Rusty comes home – A nostalgic masterpiece by Ruskin Bond

Ruskin Bond’s alter ego – Rusty makes his final appearance in the nostalgic classic – Rusty comes home. This book brings an end to the Rusty series which has a big fan following among kids and adults. Perhaps Ruskin Bond is the only author whose books connect with every reader right from 8 years old kid to 88 year old grandpa. The stories happening in Rusty’s books are inspired by the events happened in Ruskin Bond’s life. ‘Rusty comes home’ gives you a glimpse of Rusty’s life after his return to London.

A homesick Rusty returns to his roots, his hometown – Dehradun which he fondly calls Dehra. In search of accommodation, Rusty travels to various cities – Delhi, Shahganj, Dehra and Mussoorie. Especially the Delhi chapters in this book will remind you of Bollywood movie – Delhi: 6. Delhi’s life is different from Mumbai. Here Rusty finds accommodation in one of his friend’s house. The eccentric Bhabhiji, a character created by Ruskin Bond is reflection of a typical orthodox north Indian granny who rules the house. Here the readers get a glimpse of the Delhi life in more detailed way. This book will also remind you of Shahrukh Khan’s movie – Swades. No matter how far you are from your hometown, you are bound to return to your roots one day. Rusty also describes about his stay in Shahganj. In Shahganj, he makes new acquaintances with Ketan and Suresh. In one of the chapters, he also shares his paranormal experiences of meeting ghost children in Shahganj. Among all chapters, the most endearing episode was ‘Night train at Deoli story’. Deoli is a small, isolated station 30 miles from Dehra. In this romantic episode, Rusty bonds with a basket selling girl at the station. Though he tries to strike an affectionate bond with the estranged girl at Deoli station, he is unsuccessful. He also bonds with a village belle named Binya but only to realize that she is an apparition. At the end of the novel, Rusty settles down sitting on a wall, reminiscing the beautiful moments of his life and discovering that love is part of life, not the heart of life.

Filled with heartwarming episodes of love, friendship, humor, separation, this book takes you on an unforgettable journey of emotions. If you love reading coming of age novels, then Rusty comes home is a nostalgic masterpiece that will bring a smile on your face long after you have completed reading this book.

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Rusty – The boy from hills: A heart touching memoir by Ruskin Bond

‘Rusty – the boy from hills’ is one of the most endearing book on boyhood memories and has a personal & emotional connect to it. Ruskin Bond paints an intimate portrait of his childhood through the character Rusty. Through the eyes of Rusty, readers go behind the timeline in 1940’s Dehra. This book traces the origins of Rusty. Originally ‘The Room on the roof’ was the first book by Ruskin which introduced the teenage Rusty to readers. In ‘Rusty – the boy from hills’ we meet the little 9 years old Rusty pampered by his grandparents. Rusty’s parents have already been separated hence his upbringing is done by his paternal grandparents.

In this book, Rusty recounts the best days he spent with his grandparents, the Tonga rides to Dehra’s scenic towns, planting saplings in the forests and witnessing hilarious adventures of grandpa’s pets – python, monkey and a tiger. Rusty’s grandpa was no less than Dr. Do-little because the whole house was filled with animals and birds. Ruskin Bond also has described about the events of breakout of World War 2 and Rusty’s miraculous escape from a bombing. The adventure is set in Java and how Rusty & his father escape to Bombay is described like a fast paced adventure. Rusty returns to Dehra to live with grandma while his father is recruited in RAF (Royal Air Force). One day suddenly Rusty receives the news that his father has expired due to long sickness and now Rusty’s future is uncertain. Will Rusty adjust himself to living with his estranged mother and stepfather or will he stay with his grandma? These questions will only be answered by Rusty in Ruskin Bond’s book.

