Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Rustic Charm of Ruskin Bond

Writing comes more easily to me when I have music in the background. Or is it that I lose myself in the music, get into the mood and write whatever captures the mood? If there’s any flow at all that’s there in my writing, it is due to the music. It’s also why most of the stuff here are just dreamy. If I were given one topic and then asked to write about it, I would find it boring - the eternal drifter that I am. Drifting brings me to what is holding me in sway these days - Ruskin Bond. My Orkut status already says so.

Ruskin Bond is one author I hadn’t had the chance to read much till now. He is also not whom I would pick, had I much of a choice of selection. Not mush reason for that except ignorance and negligible exposure to his works .I do remember though the short story of the blind girl the author meets in the train to Dehra Dun, that was part of our school syllabus. Though its titled ‘The Eyes Have It’ , in the book I’m hooked to right now – ‘The Best of Ruskin Bond’ - a collection of his stories , poems ,essays and what not ;I am certain the English Reader text had a different name for the story . It’s a love story – the story of a short, sweet romance. Couldn’t suppress a smile when I thought back about those school days when I was ‘taught’ this story .It never did strike me as a love story then. Not at all …. I read it now, and it’s a discovery that the author meant it as a love story. I was probably too young to recognize the faint scent of a tender romance that was the mood of the story. Or was it that the repetitious explanation from the teacher had killed the spirit of the story? A poem or a story cannot be ruined further than by explaining it. When you take a poem , read two lines and explain the meaning , take down the new words and their meanings ,delve deep into the metaphors and the similes ,you are actually dissecting it –literally opening its tummy and looking inside before even seeing the creature in its entire beauty and form . Should not! Not before you give it a full reading at least once, feel the flow and the mood, and lose some time in thinking about it. I guess you wouldn’t get the whole picture otherwise.

Take the story in question – the girl is going to Saharanpur and the author,all the way, to Dehra .So where is the girl going ,children ?? Saharanpur …we bellow .. and the that’s what gets the emphasis ,and that’s what stays in our mind .Tsk tsk .. Totally needless details get the spotlight and poor li’l romance is sidelined. But then, we were children and not to be spoilt with discourses on how the author’s heart went out to the girl .

I digress.

Back to Ruskin Bond.The office library is nothing much to write home about, holding in its general reading section, nothing much other than the how-to guides: the quintessential loser’s guide. Need I say more? I detest self-help literature .Period! So it was a relief to spot ‘The Best of Ruskin Bond’ among such wastage of precious paper like the afore mentioned genre of books. Grabbed it ,started reading and was hooked .The very first story ,’The eyes have it ’, was like the ‘hi there ,remember me ’ from a long lost friend .RB writes candid and simple prose that is heavily nostalgic about his boyhood days in Dehra dun and Mussorie . Most of it reads like first hand accounts of his life, as the ones that are shared among friends over a cup of tea, reminiscing the good old days. He describes his growing up years in the naturally bountiful hill station ,where he had all the time to wonder and be fascinated by nature , the many plants and trees and animals that he talks about with great familiarity, making the reader pine to go back to their own childhoods and relive it once again .As I have said here time and again , I am perpetually infatuated with childhood .For me ,its the best part of one’s life ,and I was always reluctant to grow up .I remember how sad I was to grow up and leave school ,and then later on ,college . It’s a tragedy that we cannot stop the years , live as much as we want is in our favorite age , and then continue with life when we are up for it .

He talks just as easily and eloquently about all the stages of life, from boyhood, to his late teens in London and after .There are also simple, lovely poems that can be enjoyed in one read, like a deep lungful breath of sweet fragrance. Would sign off recommending Ruskin Bond for company for the times when you feel wistfully nostalgic and want to go back in time. On that slow dusk watching the sun wave good bye , sipping sweet black tea , get on that hammock and stretch out with a copy of ‘The Best Of Ruskin Bond’ .


Track - I am born again.

Album – Oceans of Fantasy

Band - BoneyM


cm chap said...

I can't comment bcz I nvr read Ruskin Bond..But a different take of the author makes me curious.... Let me try to read one before I conclude

Blunt Edges said...

even i have read ruskin bond in school and have never quite pursued it outside academics!

n just outta curiosity, why do u leave the post untitled and have the title in the post?

boney! :D

manoranjini said...

@CM-Pls do.Assure you that you will thank me later for nudging you that way.
@Blunt-RB is fantabulous!
Out of frankness,I never found a 'Title' box while composing my posts,and I usually type out the whole thing in MSWord and just copy,paste,publish without caring for the title!Now that you ask,I checked around and corrected my settings.A title there will be from now on .Thnx for pointing out!

Vinod Ramamoorthy said...

Until late into my school days I thought Ruskin Bond hailed from Brittain. I was not completely wrong, but ya .. never knew that he is an 'Indian Writer'.

And u r so write. The music and the type of music does impact the writing.At least when it comes to soulful writing

Old Monk said...

One tends to enjoy a story or poetry when you try to relate to a character or become part of the prose and flows along with it...and yes music has an impact on whatever you do...or say so do I believe.

manoranjini said...

@Vinod-In fact he is more Indian than a lot of us.
Music indeed is soul-feed!
@Monk - Hm...the charm of poetry...

Haddock said...

Nothing like a book by Ruskin Bond on a rainy day