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Mar 16, 2005 05:56 PM 102606 views

(Updated Mar 16, 2005 05:56 PM)

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Ruskin Bond


We all have heard of Ruskin Bond, though we may not have read any of his books. Ruskin Bond, a resident of Mussoorie, is a well-known writer of fiction. His books can be read everybody; children, adults, teens, etc. I just read on of his books (The Rupa book of Ruskin Bond?s Himalayan Tales), and this book alone motivated me to write a review on him. He is an extraordinary writer. He mixes fiction with reality and writes books that are enchanting. I have written a review on this writer par excellence. Please do tell me your opinion on it.


Ruskin Bond was born in Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh, in 1934, and grew up in Jamnagar, Dehradun and Shimla. In the course of a writing career spanning more than thirty-five years, he has written over a hundred short stories, essays, novels and thirty odd novels for children. The Room on the Roof was Bond's first novel, written when he was seventeen. Many of his books, like Ruskin Bond children?s Omnibus, The Rupa book of great animal stories, etc. have been an all time favorite with children in India and world over. The book received the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize in 1957.


Ruskin Bond received the Sahitya Academy Award for English writing in India in 1992, for Our Trees Still grow in Dehra. Ruskin Bond is an ardent lover of nature and animals. This is evident from many of his stories and poems, like Cherry tree, Song of the whistling thrush, Visitors from the forest, and so on.


As I have already mentioned, he has written many novels as well as short stories for children and adults. One thing worthy of being mentioned, is that not all his stories are really ?stories?. They may be essays, poems, his thoughts, experiences, or any such thing. This makes it very pleasant to read his books. Moreover, the stories aren?t ?interesting?, by which I mean that they don?t really have a storyline. But this is not to say that it isn?t good.


His writing by itself makes the story involving and fun. It is difficult to describe Ruskin Bond?s stories. To give you an idea of them; they are somewhat like R.K Narayanan?s works. Life in the villages, life in mountains, children?s fantasies, nature, animals, etc. are the themes of his works. The essays on nature written by him are a must-read for everyone.


His writing style is unique. He doesn?t use hi-fi language and doesn?t have a solid story to work on, but still, he makes it such a pleasure to read. In some stories, it is as if he puts down his thoughts in words. It is just his thoughts, yet it can put to shame numerous other so called ?interesting? stories. His poems are truly excellent. All his works basically revolve around the beauty of nature, animals, etc. While reading his stories, one has to appreciate the fact that he creates a piece of art, using just a loose story. A simple life is much better than a modern hi-fi way of life; one realizes after reading a book of his. One learns to appreciate the beauty of nature, and the small simple joys of life. Reading his works evokes a warm feeling within us.


It will be extremely difficult to describe how good his works are. Here are a few excerpts, to give you the real ?Ruskin Bond? feel.


A short poem on nature:



RAINDROP


This leaf, so complete in itself,


Is only part of the tree.


And this tree, so complete in itself,


Is only part of the forest.


And the forest runs down from the hill to the sea,


And the sea, so complete in itself,


Rests like a raindrop


In the hand of God.


A poem, which I found a lot of fun to read:


If mice could roar


And elephants soar


And trees grow up in the sky;


If tigers could dine


On biscuits and wine,


And the fattest of men could fly!


If pebbles could sing


And bells never ring


And teachers were lost in the post;


If a tortoise could run


And losses be won,


And bullies be buttered on toast;


If a song brought a shower,


And a gun grew a flower,


This world would be nicer than most!


One of Ruskin Bond?s Haikus


While I was a boy, I dreamt of power and fame;


And now I?m old, I dream of being a boy again.


From the story Cherry tree:


?There are so many trees in this forest.? said Rakesh. ?What is so special about this tree? Why do we like it so much??


?We planted it ourselves.? said grandpa. ?That is why it is special.?


?Just one small seed? said Rakesh, and he touched the smooth bark of the tree that had grown. He ran his hand along the trunk of the tree and put his finger to the tip of a leaf. ?I wonder,? he whispered. ?Is this what it feels like to be God??.


A really simple but charming poem:


These Simple Things


The simplest things in life are best-


A patch of green,


A small bird?s nest,


A drink of water, fresh and cold,


The taste of bread,


A song of old;


These are the things that matter most.


The laughter of a child,


A favorite book,


Flowers growing wild,


A cricket singing in a shady nook.


A ball that bounces high!


A summer shower,


A rainbow in the sky,


The touch of a loving hand,


And time to rest-


These simple things in life are best.


An enchanting poem:


The Whistling Schoolboy


From the gorge above Gangotri


Down to Kochi by the sea,


The whistling thrush keeps singing


That same sweet melody.


He was a whistling schoolboy once,


Who heard god Krishna?s flute,


And tried to play the same sweet tune,


But touched a faulty note.


Said Krishna to the errant youth-


A bird you must become,


And you shall whistle all your days


Until your song is done.


Excerpt from Visitors from the forest-


Sometimes during the day a bird visits me- a deep blue whistling thrush, hopping about on long dainty legs, too nervous to sing. She perches on a windowsill, looking out at the rain. If I sit quietly in my chair, she will sit quietly at her windowsill, glancing now and then to make sure I keep my distance. When the rain stops, she glides away, and it is only then, confident in her freedom, that she bursts into full-throated song, her broken but enchanting melody echoing down the ravine.


I am sure that these short paragraphs would have helped you more than all my blabbering, am I right? I hope Ruskin Bond charmed you.


Ruskin Bond is an artiste par excellence. Just reading his stories gives you a warm feeling inside. It cheers you up. If you are disappointed or upset because of something, pick up one of his books and read it; you are sure to feel nice after that. There are many authors who write awesome extra interesting stories, but authors like Ruskin Bond are rare. He writes stories which are truly entertain you, but in a calm, soothing way. He is an enchanter. Do read his books, you won?t be disappointed.



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