Rain-Making by K. Shankar Pillai
In Rain-Making by K. Shankar Pillai we have the theme of fear, anger, love, and forgiveness. Narrated in the first person by a young Indian boy called Raja it becomes clear to the reader from the very beginning of the story that Shankar is exploring the theme of fear. Raja is afraid of his grandfather and knows he has a temper. However this doesn’t stop Raja from shaking rain water over his grandfather because he thinks it will be funny. Though the grandfather does not find it funny at all and is angry. Angry enough that Raja runs away and hides from his grandfather. Raja’s grandmother on the other hand is very much afraid for Raja’s safety and she calls others to try and help her find him.
The theme of love is self-evident in the story. Though Raja’s grandfather is angry he still nonetheless loves Raja and says a prayer so that he might be returned safely. This is interesting as Shankar may be suggesting that the emotions of love and hate are very close to one another. With a person changing their opinion depending on the seriousness of the situation. If anything Raja’s grandfather knows that Raja was only playing and he did not mean any harm. However it is difficult for Raja’s grandfather to let go of his anger and threat to beat Raja.
There may also be some symbolism in the story which might be important. Shankar uses nature at the beginning of the story to set an idyllic scene. Everything is nice till Raja shakes the water onto his grandfather. Also the villagers are very helpful which could symbolically suggest a close-knit community. In whereby everybody looks out for everybody else. The power of prayer is also examined with Raja’s grandfather‘s prayers coming true. Raja after all is found. The fact that all the main characters with the exception of the grandmother are male suggests a patriarchal society. One in whereby a young boy may not be at the top of the pecking order. Though Raja appears to be doing alright for himself.
The end of the story is interesting as the family are happy that Raja has been found. No one more so than his grandfather who is the main male figure in the orphaned Raja’s life. Though the grandmother originally blamed her husband for Raja’s disappearance. She forgives him now that Raja has been found. In what could have been a sad situation everything turns out okay and Raja is left to enjoy his life with his grandparents and his uncle.