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90 Years of Magic: Celebrating the Best of Ruskin Bond

As we celebrate the 90th birthday of our favorite author, Ruskin Bond, we reflect on the timeless charm and gentle wisdom his stories have brought into our lives. From the misty hills of Mussoorie to the vibrant characters that leap off his pages, his tales have touched readers’ hearts for generations. Join us in honoring this literary legend with a look at some of his most cherished works.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Bond!

Hold On to Your Dreams
Hold On to Your Dreams || Ruskin Bond

On the eve of his ninetieth birthday, literary legend Ruskin Bond brings to readers a heartfelt letter capturing his most cherished memories and experiences. Penning his thoughts with sincerity and grace, the writer reflects upon love, loss, friendship, frailties, solitude and companionship—the bittersweet experience of human existence.

Reminiscing tales of his boyhood and youth, the author urges us to learn from mistakes, embrace empathy and hold on to our dreams through life’s vicissitudes. Complemented with poignant art, this book is a timeless collection of learnings on the journey called life.

 

All-Time Favourite Nature Stories
All-Time Favourite Nature Stories || Ruskin Bond

‘I am lucky to be up here on this mountain, where the wind still hums in the deodars, the horse chestnuts fall in the autumn and the flycatchers flit among the ancient oaks.’

ALL-TIME FAVOURITE NATURE STORIES is a collection of twenty-five soulful and timeless tales about nature, featuring endearing characters and stunning illustrations.

From ‘The Cherry Tree’ to ‘Grandfather’s Feathered Foes’, each story is replete with a different sensorial experience-rustling leaves, still forests, burbling streams, chirping birds, picturesque landscapes and so much more!

Curated by Ruskin Bond, this book celebrates the magnificence of nature and his deep, abiding love for it.

 

Looking for the Rainbow
Looking for the Rainbow || Ruskin Bond

At age eight, Ruskin escapes his jail-like boarding school in the hills and goes to live with his father in Delhi. His time in the capital is filled with books, visits to the cinema, music and walks and conversations with his father-a dream life for a curious and wildly imaginative boy, which turns tragic all too soon.

For years, Ruskin Bond has regaled and mesmerized readers with his tales. In Looking for the Rainbow, Bond travels to his own past, recalling his favourite adventures (and misadventures) with extraordinary charm, splotches of wit, a pinch of poignance and not a trace of bitterness.

What you’re holding, dear reader, is a classic in the making.

 

The Cherry Tree
The Cherry Tree || Ruskin Bond

Rakesh plants a cherry seedling in his garden and watches it grow. As seasons go by, the small tree survives heavy monsoon showers, a hungry goat that eats most of the leaves and a grass cutter who splits it into two with one sweep. At last, on his ninth birthday, Rakesh is rewarded with a miraculous sight-the first pink blossoms of his precious cherry tree!

 

The Room On The Roof
The Room On The Roof || Ruskin Bond

Rusty, a sixteen-year-old Anglo-Indian boy, is orphaned and has to live with his English guardian in the claustrophobic European part in Dehra Dun. Unhappy with the strict ways of his guardian, Rusty runs away from home to live with his Indian friends. Plunging for the first time into the dream-bright world of the bazaar, Hindu festivals and other aspects of Indian life, Rusty is enchanted … and is lost forever to the prim proprieties of the European community.
Written when the author was himself seventeen, this moving story of love and friendship, with a new introduction and illustrations will be enjoyed by a whole new generation of readers.

 

Collected Short Stories
Collected Short Stories || Ruskin Bond

Ruskin Bond wrote his first short story, ‘Untouchable’, at the age of sixteen, and has written memorable fiction ever since. He is famous not only for his love of the hills, but for imbuing the countryside with life and vibrancy through moving descriptions. The simple people who inhabit his stories evoke sympathy and laughter in equal measure. This wonderful collection of seventy stories, including classics like ‘A Face in Dark’, ‘The Kitemaker’, ‘The Tunnel’, ‘The Room of Many Colours’, ‘Dust on the Mountain’ and ‘Times Stops at Shamli’, is a must-have for any bookshelf.

 

The Night Train At Deoli And Other Stories
The Night Train At Deoli And Other Stories || Ruskin Bond

The Night Train at Deoli and Other Stories is adorned with 30 most beautiful stories from Ruskin Bond. It effortlessly makes in to the must-have, must-read list of every reader. Simple, heart-warming and thought-provoking stories will take you to heavenly grounds of Dehradun and Mussoorie, where the author himself has spent his childhood and teenage years. The stories in the book speak of simple folk, who live in the technology untouched valleys and hills, the lush greenery and little crowded markets.

