There are very few Indian writers that you can boast about in English literature. For a long time I have been meaning to write this piece but was too afraid that I will not be able to do justice with this magician of pen and words and hence have been procrastinating since. But today I don’t know why my mind has refused to contain all my thoughts and feelings and emotions about Ruskin Bond and I have decided to pour my heart out on the same piece of paper that has been a companion to humans from time immemorial to express the feelings that can’t be simply stated. I’m overwhelmed with all the thoughts and don’t know where to start.
Ruskin Bond is from a select few Englishmen who opted to live in India out of love to this country when this old country sprung to freedom and youth. Both India and Ruskin have aged simultaneously like two inseparable lovers, and as the time passed the bond between Ruskin and this magical land grew stronger and stronger. I have been reading for some time now and have been on the adventure with quite a few of writers and I appreciate them a lot, but there is something about work of Mr. Bond that draws me near it every single time. I can’t really explain what it is? And perhaps that is the most special thing about that.
Ruskin Bond has not written epics like Tolstoy or intellectual classics like Hemmingway, but what he writes has soul in it, a simple soulful piece of literature. I think that is what that appeals to me the most, the simplicity and the honesty. Ruskin Bond does not tell the stories of some made up complicated characters but he tells us the story of the common man, the story of a lost English boy in Dehra and the story of a peanut seller near clock tower. I relate to all the characters and the stories of Mr. Bond because somewhere deep that is what the world is like in reality that is what the people are like in reality. Ruskin Bond paints an elegant and beautiful picture of the human nature. It has shades of anger, envy, hatred, love, Union and separation. Ruskin Bond tells you all from the gentle brushing of lips on the first kiss, the raw emotion of love free from all evils and prejudice to the deceitful tricks behind the curtains of friendliness.
The description and introduction of Ruskin Bond is incomplete without his love for the nature, Himalaya in particular and all that the great mountain hosts. I will go ahead and take this opportunity to state that, “There is no Ruskin without the Himalaya” and Himalaya would not find another admirer who can do justice with its might and splendor as Mr. Bond does. The most romantic thing for a reader of Mr. Bond is that you get lost with him between the forest of Deodar and pines. He takes you away from reality to reality in the lap of divinity of the mighty Himalaya. He makes you feel the cold gentle breeze that passes by and the beauty of flowers that bloom in this heaven. He makes you hear the sound of the stream that is springing through the rocks and the music of magical birds and the kings of the insect world. Ruskin Bond takes the simplest thing in the nature and transforms it into a masterpiece. He takes you to the humble hills of Himalaya where the tender green grass is still drunk on the dew of the star studded night. He takes you to the silences where you can talk to you and be actually blissful and enjoy those precious seconds.
The love for Books is another thing that draws me near to Ruskin Bond. He estimates that he must have read at least 15000 books till now and is still going strong. I envy him for that. I don’t know if I would be as fortunate as him but the love that Ruskin has for his books make me fall in love with him more and more. I would like to share an expert from his book Rain in the Mountains here which are actually words of Virginia Woolf, it goes as:
“I have sometimes dreamt that when the Day of Judgment dawns and the great conquerors and lawyers and statesmen come to receive their reward-their crowns, their laurels, their names carved indelibly upon imperishable marble-the almighty will turn to peter and will say, not without a certain envy when he sees us coming with our books under our arms, “Look, these need no reward. We have nothing to give them here. They have loved reading.”
I have been to a lot of interesting places and have met a lot of interesting people in my adventures with Ruskin Bond and I hope there be innumerable more ahead.
“….But the trees know their own. They will cherish the wild spirits and frighten the daylight out of tame.”
– Ruskin Bond
The Himalaya and the trees will for sure cherish you and so will India and readers like me who has found refuge in the world of your words. More power to you.