Blessed with an imaginative mind, Rusty has an infectious curiosity to know about the things. He want to take Tonga rides, plant saplings in forest, visit abandoned cemeteries and relish on road side foods. There is also a supernatural story in this book where Rusty comes across an abandoned grave of a woman who is connected to him. From hilarious comical situations to heart breaking emotions, Ruskin Bond has made this book like a classic Hollywood movie.

Here too Ruskin Bond has recounted the bonding with his late father – Aubrey Bond and the joyful two years he spent in the company of his dad. The chapter ‘Funeral’ in this book is really heart breaking where Rusty sneaks into the cemetery to see the burial of his father. By reading this chapter, one cannot stop shedding his tears for the little child Rusty.

A delightful reading in Rusty series, Rusty – The boy from hills is a refreshing classic to read and treasure in your personal library.

Rusty goes to London – A nostalgic review of Ruskin Bond’s memoirs

‘When Bond describes a destination….it ceases to be a place on the map and becomes a beautiful portrait of life itself’ – DNA Review

Reading Ruskin Bond’s books is a rewarding experience in itself. Whether it is reading his short stories or the full length Rusty adventures, each book has an old world charm to it. Rusty is alter ego of Ruskin Bond and the incidents happening in Rusty’s books are highly inspired by events happened in life of Bond.

This book is one of the best books in the Rusty series which takes you on a nostalgic trip to London, Jersey & Channel Islands and brings you back to Dehra – Rusty’s hometown. This book starts off with Rusty moving to England with an aspiration to become a renowned writer. Here Rusty’s struggle for survival begins in a foreign land where he has to pass his days eating in cheap restaurants of Jersey. He works by day and spends his night writing. Despite being a homesick person, Rusty passes melancholic days in London, remembering his late father and his Dehra friends. He misses the emotional connection of Dehra in London. In one of the chapters, Rusty’s office colleague contributes his money to help Rusty buy a typewriter. Rusty’s zeal to become a writer is reflected in the chapter.

By strange coincidences, Rusty crosses path with Rudyard Kipling and Sherlock Holmes in London. The cameo of Sherlock Holmes in this book is the biggest highlight of the storyline. After a painstaking struggle, Rusty succeeds to find publishers who agree to publish his stories. It was here in London where Ruskin Bond had penned down his debut novel – The Room on the roof. There is a romantic angle in this memoir too. When it comes to penning nostalgic romantic stories, no one writes it better than Ruskin. Rusty even falls in love with a Vietnamese girl named Vu Phuong but the love is not reciprocated. The story of Vu Phuong appears in two chapters – A tribute to a dead friend and the girl from Copenhagen.

‘The girl from Copenhagen’ is a heart tugging chapter in this book where a girl named Ulla seeks shelter in Rusty’s room for two days. Though Rusty spends time with Ulla, he doesn’t emotionally connect with her. After spending days in London, Rusty returns to his hometown – Dehra and here begins his real struggle to find his identity in world of writing. The second half of the book is filled with hilarious episodes, eccentric characters coming in life of Rusty. How Rusty manages to survive in Dehra is best to be read in Ruskin Bond’s refreshing, coming of age book – Rusty goes to London. Every time I read a Ruskin Bond book, I discover a refreshing aspect of life. Rusty goes to London is a delightful read and full of light hearted situations, funny characters and blink & miss cameo by the legendary Dilip Kumar. If you loved reading ‘Rusty goes to London’ do check ‘Rusty Runs away’ and ‘Rusty comes home’.

In the company of books – A day in the life of a reader

I am not lucky as author Khushwant Singh who wrote about his romantic adventures in his memoir – Company of women. For a loner writer like me, my books are my timeless companions in whom I seek refuge. My school of thought about life is different from people in the world. Sometimes having no goal is the biggest goal of one’s life. There is no competition, conflict, misunderstandings or expectations. One lives life on his own terms. It takes guts to live life on your own ideologies. So here I am the reader who feels that reading and completing a book is an accomplishment in itself. Every weekend I take a challenge to read and complete one book. Ironically I end up leaving the book pending and pile of incomplete books to my credit. The reading bug bit me during my childhood days and there was no cure for it. I had the same feeling as Peter Parker had after getting bitten by a radioactive spider. Rest was a life changing experience for Peter Parker. He became a superhero – Spiderman. I am not a super hero, I am a blog writer.

