Quintessentially Indian Ruskin Bond: Top 5 Must-Read Books by the Beloved Author

The literary community celebrated Ruskin Bond’s 90th birthday yesterday. Ruskin Bond is a household name because to his endearing tales of charming Indian hill villages. His animal and human characters have enthralled readers for decades, providing a window into a more straightforward, tranquil existence. Here are 5 of Ruskin Bond’s must-read books, whether you’re new to his writing or want to reread some of his classics.

1. The Room on the Roof

The Room on the Roof

The  poignant coming-of-age tale “The Room on the Roof,” Ruskin Bond’s debut novel, earned him the 1957 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize. The book is about a 17 year old Anglo-Indian Rusty, who flees from his controlling guardian and discovers camaraderie, adventure, and a feeling of belonging in the Indian bazaar. With unparalleled compassion, this semi-autobiographical piece captures the spirit of youth and self-discovery.

2. A Flight of Pigeons

Set against the backdrop of the Indian Rebellion of 1857, “A Flight of Pigeons” is a compelling historical novella that blends fiction with real events. The story follows Ruth Labadoor, a young British girl who witnesses her father’s murder and is subsequently taken in by a Pathan family. Bond’s nuanced narrative explores themes of cultural conflict, humanity, and survival, making it a gripping and emotional read.

3. The Blue Umbrella

“The Blue Umbrella” is a delightful novel that has established itself as a classic in Indian children’s literature. It narrates the tale of Binya, a little kid who lives in a little Himachal Pradesh village. She exchanges her auspicious leopard claw jewellery for a stunning blue umbrella that quickly becomes her the talk of the community. This is a touching narrative about generosity, envy, and redemption because of Bond’s tremendous insight of human nature and his straightforward yet profound storytelling.

4. Ruskin Bond’s Book of Nature

“Ruskin Bond’s Book of Nature” is a lovely compilation of writings that bear testament to Bond’s enduring passion for the natural world. He shares his views and observations on the flora and wildlife as he guides readers through India’s rivers, mountains, and forests through these writings. This book showcases Bond’s lyrical style and his ability to discover beauty in the ordinary. It is the ideal combination of autobiographical and nature writing.

5. Delhi Is Not Far

In “Delhi Is Not Far,” Bond uses the perspective of Arun, a struggling writer who resides in the made-up town of Pipalnagar, to tell the tale of small-town India. The book offers a moving tour of hopes, goals, and the bittersweet reality of small-town life. This is an engaging novel to read because of Bond’s empathy for his characters and his ability to capture the essence of the human experience.

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