Nov 8, 2011

There was a skeleton in the closet....

Ruskin one of my most fav authors. Over the years, I've found myself absorbed, enamoured and intrigued with his words. I've tried to pinpoint the reasons why his words work on me, the way they pin magic. But I've never come up with any other reason than... Simplicity. Its really hard to explain to non-bond readers, the allure of Bond. There is something magical about his writing. Its possible that his narrations speak to the desire for "the Simple Life" lying deep within me. Kipling used to say (something to the effect of) "Once you breathe in Himalayan hills, you are drawn back to them, to visit, to live or at least to die..." Being bitten by the Himalayan bug, I'm a living testament of the calling. Bond's words make the wait easier to bear. That's possibly why, I find myself turning to Bond whenever I'm in emotional turmoil.

Secrets by Ruskin Bond is a collection of stories in the familial setting. Sleepy little towns by Himalayan foothills during his teen years, during n around WWII. The people, the times n events that are non-events...all in a town which will be lost in the flow of time, soon enough. The stories remind us that no matter how small n non-eventful the life in these towns is, there is ALWAYS something special, something hidden around the corners...something SECRETIVE.

True to his style, the stories in "Secrets" are simple, spoken in first person, through eyes of a teenage Bond. What's refreshing is that even though these have all Classic Bond flourish to them, they offer you a side of Bond that you probably hadn't seen before. The side that speaks to you of a young chap who fancies himself to be a sleuth. The one who wishes to solve mysteries, become famous n the one who makes friends with tiger-chasing shikaris and cold-blooded.murderers....

Stories that are set around the Green's Hotel reminds me of the little visit I had to the hotel Padmini Nivas  in Musoorie on a fog filled afternoon some years back. Reminds me of sleepy towns, a peaceful life and unharried pace in everything. Even with the little twist that exists at the end of each tale, the beauty of Bond's words lies in the fact that they manage to bring in the nostalgia of those serene days I spent in Dehra n Musoorie during Monsoon of 2007-08. Like all of his stories, people form the center points. People he met, their interactions, behaviour and situations that were shared. These facts along with Bond's uncanny way of portrail of these people make you feel like a part of the stories....whether it is the protagonist from "Gracie" or Mrs. Gamla with her noisy peke dog in "The Canal", Ruskin Bond's words make you a part of the story. Its this ability of Mr. Bond that truly makes him a joy to read.

For those who have read Ruskin Bond before, this one will offer a fresh nostalgia while those of you who are yet to experience the Bond phenomenon, Secrets will open the door to a new world of writing. I will recommend Secrets to ALL who wish to take a break from hectic lives and walk through the misty lanes of long gone towns of Dehra, Musoorie n even Simla.

In the introduction to Secrets, Mr. Bond says he's a writer without regrets. Sixty years of writing for the sheer joy of it-- and making a living from it too. What an adventure it has been.
Well, I'm sure I speak for ALL of his readers when I say...It has been a wonderful adventure for all of us too. We hope to read, hear and see more from this deceptively effortless author in near and far future. Long live Mr. Bond.

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