Notes from a small room – Delightful anecdotes on life by Ruskin Bond

‘I have made a small bench in the middle of this civilized wilderness…this is my favorite place. No one can find me here. Unless I call out and make my presence known’ – excerpt from the book.

The above lines reflect the emotions of person content in the secluded space he has made for himself. No matter how much crowded his social life may be, he craves for his personal space. In his latest compilations of essays – Notes from a small room, Ruskin Bond makes such observations on human nature and writes anecdotes on life, philosophy, birds, monsoon showers, wild life, books, loneliness and contentment. Today where net-savvy people search for free Wi-Fi zones, Ruskin Bond emphasizes on the importance of a window in a room. A window is a gateway to the outer world, a glimpse of the palpitating life full of energy. As a child, I used to peep out of my window to feel the rain droplets on my hands. The article on window refreshed my childhood fascination to glimpse at the outer sceneries. What would life be without a window?

Ruskin Bond recounts his childhood memories he spent with his father during his days in Delhi and Shimla boarding house. The article ‘Remember this day’ is a nostalgic glance at Ruskin Bond’s tragic moment when he lost his father at age of 10. In one of his articles, he recounts his struggling days as a writer and how he couldn’t afford to buy a typewriter. An office colleague’s monetary contribution helped Ruskin to buy a new typewriter. It was this typewriter that enabled him to write memorable books and several short stories. Though his typewriter has become too old to work, he still relishes the experience of working on his writing device. For a writer, a typewriter is really an inspiring writing device. In this book, he has emphasized on the difference between staying alone and remaining lonely. In real sense, we are all alone but the cold nature of people makes us lonely. Human being is a social animal and always craves for company of friends. He becomes aloof when he is not accepted by people in the group due to various factors – nature, religion, status etc. The article on loneliness by Ruskin Bond will change your conception towards life and enable you to accept solitude with a refreshing change.

What personally captivated me to read the book was getting familiar about the different types of birds in mountain side and city. The birds from the city are different from the birds staying in jungle.

‘It’s is the simple things that keeps us from going crazy’ – Ruskin Bond

Though we capture so many things on our smartphones, we fail to notice the beautiful things in the surroundings. The dew drops on the grass, the smell of earth after the first rain and the refreshing view of mountains from window are beautiful views of nature that we miss every day. Shut off your mobile for a while to discover the true beauty of Mother Nature that brings you closer to a life full of happiness. Travel, give a surprise visit to your friends, eat on the local food-stalls and watch a movie in a single screen cinema hall. These are things that keep you alive. We have become so much absorbed in our mobile and tablet screens that we have forgot to live our life to the fullest. ‘Notes from a small room’ is the book for those who want to embrace happiness with their open arms.

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Till the clouds roll by – A delightful memoir by Ruskin Bond

Book Title: Till the clouds roll by – Beginning again
Author – Ruskin Bond
Publishers – Puffin Books (Penguin Publications)

‘Most of us grow in our teens or twenties. I think I grew up when I was ten’ – Ruskin Bond

The visual of a puffing train running in the midst of mountains is such a delightful treat to the eyes. Memoirs with scenic descriptions of mountain trains, lichee trees, birds, tigers and hill side life can be found only in Ruskin Bond’s books. In his new memoir – ‘Till the clouds roll by’ Ruskin takes readers backwards in yester years Dehradun. In this latest memoir, Ruskin recounts the holidays he spent with his mother, stepfather, siblings and new friends in Dehra.

The opening scene of this memoir begins with a puffing train heading to Dehra. Seated in this train is little Ruskin reminiscing his departed father, the stamp collection and the joyful days spent in Delhi. After reaching Dehra, Ruskin has to adjust with his estranged mother, a new Punjabi father and step siblings. Here little Ruskin discovers books of P.G. Wodehouse, Louisa May Alcott and many new authors who would inspire him to become a celebrated writer in later years. In this short holiday to Dehra, little Ruskin goes on hunting expeditions, encounters a leopard, makes new acquaintances, watches cinema and explores the sleepy town of Dehra which would be described later in several of his memoirs, novels and short stories.

This short illustrated memoir by Ruskin Bond is a must read book for those who cherish nostalgia. Illustrator Mihir Joglekar has breathed life in storytelling with the lively pictures which makes the book an engrossing read for kids. ‘Till the clouds roll by’ is the sequel to Ruskin Bond’s book – Looking for the rainbow which was a tribute to his late father – Aubrey Bond.

If you love memoirs, ‘Till the clouds roll by’ by Ruskin Bond is definitely a treat.

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.

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.