Ruskin Bond was my go-to author when I planned of choosing the last book for 2019. I read two of his books, this memoir and words from my window book which is a journal cum memoir of Bond’s life. The beauty of all my days is a memoir divided into various chapters and each chapter remembers his past. Each chapter attempts to relive days of glory, days of struggle, days of happenings and days of disappointments.
“Each chapter is a reflection on the unpredictability of life. Some paths lead nowhere; others lead to a spring of pure water. Take any path and hope for the best. At least it will lead out of the shadows.”Ruskin Bond in The beauty of all my days
About the author
Born in Kasauli (Himachal Pradesh) in 1934, Ruskin Bond grew up in Jamnagar (Gujarat), Dehradun, New Delhi and Simla. His first novel, The Room on the Roof, written when he was seventeen, received the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize in 1957. Since then he has written over 500 short stories, essays and novellas (including Vagrants in the Valley and A Flight of Pigeons) and more than forty books for children. He received the Sahitya Akademi Award for English writing in India in 1993, the Padma Shri in 1999, and the Delhi government’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.
He lives in Landour, Mussoorie, with his extended family.
Also Read: A little post on Ruskin Bond
Memories and reflections of Ruskin Bond
The book contains random events from Bond’s life and also photographs from his youth, from his landour home and with Priyanka Chopra when he did a cameo in saat khoon maaf, directed by Vishal Bharadwaj and based on Bond’s story. Ruskin Bond has a constant urge to find a space for himself. Being a writer, he seeks a place of his own, rather small where he can be at peace, read and write. Ruskin always searches for a small corner of his own, whether in her mother and step-father’s house or in his boarding school.
Bond also discusses about the struggles he had as a writer. He used to send his works to numerous publications and while most of them were returned to him, there were a few that were accepted and they were enough for his survival. Ruskin Bond once got a 50 Rs. check for his work and it was a big reward. He needed little money anyways, to eat food, to regularly watch movies and yes, buy books. These were met by his writing.
Also Read: Room on the roof by Ruskin Bond
Bond went to London for a small stint and stayed in Jersey and London. He missed India badly and as soon as he got a paycheck for his work, he booked a ticket back to India. The beauty of this book does not lie in the chronology of events, it lies in the inherent meaning that various events from his life hold for him.
This memoir celebrates the various events in Bond’s life that have defined him as a person, the circumstances and people who made him one of the most loved authors of India.
“Had I grown up in London or Timbuktu, I would have been a different person, I’m sure. My parents (and those before them) made me. The soil, the air, the wind, the rain, the trees, the grass, the proximity of people-all these things made me….”Ruskin Bond in The beauty of all my days
I had talked about Ruskin Bond’s writing and guessed that he does not want to discuss politics because he wants to discuss the human emotions instead of listing out events in a chronology. He confirms this guess of mine in the last chapter of the book. He chose to write about simple things; relationships between people, of friendship, love and parenthood. He lives nature through his words, he writes about pari tibba, the flowers that bloom in Mussorie and the ways up to Landour.
Though I know most of the things from Ruskin Bond’s life, it is such a pleasure to read some new things about those things. To know about his friends, Rnabir, Somi, Ranjeet, Ms Kellner, his aunt and everybody else.
“Another question that is sometimes put to me: “Haven’t you ever thought of living in another country- of settling down somwhere else?
Destiny, or the Great librarian, brought me to this hilltop; Mother Hill near Mother Ganga, and here I have spent my best days and done my best work. And here I stay, until I have written my last word.”Ruskin Bond in The beauty of all my days
And this was the reason I chose to end 2019 by reading him.
What did you read as your last book for 2019?
Wishing you all a happy 2019 once again!