The book is sure to feel you connected with the Ruskin Bond’s idea of beauty, his anguish, joy and pain. His ‘Night Train at Deoli’ offers you a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life and fills you with serenity as you learn about the beauty in simplest pleasures. A book filled with small doses of heart melting stories-a book that’s loved, admired, recommended and treasured by many.

The Best Of Ruskin Bond
The Best Of Ruskin Bond || Ruskin Bond

The weekends of Ruskin Bond fans just became even more exciting:
Are you a fan of Ruskin Bond? Have you been trying to compile his best works and read them along? If yes, then The Best of Ruskin Bond is the perfect solution for you. These exemplary stories from the legendary author are here for the taking, all compiled in a single book and provided with some of the best excerpts ever written. This consolidated volume brings together selected prose and poetries that have been written by the award winning author, Ruskin Bond. During his entire career, he has captivated readers across the world with his writing talent.

Experience the best of four decades of Ruskin Bond’s career in one book:
Over four decades of writing, this book consists of some of his best work to date. Backed by an endearing collection of essays, beautiful excerpts from different stories, serene poems and short stories, this book finds a way to create a unique literary landscape. And what could be a better to spend your leisure time by?

This anthology is here to stay:
Grab hold of this consolidated anthology which has selections from all of Ruskin’s major books and includes his classic novel Delhi Is Not Far. With many more beautiful stories to read from, this book is a one stop solution for all Ruskin Bond fans. Readers in general will get drawn towards his simple writing style which is articulate in nature and focuses on the significant details.

 

The Little Book of Comfort
The Little Book of Comfort || Ruskin Bond

So, do you wish to go out into the night, walke up the hill, discover new things about the night and yourself, and come home refreshed? For just as the night has the moon and the stars, so the darkness of the soul can be lit up by small fireflies – such as these calm and comforting thoughts that Ruskin Bond has jotted down for you in The Little Book of Comfort. This book will give you an opportunity to discover yourself in this post-pandemic world to become more thoughtful and to discover the art of slowing down.

 

Delhi Is Not Far
Delhi Is Not Far || Ruskin Bond

The residents of Pipalnagar, a dull and dusty small town, hope to one day leave behind their humdrum lives for the thrills of Delhi. Deep Chand, the barber, dreams of giving the prime minister a haircut; Pitamber wishes to ride an autorickshaw instead of pulling a cycle-rickshaw; and Aziz will be happy with a junk-shop in Chandni Chowk. Sharing their dreams of escape is the narrator Arun, a struggling detective fiction writer. As he waits for inspiration to write a blockbuster, he seeks and discovers love in unusual places-with the young prostitute Kamla, wise beyond her years, and the orphan and epileptic Suraj, surprisingly optimistic despite his difficult circumstances.
In Delhi Is Not Far, one of his most enduring novels, Ruskin Bond sketches a moving portrait of small-town India with characteristic sympathy and quiet wisdom.

‘Bond’ with Nature: All-Time Favourite Nature Stories

Dive into the enchanting world of Ruskin Bond, one of India’s most beloved authors, as he takes us on a literary journey through his latest book, All-Time Favourite Nature Stories. With tales that touch the heart and soul, Bond reminds us of the importance of connecting with nature and finding comfort in its earthy embrace. Whether you are a long-time admirer of Bond’s work or have just been introduced to his artistry, let these stories whisk you away into the nostalgia and timeless beauty that surrounds us all.

Read this excerpt from the All-Time Favourite Nature Stories to catch a glimpse.

All-Time Favourite Nature Stories
All-Time Favourite Nature Stories || Ruskin Bond

***

The Window

I came in the spring and took the room on the roof. It was a long, low building which housed several families; the roof was flat, except for my room and a chimney. I don’t know whose room owned the chimney, but my room owned the roof. And from the window of my room, I owned the world.

But only from the window.

The Window

The banyan tree, just opposite, was mine, and its inhabitants were my subjects. They were two squirrels, a few mynah, a crow and at night, a pair of flying foxes. The squirrels were busy in the afternoons, the birds in the mornings and evenings, and the foxes at night. I wasn’t very busy that year—not as busy as the inhabitants of the banyan tree.

 

There was also a mango tree, but that came later, in the summer, when I met Koki and the mangoes were ripe.

 

At first, I was lonely in my room. But then I discovered the power of my window. I looked out on the banyan tree, on the garden, on the broad path that ran beside the building, and out over the roofs of other houses, over roads and fields, as far as the horizon. The path was not particularly busy, but it was full of variety—an ayah pushing a baby in a pram; the postman, an event in himself; the fruit and toy sellers, calling their wares in high-pitched familiar cries; the rent collector; a posse of cyclists; a long chain of schoolgirls; a lame beggar . . . all passed my way, the way of my window.

