Gateman's Gift by R.K.Narayan
R.K.Narayan's short stories are noted for realism. Humour and Pathos. Govind Singh, an ex-serviceman was appointed as a gatekeeper in an English company. He liked the job and was smart in his khaki uniform. Whenever the Sahib's car stopped at the gate,he would give him a military salute. He sincerely served the company for twenty five (25) years. Then he begged to be pensioned off. The company commended his service and gave him a pension of rupees twelve (12) a month for life. He lived peacefully; his wife also earned little money as a servant. Every month Singh went to the company and got the pension from the clerk.
One day Singh made a new discovery about himself. A child brought him a doll for repair. He repaired it and started making dolls out of clay. This skill with which he made beautiful dolls made many people admire him. His models made a miniature reflection of the world. He showed his loyalty to the Sahib of the company by making a present of his handwork to him.
One fine day Singh received a registered letter. He was afraid that this might be the news of stoppage of his pension. The letter worried him and drove him mad. One day the police arrested him for breaking streetlights. Even at that time he had not opened the letter.
On the way to police station the accountant of the company met him by chance. He told Singh about the content of the letter. It was Sahib's commendation of his artistic models with a reward of rupees hundred. The accountant tore to open the letter and gave him the cheque. The accountant secured the release of Singh. There after Singh never made toys again.
This story reveals the gateman as an unforgettable character. His simplicity and loyalty, his pride, his blameless career, his gift of making toys, his misfortune and his deliverance are brought out in this short story.