Reading is not everyone’s cup of tea. You have to be blessed to be fond of books. I thank God for blessing with this reading hobby. It started with comics and then evolved into full length novels. Hadn’t I read ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’ I wouldn’t have become a writer. Reading Tom Sawyer was my first stint as a full core literature reader. Then there was no looking back. I must have read over 50 novels till the date. I admit that I am an impatient reader. I read the book where I feel connected. I could never muster up the courage to read Dan Brown’s novel – The Da Vinci Code. There was nothing worth connecting with the book. It is not like that the book was bad. Somewhere I couldn’t relate with it. I do buy 5 to 10 books every month and keep them reserved for future reading. Sometimes the excitement of reading is so high that I end up reading nothing.

Though I don’t travel a lot, I do take a time out to explore the book stores located in the cities – Especially the old book stores, road side book sellers who give you the bestsellers at half the price. I do visit the happening bookstores like Crossword but the books available in the store are too expensive to buy. I love the dusty smell of old books brought from the roadside booksellers. It has a sense of nostalgia to it. Majority of the book shop owners have become familiar with me and know about my favorite genre and authors – especially Ruskin Bond. Whenever I go to Crossword Stores to explore new book releases, the staff knows that I have come to buy the new Ruskin Bond books. Sometimes you don’t choose the books but the books choose you. Often times I had the privilege to buy the books of well-known writers like Shakespeare, Louisa May Alcott, Charles Dickens, Arthur Conan Doyle, Kate Douglas Wiggins, Ruskin Bond, Jane Austen and Mary Shelley.

From visiting the book stores to buying and reading the book, this journey is worth the life. After completing the book, the reader in me is back to explore new books and discover a new aspect of life through the words of a writer.

Do let me know your experience of reading and which book inspired you to become a reader?

Whispers in the dark – A book of spooks by Ruskin Bond

What would you do if you see a ghostly figure sleeping besides your bed? Will your sweat out with fear or scream out? In such unpredictable paranormal experiences, the faint hearted can’t even scream. From ‘The Excorcist’ to the recent scary flick – The Conjuring & Annabelle, fear has taken new forms in movies. ‘Whispers in the dark’ is a fresh new compilation of spooky stories that you will change your perception towards the theory of paranormal activities. After ‘Face in the dark and other hauntings’, Ruskin Bond has penned down new spooky stories that will give you scary goosebumps.

The short stories in this spooky collection have supernatural and scary settings, but they are not mind disturbing. Most of Ruskin Bond’s stories have touch of nostalgia and romance to it. ‘The Wilson’s Bridge’ and ‘Listen to the wind’ have the theme of romance in this spooky collection. Among all the short stories, ‘A dreadful gurgle’ is one of my favorites. In this story, the author encounters a ghostly figure sleeping besides his bed. ‘A face in the dark’, ‘The late night show’, ‘Susanna’s seven husbands’, ‘A traveller’s tale’, ‘The overcoat’ and ‘The Mango tope’ are really thrilling with a shocking twist in the end. The 35 stories in this spooky collection are unique from one another. Is there any afterlife element existing in this world? Do our departed loved ones really connect with us? These queries about supernatural elements are a subject of discussion. In one of his short stories, Ruskin Bond recounts his experience of seeing the apparition of his late father – Aubrey Bond.

Ruskin Bond has also penned ‘A face in the dark and other hauntings’ a spooky collection of ghost stories

If you love spooky stories, do check out this anthology of supernatural theme by Ruskin Bond. I bet after reading this stories, you will definitely check your bed sheet before sleeping. Who knows how and when a ghost may sneak in your bed.

