One of my friends had visited Mussoorie few months back. I had informed him that, if he visits book stores there he might see Ruskin Bond obliging the book buyers. I came to this fact, when I had read his book Roads to Mussoorie, about which I wrote here. When he came back and handed over me the book The Room of Many Colours, which was autographed by none other than Ruskin Bond, I was pleasantly surprised. This blog is not a review of that book, but just a collection of my thoughts about it, the author, which came to my mind when I was reading it and a bit of introduction.
This book is a collection of his short stories. This was published in the past as A Treasury of Stories for Children. Now that title takes a form of second title of the book, which has 2 more stories added to it. Ruskin Bond is a ferocious writer, as the first page of the book, says, he has written over 500 short stories and articles. The introduction pages by Ruskin Bond, traces how he developed love for books, by narrating 3 days of marathon reading, in the forest, where he discovered a book shelf of over 50 books, while accompanying his stepfather on hunting trip. I have been always been fascinated about books/articles/speeches about books themselves.
Though the books title calls it as a treasure of stories for children, the book is mainly contains articles which are recollection of author’s childhood days. Many of them funny, and some of them very touchy. For example, the last story(or article, you want to call it as), titled ‘The Big Race’ describes, race of beetle bugs, which he, as a child, played with his friends, and how he and his beetle named Maharani won the race. The other titled ‘Remember This Day’ is a recollection of his memories in school of Shimla, and his day out in Shimla, when his father visited him. The touchy part is when you learn that it was this day when he saw his father last time. Reading these stories which happen in Shimla, I recollected my recent visit to Shimla and the surrounding region recently, which I have written about here. The story from which this collection gets its title from, The Room of Many Colours, is longest story, in the book.
I enjoyed this Ruskin Bond book. It is amazing to see how he recollects his childhood memories, and how vividly and lucidly writes about them. His loves towards books, Himalaya, places where he stayed, people he met, can be seen through the pages. This was my second so far, and looking for more of him now. My favorite line is one in the introduction pages. It goes, ‘Most of our living has to happen in the mind. And to quote one anonymous sage from my Trivet: “The world is only the size of each man’s head.”‘
PS: You may be interested in Rusty and I book by Swapan Banerjee about which I have written on this blog.