I am avid trekker-been trekking in Sahyadris for more than 10-12 years now(though, off late, not much of that). I know I have not written much about that on this blog. But on that sometime later. Since long, I have been dreaming of trekking in Himalayas. I have been envying folks who kept telling me on their bit of Himalayan odyssey while some others also have gone to extent of undergoing basic mountaineering course at Pahalgam. Even my parents have traveled to Rishikesh, Haridwar, Badrinath on couple of occasions, of course, for pilgrimage. I also had a bit my Himalayas when I had visited Kashmir region few years back, but again that was not trekking. This year, I was seriously thinking of Himalayas, but looks like it is not going to happen as we have planned a leisure trip of Shimla/Manali.
Incidentally, I got hold of Ruskin Bond’s book ‘Roads to Mussoorie’ from my book shelf which was sitting there to be read. I had bought this one last year. With Himalayan treks at the backdrop of my mind, I decided to read it. I distinctly remember his article on Mussoorie in ‘Outlook Traveler Getaways: 75 Holidays in Hills’. Anglo-Indian nature lovers such as Jim Corbette, Ruskin Bond, Rudyard Kipling have produced impressive literary works based on nature, wildlife, mountains, people of Himalayas. All of them have been living in northern part of India, especially, near Himalayan range. They have explored northern India in different ways. I have not read any of that until now. Of course, we all know about Rudyard Kipling’s work Jungle Book because of a very popular TV serial few decades back.
As the rear blurb of the book says it is memorable evocation of a writer’s surroundings and the role they have played in his work and life. Mussoorie has been his home for more than 40 years now. This short book contains articles written in humorous style about various journey’s he took to and fro this place, people he met, places he trekked to. The humor starts right from the page one. Instead of staring with Foreward as it is usually for a book, he starts with a Backward and ends with a Foreward. It is kind of down the memory lane kinda book, may be some form of autobiographical as well, as it does talk of certain childhood memories, though although as the preface of the book says that he has written about his life and family in the book ‘The India I Love’ and other books. It also talks of people he met on the way including pilgrims and various holy places(I remember )
Some articles which I liked the most are ones where he writes about his encounter with bears, with ghosts, and the article where he talks of his memories of cinemas in those days. It also has an article wherein it refers to an interesting historical fact about postal mail runners which postal department had before the advent of transport of postal mails by road or rail. The book has furthered my wish to visit Himalayan range, especially, for trekking. And also generated interest in his other books.