In search of a muse

‘Fill the paper with breathings of your heart’ – Quote

Without a muse, an artist is nothing. Neither he can paint a picture on a canvas nor can he pour words on his paper. I never believed in theories of muse until I faced the creative blockage in my mind known as writer’s block. Writer’s block is a type of creative blockage that paralyzes our creativity. Neither coffee nor music helped me to restore back my writing prowess. While gazing through some images on Pinterest, I happened to see the pic of actress Anne Hathaway from Hollywood movie – Becoming Jane. Actress Anne Hathaway played the role of author Jane Austen in the movie. The picture showed Anne holding a pen and paper. The picture had a positive impact on my mind. It was like a writing prompt for me. I felt like my mind was undergoing a rebooting phase. I immediately went to my writing table and starting tapping my hands on my keyboard. Within 2 hours I wrote an article and published it on WordPress blogging platform. It was sense of accomplishment for me. My mind was oozing with creativity. Was the creative blockage an excuse to stay away from writing or was I really facing writers’ block? Often times, we are so much enthusiastic to pen down our thoughts that we end up writing nothing. Ideas are like uninvited guests. They arrive anytime – while catching a bus, talking to a friend or while having a bath. Only the mind needs to be alert to welcome your creative guests.

Anna hathaway portrayed Jane Austen in 2007 movie – Becoming jane. She is also my current muse for this story

Do muses play a significant role in arousing ideas? Yes!! From William Shakespeare, Raja Ravi Verma, Leonardo Da Vinci to Ernest Hemingway, Rabindranath Tagore, Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, John Keats and Ruskin Bond, every creative genius had a muse to keep them inspired. It is been said that a young woman named Sugandha Bai was the muse of painter Raja Ravi Verma. Raja Ravi Verma used her as his model for several of his paintings. Whether Sugandha Bai was a real life person or a fictional character from Ranjit Desai’s biography on Raja Ravi Verma, this speculation has always been a subject of debate.

In Hollywood movie – Shakespeare in Love, William Shakespeare was shown having a muse who inspired him to write Romeo and Juliet. Though the movie was a fictional take on Shakespeare, there is no denying that creative people always in search of muse.

Several of John Keats’ poems were dedicated to his sweet heart Fanny Brawne. The 2007 biopic – Becoming Jane was based on life of Jane Austen and her short lived romance with Thomas Lefroy. Though the characters of Jane Austen were happy married in her books, Jane Austen was deprived of true love and wedding. She remained alone all her life. The character Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice was based on her real life love – Thomas Lefroy. Lefroy was muse of Austen. Love is greatest inspiration of all and artists always find creativity in their muses. Ruskin Bond’s greatest inspiration was a young married woman with whom he had a short lived crush. The young married woman was mentioned in the Ruskin Bond’s debut book – The Room on the roof. Even Tagore’s novels and poems were dedicated to his sister-in-law Kadambari Devi who inspired him to write.

Even the experiences in our life are muse for us. Playwright J.M.Barrie created the popular character ‘Peter Pan’ based on his personal experiences. The Hollywood movie – Finding Neverland was based on playwright J.M.Barrie and the experiences that inspired him to write Peter Pan. Really!! Without a muse, an artist is incomplete.

Finding Neverland is based on playwright J.M.Barrie

Hadn’t I seen the pic of Anne Hathaway as Jane Austen, I wouldn’t have been bursting with creativity. All thanks to actress Anne Hathaway for becoming my muse to write this article. It is all God’s plan to drop ideas in our mind. He creates muses, ideas and inspirations. Oh God!! Please keep me blessed with beautiful muses.

Jane Austen’s greatest inspiration was her love. The role of Jane Austen was played by Anne hathaway

As for now, this article on muse is ready. It’s time for my muse Anne Hathaway to take leave. Now my hunt for next muse is on…..Who will be my next muse? Only time and my upcoming stories will tell.

Do you believe in this concept called muse? Do drop your comments. Let me know who inspired you to create your masterpiece.

