R.K. Narayan was born in Madras in 1906, where he lived for most of his life. With the help of Graham Greene, he published the first of his twenty-nine books (Swami and Friends) in 1935. Subsequent novels, such as Waiting for the Mahatma, The Painter of Signs and The English Teacher, made him the most widely read Indian writer in the English language. Many of his stories were set in the fictional town of Malgudi. ‘Kabir Street’ (Granta 57) is an extract from the sequel to The World of Nagaraj (1990). He died in 2001.