“Trail of the Green Blazer” Summary: R.K. Narayan Short Story

“Trail of the Green Blazer” is a short story by R. K. Narayan, who was a prolific writer of novels, short stories, and non-fiction. Among other things, he’s known for creating the fictional South Indian town of Malgudi, which appeared in most of his works. He’s one of the early Indian authors who wrote in English. Here’s a summary of “Trail of the Green Blazer”, which is about a pickpocket who spots a target that can’t be ignored.

“Trail of the Green Blazer” Summary

The marketplace is full of people mingling and haggling. A green blazer stands out from among the crowd wearing the usual garb. Raju, who’s hoping to pass for a peasant in a loincloth and huge turban, notices the man with the green blazer. Raju sits by a shop awning and watches the crowd. He’s a pickpocket and looks for an opportunity to grab something. Of course, the best thing to spot is a full purse. When he grabs one of those, his day’s work is over.

He’ll tidy up and go out with the money like a normal citizen, hiding some of it from his wife if it’s a lot. He tells his wife, who thinks he’s given up stealing, that the money is a commission.

Trail of the Green Blazer R.K. Narayan Summary Short Story
“Trail of the Green Blazer” Summary, Cont’d

Raju follows the Green Blazer. He stays three paces behind, which is the right balance for watching someone’s purse and not drawing attention. The Green Blazer spends a long time drinking a coconut and then haggling over the price. Then he haggles a long time over the price of a balloon, which he says is for a motherless boy. Raju doesn’t like this excessive fondness for money. Finally, as Green Blazer passes through a turnstile, Raju has his opportunity.

Fifteen minutes later, in a secluded spot by a well, Raju examines the purse, which contains thirty rupees and a few annas, which he can give to the beggars. He secures the money in his clothing. It will last him two weeks. Before discarding the purse in the well, Raju wants to put some rocks in it so it won’t float.

He finds the balloon inside, and thinks of Green Blazer going home to his motherless boy and how disappointed the child will be. The thought almost makes him cry, and he thinks how hard it would be to manage his own young ones if his wife were to die. He decides to put the balloon back in the purse and slip it back into Green Blazer’s pocket.

Green Blazer stands among a crown who’s heckling a Bible-preacher. Raju sidles up to him and makes his attempt, but Green Blazer grabs his arm and alerts the crowd to a pickpocket. Raju tries to explain that he’s returning something, not stealing. Green Blazer strikes Raju, knocking him down. He stands over Raju and hits him again, breaking his arm. The crowd laughs and someone else hits him in the head.

Raju explains to the Magistrate that he was putting something back. Everyone laughs at him and the excuse becomes a joke among the police. Raju’s wife weeps and reproves him for bringing shame on them.

After serving an eighteen-month term, Raju decides not to try putting anything back again. God has blessed him with fingers for taking, not for putting back.

I hope this summary of “Trail of the Green Blazer” by R.K. Narayan was helpful.