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.