I am already on my third blog.
I am getting to be quite a prolific blogger now. Which surprises me. It took me three months to get the better of procrastination and here I am writing my third blog in less than three days! Not bad at all!
The great tennis player John McEnroe once said 'I'll let the racket do the talking'. Taking a leaf out of his book, I'll let my blog do all the talking!
I have been choosing diverse topics for my blog. You see, "Change" is the buzzword these days. Infact, Barack Obama made "Change" the Numero Uno word for the year 2008 and he has yet to become the official President of the US of A. Hence, even though officially 'Change' is yet to replace yet another word, rather alphabet 'W' (Dubyaman still rules), "Change has come to America" to quote Obama again. To quote the celebrated actor, director, environmentalist and Hollywood Icon Robert Redford, "Change is in the air. Change is, of course, inevitable. It could bring good times. It could bring bad times."
We all know, America is the sole super-power. Therefore, I conclude that even I have been bitten by the "Change" bug! Its no longer 'its easy to catch a cold', rather 'its easy to change!'
I have chosen to write about Bond in this blog. No... not James Bond. This is the other bond, Ruskin Bond, and he is quite famous in his own right. Yes Sir, he is! Well, in the same breath, Yes Madam, he is! I am all for equal opportunity/affirmative action!
Infact, I will write about his book published last year - 'Book of Humour'. It is a book I can read over and over again. And... so can you.
I think it was published in January/February 2008 and like a true blue fan, I immediately hot-footed it to the nearest book-store to grab a copy. Talk about exercising the mind and body together or should I say 'multi-tasking?!' Or even 'Time management!'
Ruskin Bond was born in Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh, in 1934, and grew up in Jamnagar (Gujarat), Dehradun and Shimla. In course of a writing career spanning forty years, he has written over a hundred short stories, essays, novels and more than thirty books for children. He has also published two volumes of autobiography, 'Scenes from a Writer's Life', which describes his formative years growing up as an Anglo-Indian in India. His first novel 'Room on the Roof', written when he was only seventeen, received the "John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize" in 1957. Quite an achievement for a teenager! 'Vagrants In The Valley' was also written in his teens and it picked up from where 'The Room On The Roof' left off.
He received the "Sahitya Akademi" award for his publications in English in India and was awarded the "Padma Shree" in 1999.
Ruskin Bond is one of my favourite authors. His work is published by Penguin Books India. It is common knowledge that it is every authors dream to have their work published by Penguin.
He is one of the greatest storyteller/writer and I do not mean in the Indian context only. I feel, he has not got his due. Generation after generation of people have grown up and continue to grow up and still read his books. There is an invisible 'bond' between him and his readers. He is quite a poet too. I would say, he is our resident "Robert Frost" or "William Wordsworth" in prose.
His 'Book of humour' is actually divided into 5 parts/sections, all of them inter-woven with the narrative. He is not named 'Bond' for nothing!
'Crazy Relatives,' 'Crazy Creatures,' 'Crazy Places,' 'Crazy People' and 'Crazy Writer' are these five sections.
Playful tigers, elephants, crows, ghosts and old favorites like Uncle Ken, Miss Bun, the author's slightly eccentric grandfather and Bond himself weave in and out of the pages of this wildly eclectic, thoroughly delightful and absolutely irresistible book.
Uncle Ken is quite a character. He leads a charmed life and has no worries about earning a living. Having been blessed with several doting sisters, he is a frequent unannounced 'guest' at the author's grandmother's place too. That way, he never quite has to earn his keep either! The author's grandmother nevertheless is concerned about his future and tries to get him some job every now and then. Quite easy ones at that. But, Uncle Ken manages to 'lose' them all with such alacrity that everyone seems to have given up on him as being a 'fool'.
But is he really?
The author's slightly eccentric grandfather cannot be missed either. With his penchant for 'collecting pets' of all shapes and sizes, hiding them away from the ever-watchful eyes of the author's granny. He is another enduring character. Ruskin Bond must have had a very interesting time growing up in the hills, moving from one adventure to another surrounded by these 'characters' and much more. Most of us would have gladly exchanged places with him.
Marked by the signature charm and underplayed humour of one of India's best loved writers, Ruskin Bond's 'Book of Humour' succeeds in making even the hardened among us crack a smile. A delectable offering from a writer who not only knows how to make us laugh but also knows how to laugh at himself. The reader will have a gentle smile that will never cease all through the book and will linger on ones lips even after the last page has been read.
Bond's subtle wit weaves its magic again!
I am now looking forward to reading 'Ruskin Bond's Book of Nature'.
Photograph: The cover page of Ruskin Bond's 'Book of Humour'.