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Five famous works of Ruskin Bond that are seasoned with all traces of emotions

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By Prachi Mishra

It’s not just the distressing sagas of childhood and love, people and trains, the hills and rains, which quickly found their way to our hearts, but it’s also the simplicity that Ruskin Bond sprinkled in his stories that lingered for long in our minds.

An Indian author of British descent, Ruskin Bond was born in Kasauli in 1934, and spent most of his childhood amidst the Himalayas; no doubt his writing captures the local elements of the hills.

Known for his contribution to children literature, Bond has written over a hundred short stories, essays and novellas in his literary career of 40 years.

On his 81st birthday, NewsGram presents you five of his most famous works, seasoned with all traces of emotions.

The Room on the Roof

The Room on the Roof is the first novel written by Ruskin Bond. The book also fetched him the prestigious John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize in 1957.

The story revolves around a 16-year-old boy, Rusty, who lives with his English guardian, after his parents’ death. He, being unhappy with the strict rules of his guardian, decides to break free one day. One day, Rusty goes to nearby market and makes many friends and starts living there. Eventually, he discovers that life is not that easy and he has to face a number of challenges that are waiting for him.

In his first written venture, Ruskin Bond has depicted a story of growing up, love, friendship, and responsibilities. It does not depict the age of adolescence merely as frivolous, but Rusty’s thoughts about his life, his insignificance, make the novel reflective. The novel engages the attention of the young and the adults alike.

Our Trees still grow in Dehra

Ruskin Bond received the Sahitya Academy Award for this written piece in 1992.

‘Our Trees still grow in Dehra’ is a collection of short stories, closely linked with each other. It traces the life of Ruskin Bond from childhood to adolescence to adulthood.

In this work, he also raises his concern over the changing lifestyle of the mountains – the massive amount of deforestation and the extinction of wild-life. He wonders that now there would remain only the artificial and lifeless landmarks created by man.

The Blue Umbrella

This is a story of a girl, Biniya, living in a village in Garhwal region. Her blue umbrella is the focal point of her life and a common envy of the remote village.

A shopkeeper Ram Bharosa is particularly enamored of the umbrella and his apprentice offers to steal it for him. He loses the respect of the villagers for his misdeed and is banished from the village.

At the end of the story, Biniya takes pity on the isolated man, and breaks the ban imposed on him and gifts him the blue umbrella.

This book also found its way to the silver screen through a movie made by Vishal Bharadwaj.

 A Flight of Pigeons

This novella has a different theme than Ruskin’s other works. It is based around the 1857 revolt in India.

The story is about Ruth Labadoor and her family (who are British) who take help of Hindus and Muslims to reach their relatives when her father is killed in a church by the Indian rebels. In the backdrop of the story, the events of the Revolt of 1857 are presented artistically in bits and pieces. Finally, the story ends with English army once again taking over the city almost after a year.

A Fight of Pigeons was made into a television series called Junoon.

The Night Train at Deoli

The story, told in first person narrative, is about a college student reflecting on his annual visits to his hometown Dehradun. On one of the trips, he notices a beautiful girl selling baskets on the street and fantasizes about meeting her.

In subsequent years, he continues to fantasize about her but never pursues her. It’s the story of an unspoken yet powerful attraction and of the student’s regret for never having acted on his passion.

This short story vividly depicts the profundity and flux of human emotions.

Next Story

Proud Of Spreading Chills And Thrills Among Children: ‘Goosebumps’ Author R.L. Stine

I'm very proud of the millions of kids I have scared over the years, and proud that millions of kids were encouraged to read because of my books.

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Scared. Image source: Huffingtonpost.com

R.L. Stine never imagined he’d carve out a successful future for himself by writing a horror book series, which he started by accident. The “Goosebumps” creator says he is proud of spreading chills and thrills among children, and helping youngsters develop a reading habit.

“I’m very proud of the millions of kids I have scared over the years, and proud that millions of kids were encouraged to read because of my books,” Stine told IANS in an email interview.

Born as Robert Lawrence Stine, he started writing when he was 9 and has been penning down his creative thoughts since then. Back in the early 1990s, he resisted the idea of writing “Goosebumps”, which is now one of the best-selling children’s series of all-time, because he already had “Fear Street”, a horror book series for adults, to his credit.

Stine only agreed to go for it with the right name and zeroed in on “Goosebumps”, in which he merged the world of horror with humour. The first edition of “Goosebumps”, which brings supernatural beings to life to haunt children, came out in 1992.

“I never dreamed that these books would be so popular. And I never imagined the ‘Goosebumps’ series would last 26 years. What I’ve learned is that kids really like to be scared! (As long as there is a happy ending),” said Stine, who is also referred to as Stephen King of Children’s Literature.

Children avoid eye contact when anxious
“I’m very proud of the millions of kids I have scared over the years, and proud that millions of kids were encouraged to read because of my books,”-R.L Stine

It has been a long road for the franchise. Since 1992, the “Goosebumps” franchise has expanded its universe. The adventurous world came to life on the big screen with two feature films — “Goosebumps”, which was aired in India on &flix, and “Goosebumps 2”, which will premiere on the channel later this year.

Apart from films, “Goosebumps” series were adapted into a television series, six video games and six comic books.

What do you think makes the franchise timeless?

“I don’t know if they are timeless or not. But I do know that our fears never change. Fear of the dark… Fear of strange places… Fear of being pursued by someone or something… Those fears seem to be timeless,” said the 75-year-old.

R.L. Stine Author of kid’s favorite ‘Goosebumps’ (IANS)

Talking about his influences, Stine said: “I’m still influenced by the comic books I read as a kid. By authors such as Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov and Rod Serling. Your heroes and influences stay with you.”

He asserted that he works really hard at “keeping up with kids and what interests them”.

“All of my books start with real-world settings and events — and then the plot goes crazy,” said the author, adding that “some of my early readers are 30 or 35 years old. To them, I am nostalgia! That took some getting used to”.

In the “Goosebumps” film franchise, actor Jack Black essays role of Stine. But what about a film on your life?

Also Read: Our Children Might Fall into the Black Hole of Ecological Disaster

He was quick to dismiss the idea by saying, “My life story would be someone sitting in a room and typing every day, year after year. Who would want to see a movie like that?”

Back to the book franchise, Stine, who is also a television producer, editor and screenwriter, feels there are still many untold stories from the “Goosebumps” universe.

“I just signed on for six more ‘Goosebumps’ books. That should keep me busy. I’m also writing a series of graphic novels for kids. Fun.” (IANS)