The unforgettable characters from Ruskin Bond’s books

Only few authors have the knack to create memorable characters in a full length novella or an unforgettable short story. Mark Twain, R.K.Narayan and Ruskin Bond belong to that league. Ruskin Bond’s short stories have a flavor of nostalgia that lingers in heart and mind of readers. The characters in the Bond’s short stories are not heroic soldiers, undercover cops, beautiful belle or damsels in distress.

They are common masses we see in day today life. There is extraordinariness in these ordinary characters created by Bond. These unforgettable characters from Ruskin’s short stories will tug your heart when you read about their struggle. Let’s see what is so special about these unforgettable characters created by Ruskin Bond.

1) Hassan the wrestler –

‘Fame has but a fleeting hold
On the reins in our fast paced society
So many of our yesterday’s heroes crumble’

Among all the short stories, ‘The Garlands on his brow’ is my favorite short story. Here Ruskin Bond brings you closer to the pain of a forgotten wrestler from Dehra. In this short story Bond reminiscences an ageing wrestler Hassan who once a hero and a role model for the Dehra people. His brawns and brain had knocked down many strong wrestlers to the floor. During his school days, little Ruskin used to visit the akharas (wrestling grounds) to see the dare devilry wrestling matches of his idol Hassan. Hassan’s masculinity attracts several young women including a Maharani. The Maharani takes a fascination for Hassan and recruits him as her personal bodyguard. A momentary attraction towards a woman spells doom for Hassan. After the death of Maharani, Hassan is reduced to a forgotten hero who makes his ends meet by giving wrestling lessons to young kids. In the climax, the old wrestler is found dead on the streets of Dehra. It is so disheartening that a yester year hero is reduced to poverty and anonymity in the fast paced world. This short story reminded me of Yash Raj Films’ movie – Sultan which revolves around a wrestler who bounces back after losing his glory. I personally feel that this short story should be made into a TV serial or a full length movie featuring Salman Khan as the ageing wrestler Hassan. Really nothing lasts forever in the world, not even the success and glamour.

2) The girl on the train – In the short story ‘The Eyes have it’, Ruskin Bond introduces us to two strangers on the train. The blind narrator in this story meets a girl who has boarded the train to go Saharanpur. Here the narrator strikes a joyful conversation with the lonely girl to give her company till her destination arrives. He describes about the beauty of Dehradun to her. The conversation breaks the ice between them and they form a good bond. Later the girl bids farewell to the narrator. Here the narrator is joined again by a new passenger. In the climax the narrator discovers that the young girl on the train was actually blind. What a surprising climax!! We are so blinded by our preconceptions that we fail to observe people and surroundings around us. We see the world according to our nature. Ironically the world is very different from our observation and thinking. The blind strangers reminded me of Hrithik Roshan and Yami Gautam from movie Kaabil. They played the roles of a blind couple in the movie. This short story should be adapted for a TV episode featuring Yami and Hrithik as the blind passengers on the train.

3) The Kite maker – The skies are deprived of kites flying high to touch the clouds. Today skyscrapers, buildings, Shopping malls and Industrial complexes have reduced the space for outdoor games. Today there are neither the kids flying the kites nor there is any ample space for kite flying activities. In the short story ‘The Kitemaker’, we sympathize with the melancholy of a forgotten kite maker. Mehmood, a popular kite maker of pre-independence era recounts his moments of glory when he was praised and respected by the rich Nawab and the masses of his times. He reminiscences creating a giant sized Kite for the Nawab and the thrill of launching the kite in the sky. With changing times and advent of technology, there is no time left for trivial things like kite. People have no time left for activities like kite flying.
In the end, Mehmood the kite maker breathes his last, remembering the best years of his lives and his fondness for Kite making.

