He had left his village without any previous thought or plan. If he had continued there he would have carried on the work of his forefathers – namely, tilling the land, living, marrying and ripening in his cornfield and ancestral home. But that was not to be. He had to leave home without telling anyone, and he could not rest till he left it behind a couple hundred miles. To a villager it is a great deal, as if an ocean flowed between.
Narayan, R. K. Malgudi Days. New York: Penguin, 1984. Print.
This paragraph, although it may not seem it, gives a lot of cultural background to the story. It shows how his life was pretty much decided for him when he was born and that he no longer wanted these restraining forces on him. The biggest insight is the reference of how “it is a great deal as if ocean flowed between” them as if saying they are not only physically distant from each other they are also emotionally detached from each other as well.