Saturday, October 25, 2008

Name's Bond...Ruskin Bond

I really like Ruskin Bond's writing. He has that simple way of writing things with such infectious enthusiasm that you end up reading with a little smile playing on your face - from what he's written and as you picturize this perky old hill man sitting around a campfire regaling you with the story in his own enthusiastic manner.

I'm reading 'Tales from the Open Road' by him right now and I wonder how one can put in the essence of a scene so completely and well without resorting to long winded adjectives and complicated words. This is coming from the way I write. I just get this urge to use a word whose meaning is exactly what I want it to be, however complex the word may be. A few people may even think that it is some sort of deliberate ploy to use big words to showcase my vocabulary, but its not true. I just get the urge that the word has to mean exactly what I want to say. I've read that some famous author (I forget his/her name)sometimes took an entire day thinking of which word to use and would be a satisfied person if he added one word to his manuscript in the day. Fortunately my affliction is not so serious or I would still be writing my first post here!

Courtesy: Wikipedia

But Mr. Bond writes in very simple words. But the words and the imagery they conjure up are so strong and retentive that even years later I tend to recognize phrases and whole paragraphs of his writing. For instance, in this book itself Mr. Bond has reused swathes of writing from his other works (Room on the Roof, Rusty etc.). This book is essentially a travelogue in which he tells us about his walks around the hills and (sometimes though rarely)plains of North India. And I could remember them almost word to word from when I had read these other books years ago. Thats the the retainability any author would love to have.

Another thing about him is that I totally understand why the man leads a simple life in Mussourie (I always thought he lived in Dehradun, but the great Wikipedia says its Mussourie - so Mussourie it is) inspite of being a celebrated author. He gets sheer bliss from the simple things in life - the morning sweet milky tea at a chai wala in foggy winters (can you just visualize a curving path with trees on both sides with drifting fog floating across a kaccha path as you sit on a road milestone in your sweaters and muffler sipping sweet tea as the chai wala primes his kerosene stove? I can), sighting a rare bird, meeting his old friend and nature loving banker, long lonely contemplative walks amongst forests, the genuine joy at meeting simple folks and listening to their tales, the excitement of children running away from school to go sailing in ships and glaciers. All these joys find there way into his writing. And because there is a person, away from the machinations and norms of society, who actually craves for these simple joys (and not for cars and houses and status and external respect)his stories resonate with us. Long after we've read them.

Simplicity is Joy.


deepti said...

Touche. This piece does bring a smile to my face :)

Rathin said...

Mussoorie it is. Wiki is right yet again.

Swapnil said...

Deepti: :)

Rathin: Yeah, yeah Wiki is the new encyclopedia