Saturday, July 9, 2016

RUPA PUBLICATIONS: My Favourite Nature Stories by Ruskin Bond

Title: My Favourite Nature Stories
Author: Ruskin Bond
Price: INR 195
Genre: Non-Fiction
ISBN: 978-81-291-3768-5

The sure worst part of the book was that it eventually got over. Each word devoured and each page gulped. I am still in denial and start re-reading every now and then, and yes, coming back to it is one of the best feelings ever.

Brought out by Rupa Publications on the occasion of the author’s 82nd birthday, this wonder of a book is a beauteous collection of 21 nature and daily life inspired pieces of prose by Ruskin Bond. To explicate why I refer to it as wonder of book, may I point that it had I, a self-proclaimed, hard hearted detractor of non-fiction genres, loving each of its stories and longing for more… and yet more.

Each of the stories is short, more like a compilation of penned down thoughts at different points in time during the author’s long association with the mountains and of brief periods away from them. The stories are straight from the heart pieces and the narrative is so real that as one reads them, one can totally imagine oneself as actually being in the place and situation described.  

From trees to insects to a walnut thief grandmother to the ancient wells of old Delhi to birds that sang and flowers that bloomed and snakes that didn’t kill to what humans are doing to the mountains to the tube train journey that could remind the author of mountain bears making away with ripe pumpkins, the book takes the reader though a variety of topics and places. And suddenly, somewhere in between the text, when you least expect, a funny line or two crops up. For instance, in the context of sweltering heat of the dusty lanes of Old Delhi, the reader gets to sample this:
“Shopkeepers nod drowsily beneath whirring ceiling fans. The pavement barber has taken his customer into the shelter of an awning. A fortune teller has decided there is nothing to predict and has fallen asleep under the same awning.”

There are some important lessons for us humans as well, case in point:
“While the green-backs took their plunge, the red-heads waited patiently on the moss covered rocks. I thought they showed more discipline than a crowd of people at a city water-tap.”

And some food for thought, like:
“For every time I see the sky, I am aware of belonging to the universe rather than to just one corner of the earth.”

The book also talks of how simple things like sweeping the verandah or meeting the river or the sound of some insects could be of importance and a source of happiness.

All in all, a very satisfying experience reading the book. A must read for all who’ve been to the mountains and cherish the calm inspired mountain life.

Although, I would request the publishers to get the book proofread as there are a few errors here and there, I would like to thank them for their praiseworthy endeavour in bringing out this book.