Saturday, June 25, 2011

Our Trees Still Grow In Dehra - Ruskin Bond

I finished reading Ruskin Bond's last book in my shelf 'Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra'. Much of it had already been written in bits and pieces in his oher books (I read about 7-8 of them so far) so most stories sounded and appeared familiar as I read them as the same characters, places and situations came up. But all credit to Ruskin Bond that we are drawn into his world, into Mussoorie and Dehradun and Chamba and Landsdowne, into the hills and its smells, into a young man's lonely mind.

The first story 'Escape from Java' was new and I read it with relish as a young Ruskin and his father escape from Java to India during the World War II. It has a fine account of their adventures in a boat that loses its way and they are floating about on the sea until rescued with an interesting character Mr. Muggeridge. The second story of the 'Bent Double Beggar' (he came up in earlier stories) - interesting mainly because of the teachings of the wise beggar that Ruskin Bond has listed down. Very profound stuff really.

'The Untouchable' follows next about the boy who lives in the house and cleans and how both he and the untouchable boy sit close by and weather a scary stormy night. 'All Creatures Big and Small' is an account of his fiesty grandfather's colection of animals and birds and reptiles and his pechant to dress up in disguises and walk into the market place. Quite a character his grandfather. 'Coming Home to Dehra' is about his displacement from the boarding school in Shimla to Dehradun after his father's death, an incident which hurt young Bond deeply as he shared a loving relationship with his father. 'What's you Dream?' is a fine story that captures a tonne of wisdom in two pages (a dream my by, is what you want most in your life).

'The last tonga ride' describes Bansi Lal the tonga wala and Ruskin's noontime capers with him, until he and his grandmother move to England, riding the tonga for the last time. 'Calypso Christmas' is a loud and colorful description of a New Year he celebrates with some lively West Indians in London. 'Last Time in Delhi' is about his visit to Delhi to meet his ailing mother. 'Binya passes by' is about his love, a mountain girl that he kissed in the mountains. 'Small Beginnings' is about how he met Prem, his adopted son. 'Death of the Trees' is about how the trees are being felled for development. There is a large excerpt from his novel 'The Flight of the Pigeons' at the end.

Like all Ruskin Bond stories, an easy, soothing read that takes you into the world of the mountains. For me who has been there once, I can picture them again in my mind and try and create what he writes about from his experience. As always he leaves a world of joy, sorrow, frienship, love and parting. But he leaves you with a smile, many loveable characters.and hope


Ankita said...

Thanks a ton for the wonderful review! Actually I was thinking of buying this book and now I have decided that I am going to get it no matter what!!

Harimohan said...

Glad you liked the review. He's really created a lovely world out there forever, through his books.

Unknown said...

can you please tell me what conclusion could be derive from the story Calypso Christmas.Please its Its Urgent!!!

Unknown said...

Can you please tell me what conclusion could be derive from the story Calypso Christmas. Please Its Urgent!!!