Before the Match’ is a small excerpt from R.K. Narayan’s work ‘Swami and Friends’. ‘Swami and Friends’ is the first of a trilogy of novels written by R.K. Narayan, a celebrated English novelist from India. ‘Swami and Friends’ is the story of a 10-year-old boy, growing up during this particular time. Set in British colonial India in the year 1930, the story begins with an introduction to Swaminathan and his friends: Somu, Sankar, Mani, the Pea and Rajam. However, in the story there are references only to Rajam and Mani. Swaminathan along with Rajam founds a new cricket team called the M.C.C, an acronym for Malgudi Cricket Club. A match is scheduled between the M.C.C. and another local youth team called “ Young Men’s Union”, but new tensions arises between Rajam and Swaminathan related to the match. Swaminathan misses several practices due to the heavy load of drill, scouting and various other reasons. His absence angers Rajam, who suggests to speak to the Headmaster for permission for Swami to leave school early for practice sessions. Swami does not agree and Rajam threatens Swami saying he would never see his face again if he keeps any batsman waiting for more than five minutes.
Excuse to escape
Swami tries to escape the drill in the evening by telling the drill master that he is unwell. Swami then tells about his delirium as an excuse for not attending drill. Though the Drill Master does not believe Swami, he lets him go. His cricket team members were glad to see Swami come early for practice. But Swami knows that he has to find some other ways to escape drill and other tasks of school for a whole week. So next day, early in the morning, he visits a doctor and tells him honestly that he wants a fake medical certificate. When the doctor tells him that he should have one or the other ailment if he has to certify, Swami mentions delirium as his problem. After questioning Swami’s knowledge of delirium ,the doctor realised that that he was just faking his problem. When Swami states that delirium must be something like stomach ache, the doctor burst into laughter. The doctor then informs Swami that he wouldn’t be able to give the certificate. When Swami begs and requests him to help him out, the doctor consoled him that he would speak to the headmaster and convince him to allow him to go for practice. Swami was greatly relaxed and he left the place thanking the doctor for being kind to him.