When the mercury in Bumm-Bumm-Bhole-Land dips to 23 degree Celcius, and there is a chill wind blowing down, coming right from the mountains far, far away, it’s a good time to go back to Ruskin Bond.
It’s a good time to go back to Ruskin Bond’s writing when it is hot, when it is raining, days when the news is that much more strident than usual, days when the traffic exhausts you, days when you exhaust yourself, days full of too much, days full of nothing.
His work does not scream out to you, allure you, but remains there, in the background, like an old friend, who you may ignore for most of the year, but who will always, always be there, when you call.
Last year I wrote little, overwhelmed by unfolding events, life in general, the stress around completing KAPHAL. There was a lot I wanted to say, but could not, and so what I could say, became insignificant. I was also confused about being funny, being heard, being relevant.
This year I came back to writing simply because … Reading Bond’s notes on writing, how he writes, why he writes, reaffirms a love of simplicity and just the pure love of writing, because …
For today, from ‘The India I Love‘,
“.. I prefer walking alone to walking with others. That ladybird on the wild rose would escape my attention if I was engaged in a lively conversation with a companion. Not that the ladybird is going to change my life. But by acknowledging it’s presence, stopping to admire its beauty, I have paid obeisance to the natural scheme of things of which I am only a small part.
It is upon a person’s power of holding fast to such undimmed beauty that his or her inner hopefulness depends. As we journey through the world, we must inevitably encounter meanness and selfishness. As we fight for our survival, the higher visions and ideals often fade. It is then that we need ladybirds! Contemplating that tiny creature, or the flower on which it rests, gives one the hope – better, the certainty – that there is more to life than interest rates, dividends, market forces, and infinite technology.”
And here is Ruskin Bond, at his window, at my window, looking out at the mountains and the river and the rain, and the pink lilies in my pots, and the buildings outside, and the smog.