4) The girl at Deoli station – ‘The night train at Deoli’ is counted as one of the best short stories written by Ruskin Bond. This short story introduced me to the nostalgic world of Ruskin Bond. Ruskin Bond has fondness for train traveling and here too the backdrop of the story is a railway station. The Deoli station is not like the crowded stations of Mumbai. It is a very melancholic station where you won’t find any crowd. Except for a station master office and a tea stall, the station doesn’t have any passengers hanging around the place. The strange thing about the Deoli station is that the trains passing through the station halt only for 10 minutes. There is neither any passenger boarding or getting down to this station. The author connects with a basket selling girl on the station. He is smitten to her innocence in the very first glance. He not only buys baskets from her, but also promises to meet her again. Ironically when he returns to meet her again at Deoli, the girl is nowhere in the sight. He enquires with the station master and tea stall owner but fails to know about her whereabouts. Whenever the train passes towards Deoli station, the author has a faint hope to bond back with the basket selling girl.

5) Ruskin Bond’s father ‘Aubrey Bond’ – Ruskin Bond has mentioned about his father ‘Aubrey Bond’ in many of his short stories including the full length novel – Looking for the rainbow: My years with Daddy. For Ruskin Bond, his father was not just a parent, but also a companion, a compassionate friend who cared for his child till the last breath of his life. When I read about Ruskin Bond’s father in the short stories and full length memoir, I had a curiosity to see the photograph of Aubrey Bond. Sadly, there is no photograph of Aubrey Bond published on web. After the divorce of Ruskin Bond’s parents, little Ruskin’s responsibility of upbringing was taken by his dad. An RAF officer by profession, Aubrey Bond took his child under his care.

A snapshot from Ruskin Bond’s memoir – Looking for the rainbow

In Delhi, little Ruskin spent the best years of his life with his father – collecting stamps, relishing on ice creams, watching cinemas and visiting historical sites. This happiness was short lived for little Ruskin. The malarial attack and jaundice took a toll on his father’s health and Ruskin was deprived of fatherly love during his childhood. In one of the short stories ‘The Vision’ Ruskin meets the ghostly form of his father who guides him even in his darkest hours. In an interview Ruskin Bond had expressed a wish that actor Shahid Kapoor resembled a bit like him and should definitely portray Ruskin in his official biopic. Hope someday if a movie is made on Ruskin Bond’s book – Looking for the rainbow I personally feel that Hollywood actors – James Mardsen, Ryan Gosling or Benedict Cumbercatch should play the role of Ruskin Bond’s father.

The girl Binya was the popular fictional character from Ruskin Bond’s short story – The Blue Umbrella

6) Rusty – Rusty is the alter-ego of Ruskin Bond, an imaginary boy sprung from the imagination of the writer. The incidents happening in the life of Rusty are based on childhood days of Ruskin Bond. ‘Room on the roof’ was the debut novel of Ruskin Bond when he was just 17 years old. Through ‘Room on the roof’, Rusty became a popular fictional character and was read and adored by readers worldwide. The Rusty series was highly popular among the young readers. Surprisingly Rusty was more popular before Harry Potter books hit the stores. Through Rusty, Ruskin Bond captured the imagination of young boys.

Room on the roof is the first book in Rusty Series

Apart from these characters, Ruskin created several unforgettable characters like Uncle Ken, Binya, Sita, Madhu, Daljit, Somi and Ranbir. Some fictional characters were based on his real life friends and some were created out of imagination. Nevertheless, these characters have succeeded to find a place in my heart. I am hoping to include some of other Ruskin Bond’s characters in my upcoming article very soon.

A town called Dehra – Memories of Ruskin Bond’s Hometown

‘The past is always with us, for it feeds the present’ – Quote from the memoir

‘A town called Dehra’ is reminiscence of a sleepy town called Dehradun where author Ruskin Bond spent his boyhood as well as adolescent days. The characters in this memoir are Ruskin Bond’s relatives, his friends, love interest and the common masses residing in Dehra. From penning the memories of his father & granny to describing the scenic beauty of Dehra, Ruskin Bond has breathed life in the sleepy town called Dehra. What is so special about this book? The pages of this memoir are filled with the rare yester year photos of Ruskin Bond’s family (granny, siblings, friends and his mother). Sadly, there is no photograph of Ruskin Bond’s father in this memoir. In every book of Ruskin, his father has been mentioned in one or other short story. Even in this book, Ruskin reminiscences his long lost father in the first chapter.

