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"The Poison Cure" by Kalki Krishnamurthy - Story Summary, Characters, Synopsis & Moral in English

Updated: Sep 2, 2022

"The Poison Cure" is a  short story penned by one of the greatest Tamil writers Kalki Krishnamu

rthy. "The Poison Cure" was translated in English by Gowri Ramnarayan from Kalki : Selected Stories, which was published in 1999.

Read this full story to know the characters, outline summary, round vs flat characters, setting, narrator's point of view, style, themes, and moral of this short story, "Karma"

The main characters involved in this short story are:

1) Narayana Iyer

2) Narrator

3) Pedda Perumal Pillai

1) Narayana Iyer

Narayana Iyer is a teacher by profession and also a postmaster, whose sacred scripture is Bhagavata Purana. Narayana Iyer is a great worshipper of lord Krishna, who had built a shrine infront of his house and every evening he conducts pooja by singing a devotional song and distributes the sweets to everyone in his street. Especially on the day of Ekadesi and in the month of Margazhi, he makes the children delighted by offering them sundal, vadai, payasam, puliyodarai and sweet pongal.

Narayana Iyer had no children. But he treats each children in his street as his own and teach them the tale of Mahabharata and bhagavatGeeta. Another interesting character that i loved in Narayana Iyer is, he used to give sugar candy only to the boys whoever recites versus from Tayumanavar's hymns. But if no one answers, then Narayana Iyer would distribute the sugar candy to all the boys.

Narayana Iyer is highly influenced by religion and he is not fond of money. Briefly saying he is simple man who leads purity of lifestyle. Narayana Iyer is also a nationalist and a great supporter of Mahatma Gandhi. He admires Gandhi and approves of all of Gandhi’s statements. But on the contrary to all of his good qualities, Narayana Iyer was not against untouchability which means Narayana Iyer believes in the practise of untouchability as he belongs to the orthodoxy family.

Narayana Iyer is skilled at drawing the poison from snake bite or Scorpion sting. He used to get dip in the cold water and chant the mantra so that the poison goes away from the person who had fainted by the impact of snake bite. But Narayana Iyer would not allow any untouchables near the place where he chants the mantra to draw the snake poison because Narayana Iyer believes that his mantra would loose it's power if untouchables stand near.

2) Narrator

Narrator is the one who exaggerates the character of Narayana Iyer because the narrator was the old student of Narayana Iyer. Even the narrator grows up, he had very friendly relationship with his teacher Narayana Iyer.

But the Narrator do not like Narayana Iyer supporting the practise of  untouchability as the narrator himself fights for the eradiction of untouchability.

3) Pedda Perumal Pillai

Pedda Perumal Pillai is a postal inspector where Narayana Iyer works as a post master. He used to wear Khadi.

Yes now you come to know about the main characters. Now let us move to the main plot of this short story.

When the narrator comes to post office with the idea of indulging in friendly gossip.

The narrator, Naraya Iyer and Pedda Perumal Pillai gossiped about the rough behaviour of government officers with the public. And then their gossip shifted to untouchability.

The narrator questioned Pedda Perumal Pillai, what does he think about untouchability? To which Pedda Perumal Pillai disappointed the narrator by saying that he has no opinion at all in the matter of untouchability.

Suddenly there arrives a group of people to the post office inorder to seek help from Narayana Iyer in drawing snake poison from the victim who is twenty years old. As usual Narayana Iyer conduct the pooja by using turmeric and camphor. And then he recites the mantra by keeping twenty one small pebbles around the neck of the viction.

The twenty one small pebbles are tied in a cloth and put around the neck of victim like a garland. Everyone is keenly looking at the pooja including the narrator and Pedda Perumal Pillai. After a while, Narayana Iyer has successfully drawn the poison from the victim. After the crowd exit, Naraya.

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