleman. Men such as Govind Narayan, secure in the comfort inherited from generations of landowning forebears, were content to bask in that lingering reflection. The British Raj was there, it was true, an indelicate reminder of conquest, but gentlefolk did not dwell on so graceless a fact. Life had to be lived, daughters suitably wedded, and sons established in good jobs. These goals could best be achieved by taking a sensible view of the situation, accepting the Raj, and using it to one's own advantage. Govind Narayan, for all his air of . . .

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