As you gaze at these photos, you will feel a personal connect to them. The pre-independent Dehra was different from the present times. Filled with flower gardens, litchi trees, ponds, valleys, Dehra was a town of the ordinary people. Very few books mention about the struggles of common people and Ruskin Bond’s books highlights the pathos of these ordinary masses. His popular short story ‘Garlands on his brow’ depicts the pain of a forgotten wrestler called Hassan. A popular wrestler Hassan succumbs to the charm of a flirtatious Maharani and what follows later is his fading charisma as a wrestler in the arena. Hassan is forgotten, ignored by his admirers and this ignorance claims the life of this unsung wrestler of Dehra. Ruskin Bond has even penned his fondness for cinema halls of Dehra in this memoir. He recounts his best days of watching movies in Odeon theatre at Dehra. Through this memoir, Ruskin Bond takes you on a trip to Dehra where you will see Dilaram Bazaar, the famous market place where Rusty and his friends relished on road side snacks. If you have read ‘The room on the roof’ and ‘Rusty Runs away’, you will be familiar with Somi and Daljit. In this memoir, Ruskin Bond has personally shared the actual photos of his friends. What captivated me to read this book was the short story ‘The last Tonga ride’ which recounts Ruskin’s fondness for Tonga rides and his friendly bonding with the Tonga driver Bansi lal.

A single reading session is not enough to savor on the nostalgic treat offered by Ruskin Bond in this memoir. This memoir is especially been written for those people who have fondness for past. If you are away from your hometown, you are sure to break in tears of joy and sadness when you read the chapters. When I was reading the chapters in this memoir, it reminded me of own hometown, my uncle’s little room, cousin brothers who pampered me with their unconditional affection. Sadly the hometown is more of a ghost town as all my relatives have departed. What remained in my mind are the sweet memories that keep playing like a re-run of a TV serial.

No matter how far and high a bird may fly, it has to return to its nest. Same is about us. We can never forget our roots, upbringing, heritage and our home. ‘A town called Dehra’ is a classic memoir that one will keep relishing with years to come.

Looking for the rainbow: My years with Daddy – A nostalgic memoir by Ruskin Bond

Novel Title – Looking for the rainbow: My years with Daddy
Author – Ruskin Bond
Year of Publication – May 2017
Genre – Fiction
Publishers – Penguin

A perfect book to read on father’s day eve, Looking for the rainbow is an emotional memoir penned by Ruskin Bond in memory of his late father –Aubrey Bond. Often we take our parents for granted, especially our father. We always see the stern and strict side of our father but never care to see the tender emotions hidden behind a stern heart. Filled with nostalgic episodes, this memoir recounts the lovable moments Ruskin Bond spent with his father in Delhi and the later year he spent in Shimla boarding school. Little Ruskin was always deprived of affection since his childhood especially when his parents split up due to differences in their nature. Since his mother got married to a new person, Ruskin’s upbringing was the responsibility of his dad Aubrey Alexander who served in RAF (Royal Air Force).

The story is set during world war and the novel begins with little Ruskin arriving to Delhi after spending a troublesome year in a hostel. Here Ruskin not only bonds with his father closely, but also learns to live life independently. The years in Delhi spent with his father are beautifully described by Ruskin Bond in this memoir. They bond over stamp collection, movies, books, travelling and food. Unfortunately the joyful days are short lived and Ruskin’s father gets sick due to Malaria. Since the world war is in full swing, Aubrey Bond decides to send Ruskin to a good boarding school in Shimla. Ruskin spends a good year in this boarding and blends well with the ambience of the school. Aubrey visits Shimla to spend a day with little Ruskin and they both plan to shift England once the war is over.

