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Ruskin Bond was born in Kasauli in the then Punjab Province in the year 1934. Born to a first generation British migrant, Bond spent most of his childhood in amidst Himalayas. He was brought up at different places that included Jamnagar, Dehradun and Shimla. As customary in that period he went to England for his primary studies. Although Bond was studying in England, his mind rested in India.
Ruskin Bond has now been writing for more than 5 decades. He has stressed more on the local elements of Himalayas in his writings. His writing style is distinct in a way that it tries to make reader understand the landscape and ethos through carefully mastered words. Replete with unassuming humor and quiet wisdom, his stories manifest a deep love for nature and people. His mesmerizing descriptions about the flora and fauna of Himalayas cannot be missed in his 100 something short stories, essays, novels, and more than thirty books of children that he has written. The inspiration of his work has always been the hill stations at the foothills of the Himalayas. It was where he spent most of his childhood. Some of his novellas when he was young mirrored the kind of life and experiences he had when he was living in Dehra Dun. He lived there in a small rented along some of his friends. His autobiographical work called Rain in the Mountains majorly includes his life spent in Mussorie.
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.  Rusty goes to nearby market and makes many friends and thereafter 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 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.

 

 

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 enamoured 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 which got a lot of critical appreciation.

 

A Flight of Pigeons

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

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 Railway station. The first time he goes up to her but they barely speak. In his subsequent visits to Deoli he meets the basket girl once and never again they meet.

In subsequent years, he continues to fantasize about her of what would have probably happened to the girl 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.

 

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 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.

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Aparna Deb

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I love people who get their fiction & Bollywood allusions right, but apart from that, I am a relatively normal person with happy feet attracting good vibes from everyone I meet. Loves reading Non-Fiction.
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