Ruskin Bond means a piece of open sky.
Ruskin Bond means stars gazing at you- their lights twinkling, smiling at you.
Ruskin Bond means bells chiming at a distant castle- only you can hear the sound, faint but melodious.
Ruskin Bond means long forgotten childhood of you and me.
When I read him- I don’t know why- smiling face of a man signing autographs on Mussoorie Cambridge Book Depot crosses my mind-surprisingly, the face of the man is like Santa. His writing always reminds me-that I, too had a childhood!
His writing is well of happiness- like the protagonist of his story who searched for well of life. The difference is after getting the well of life-the world deserted the man and the man still roams round , even today cursing his life and begging the blessing of death- and after finding this well of happiness- you will be ….happy.
Just like the African boy who for the first time experienced ice…..and said-‘ice is like….ice.’
The Wise Parrot by Ruskin Bond is a collection of fables and stories and epics and legends… from far and across lands- where all the continents of the world is unified- as if this is an Olympic of storytelling. Most of the stories are ancient and still alive. Some tell us the lessons of life; some tell us about the wonderful journey called life. There is fantastic creatures- wise birds- green man- giant birds- wise prince-kind and noble animals-and the gods and goddess……my pen will be exhausted but not the stock of stories.
There are twenty stories in the book-a good number are from India. Jivaks-the Boy Wonder tells us the story of a prince-who in spite of being the rightful owner of the throne- went on to be the greatest physician of his time- and still is remembered for his contribution to medical science. It teaches us the great teaching of Maitrryee
-‘what will I do with the wealth if it cannot give me the immortality?”The Friendship of Heera and Lal is a folklore depicting the story of two close friends-where the eternal triangle comes into play tobreaktheir friendship. The cow of plenty is a story taken from Mahabharata where the tussle between sage Vasistha and King Viswamitra has been narrated wonderfully-over the ownership of the cow Surabhi-the cow of plenty.
Now this may raise the eyebrow of many- that why I have specially mentioned this three stories, especially when there are twenty attractive stories. These stories are relatively well known to Indian readers- but in hand of Ruskin Bond our very known stories has taken a new flavor. Let us take this action sequence from the story The Friendship of Heera and Lal
‘At first the princess treated him with great kindness, but later when she was alone with Lal, a sudden change came over her. She began foaming at the mouth and tearing her hair. She rolled on the ground, and writhed and screamed. Heena rushed into the room. At the same time the exhausted princess fell into a deep coma, and, as she lay unconscious, her left thigh burst open, and a terrible black snake emerged from it.
The snake darted towards Heera with a great hiss, its forked tongue darting in and out. But Lal drew his sword and cut off, the snake’s head with a single blow.’
I don’t have audacity to discuss the literary skill of Ruskin Bond- readers are being left with that task. What can I say that I have enjoyed the stories thoroughly- from top to bottom, from middle to end.
These stories present to us the essence of human spirit. Let us for example take the’ The Green Man of Sinai’ . This is an old Egyptian tale. There are mention of imaginary creatures-creatures that only exist in the dream of human- there are spirit- there are unnatural events- but above all the story is a mirror reflection of the human nature. Who can forget Sindbad the sailor who travelled strange lands for the sake of saving the life of his near and dear ones- and came out victorious-as he was always for the truth.
Stories from the anthology are different from other collections of similar nature as this anthology has stories which in addition to traditional sheen and imagination have something to whisper in reader’s ears. From love to hate, from wisdom to idiocy, from revenge to sacrifice- all aura of human emotions have been touched.
It is night now. It is full moon day today. Soon the baby will ask mother-‘mother, tell me the story.’
May be in war hit Kabul, may be in drought hit Ethiopia…..
And she will start………
It happened through the ages, and will continue through the ages……
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Other information of the book
• Paperback: 151 pages
• Publisher: Rupa Publications India; 1 edition (23 May 2017)
• Language: English
• ISBN-10: 8129146487
• ISBN-13: 978-8129146489
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