The Vendor of Sweets

by R. K. Narayan

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What is a summary for chapter two of The Vendor of Sweets?

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Chapter two of “Vendor of Sweets” starts with Jagan walking back home from his sweet shop. He passes by the Krishna dispensary and observes that the doctor is still busy with a patient. The lights at the Truth Printing shop are on, though the shop is closed. He resists the temptation to stop by Truth Printing to chat with Nataraj and walks on home. While walking, his thoughts flit through various things. He thinks about “problems of national improvement,” for instance, the benefits of using plates instead of leaves to dine. He passes by the statue of Lawley and stops to look at his son Mali, who is standing on the “other side of the statue” with a group of students. He spots Mali and walks away soon after so as not to “embarrass the boy.” Thoughts of his son occupy his mind for the remaining part of the walk to his house. When he gets home, he stops for a moment at the backyard to admire the stars in the sky before proceeding to the bathroom. The bathroom is described as “a shack, with a roof made out of corrugated sheets, and a door consisting of beaten-out tin fixed anyhow on a wooden frame.” The text states that “everything in the home has the sanctity of usage so that any improvement is not possible.”

The rest of the chapter talks about Jagan’s theories of “sound living” and how he practices them in his daily life. For instance, instead of using a regular toothbrush to brush his teeth, Jagan uses a twig “from a margosa tree” in his backyard. Also, he believes that the margosa flowers are even better than aspirin at relieving pain. It is stated, however, that his wife “lived her own life,” refusing to follow any of his “health-giving activities.”

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