Sadly one day, Ruskin receives shattering news that his father has expired. The news is too painful to bear for this little child who is left no one to care about him. This part in the novel is very heart breaking for both the writer as well as reader. When you read that last emotional chapter you will feel how Ruskin Bond had gone through that phase when he lost his father. Ruskin had no one in this world except his father. The most tragic part in this book is the chapter where all his father’s belongings – stamps, letters are misplaced by boarding’s principal and Ruskin is left with only one letter of his dear father. The book ends with Ruskin moving back to stay back with his mother and stepdad.

The beautiful illustrations compliment the nostalgia

I would like to especially accolade illustrator Mihir Joglekar to bring out the memories alive by creating eye catching black and white illustrations which compliments the nostalgic mood. The nostalgic episodes in this book will remind you of Rusty series. The stories written on Rusty are the reflections of Ruskin Bond’s childhood moments. What a great father Aubrey Bond was!!

After reading this memoir, your eyes are sure to soak in tears for the great sacrifices that your parents made to bring you up. This memoir by Ruskin Bond is really a priceless gem that you will treasure forever.

Rusty Runs Away – A nostalgic novella by Ruskin Bond

Nestled in the vicinity of Dehra’s snow mountains is the residence of Rusty, a melancholic dreamer who aspires to live life on his own terms. Through Rusty, Author Ruskin Bond has recounted his own boyhood days in Dehra, Shimla and Mussoorie. ‘Rusty Runs away’ is story of every kid who is deprived of parental love and craves for a heartfelt tenderness. The incidents happening in the memoir – Rusty Runs Away will tug your heart and compel to go back to your boyhood days. Have you every bunked school to visit the cities, relish on street side food and watch cinema? This is one childhood fantasy every kid has craved to and fulfilled by playing rookie. I have done it countless times and got a good thrashing from my parents.

There is a ‘Rusty’ hidden in every person who wants to break free from his daily chores and hectic responsibilities. Today we are so entrapped in web of fake desires, expectations that we have stopped living the real life we aspired for. We are no less than a money earning robot. The nostalgic episodes in this book will encourage you to pursue your dreams even in the toughest times. The most interesting episode in the novel is the escape of Rusty and his friend Daljit from their boarding school – Arundel. This escape adventure takes them on interesting locations till they finally reach the sea port only to face delay. Read this to personally experience the journey that is a roller coaster ride of happiness, joy, exploration and imagination.

The other story in this memoir is the friendship between Rusty and Omar which blossoms in Shimla. Set during the backdrop of pre-independence Rusty and Omar strike a bond and enjoy the best moments of friendship – playing hockey, discovering tunnels and sharing their emotions. Like Rusty, even Omar is an orphan. The heart breaking partition tears apart their partnership and Omar has to leave India. After 18 years, Rusty receives the news that Omar has died in air crash during the Indo-Pak War of 1972. This is one of my favorite chapters in this novel. If you have disconnected from your long lost colleague then you will definitely relate to this story of Rusty and Omar.

The most nostalgic episode in this novel is the friendship of Rusty with Somi, Ranbir and Suri who help him to break free from the cage of melancholia and enjoy the life to the fullest. Rusty not only enjoys food on road side stalls, but also discovers the color of happiness by celebrating Holi with his friends. This friendship gives Rusty the courage to rebel against his tyrant guardian. Rusty not only rebels, but also thrashes his guardian black and blue, putting an end to the strict tyranny imposed on him.

‘Rusty Runs Away’ is celebration of friendship, togetherness, love, freedom and nostalgia. This memoir is one of the best works of Ruskin Bond which will touch your heart’s string. The scenic descriptions, travelogues will inspire you to take a trip to your favorite destination. As a social human being, we are so concerned about people that we suppress the ‘real person’ in us. We care about other’s opinions but never heed to the inner voice of our conscious. I hope that after reading this book – Rusty Runs Away, you will definitely look out for your inner self.