Autobiographical Grumbling/Autobiographical Artistry: C. D.Narasimhaiah's N for Nobody

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Tej N. Dhar


As a variety of life writings, autobiographies generally have a private and public dimension and are also informative and pleasurable. Quite often, the writers of such works provide clues about their nature and mode of presentation in them. But in his autobiography, N for Nobody, C D Narasimhaiah provides no such details. Its subtitle though clarifies that it is the autobiography of a calling, for it is the “Autobiography of an English Teacher,” meant for “My Family and My Students.” In his Acknowledgement that features at the end of the book, he modestly calls it “autobiographical grumbling.” The contention of this essay is that its form and content make it amply clear that it is much more than akind of grumbling, for it is a serious piece of writing that is also genuinely artistic. The essay provides an analysis of its form and content from the perspective of the theory of autobiographical writings to demonstrate that it is a well-directed piece of writing which shows how Narasimhaiah chose to become a teacher, worked hard to addnew dimensions to the art of teaching English and widening the frontiers of English studies in the country.

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