 

In the early summer, a tonga came rattling and jingling down the path and stopped in front of the house. A girl and an elderly lady climbed down, and a servant unloaded their baggage. They went into the house and the tonga moved off, the horse snorting a little.

 

The next morning, the girl looked up from the garden and saw me at my window.

 

She had long, black hair that fell to her waist, tied with a single red ribbon. Her eyes were black like her hair and just as shiny. She must have been about ten or eleven years old.

 

‘Hello,’ I said with a friendly smile.

 

She looked suspiciously at me. ‘Who are you?’ she said.

 

‘I’m a ghost.’

 

She laughed, and her laugh had a gay, mocking quality. ‘You look like one!’

 

I didn’t think her remark was particularly flattering, but I had asked for it. I stopped smiling anyway. Most children don’t like adults smiling at them all the time.

 

‘What have you got up there?’ she asked. ‘Magic,’ I said.

 

She laughed again, but this time without mockery.

 

‘I don’t believe you,’ she said.

 

‘Why don’t you come up and see for yourself?’ She hesitated a little but came around to the steps and began climbing them, slowly and cautiously. And when she entered the room, she brought a magic of her own.

 

‘Where’s your magic?’ she asked, looking me in the eye.

 

‘Come here,’ I said, and I took her to the window and showed her the world.

 

She said nothing but stared out of the window, first uncomprehendingly and then with increasing interest. And after some time, she turned around and smiled at me, and we became friends.

 

I only knew her name was Koki and that she had come to the hills with her aunt for the summer; I didn’t need to know anything else about her, and she didn’t need to know anything about me except that I wasn’t really a ghost—at least not the frightening kind. She came up my steps nearly every day and joined me at the window. There was a lot of excitement to be had in our world, especially when the rains broke.

 

At the first rumblings, women would rush outside to retrieve the washing from the clothes line and if there was a breeze, to chase a few garments across the compound. When the rains came, they came with a vengeance, making a bog of the garden and a river of the path. A cyclist would come riding furiously down the path, an elderly gentleman would be having difficulty with an umbrella and naked children would be frisking about in the rain. Sometimes Koki would run out to the roof and shout and dance in the rain.

 

And the rain would come through the open door and window of the room, flooding the floor and making an island of the bed.

 

But the window was more fun than anything else. It gave us the power of detachment: we were deeply interested in the life around us, but not involved in it.

 

‘It is like a cinema,’ said Koki. ‘The window is the screen and the world is the picture.’

***

Get your copy of Ruskin Bond’s All-Time Favourite Nature Stories from Amazon now.

A rocky start to Ruskin Bond’s writing journey

You must have read several stories by Ruskin Bond, but have you read a story about how he began his literary journey in London?

Ruskin Bond’s latest release, Listen to Your Heart, captures memorable experiences from young Ruskin’s life and is an inspiration for aspiring young writers, a meditation on embracing fears, and seizing every opportunity. Read this excerpt from the book to get a glimpse.

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Listen to Your Heart: The London Adventure
Listen to Your Heart: The London Adventure || Ruskin Bond

The first draft of my journal had been doing the rounds of a few London publishers, and coming back with polite comments and regrets. The post was usually delivered around lunchtime, and whenever there was a thud on the floor of the front door, my cousins would look up from their meal with a knowing grin, as if to say, ‘Poor Ruskin, nobody wants his masterpiece.’

But along with the third or fourth flop of the returned manuscript came a letter from the editor at André Deutsch Ltd, a new publisher who was making a name and a reputation with some offbeat publications. The editor who wrote to me was called Diana Athill, and she wrote a very sympathetic letter, saying how much she liked the book and promising to reconsider it if I would consider turning it into a work of fiction, a full-fledged novel.

As a writer, I have always been ready to learn and to please those who encourage good writing, and I wrote back saying I would do as suggested.

There was no one with whom I could share this good news—my uncle and cousins would have considered it just another polite rejection. So I went out for one of my lonely walks along the seafront, and confided my hopes and dreams in the waves as they came crashing against the sea wall. That island only came to life for me when it was blowing a gale. I loved leaning against the wind, feeling the rain stinging my face, and listening to the roar of the angry sea as the tide came in.

As I walked alone down that rain-lashed pier, I knew I was going to be a writer—a good one— and that no one could stop me. The wind and the rain were allies; they were a part of me, and they would be a part of my work. But it was to be a few months before I could launch out on my own, and during that time, I worked on the novel, pleased my employers and got on with my relatives as best as I could. My aunt never bothered me; in fact, she rather liked having me around. The youngest of my cousins was a friendly little chap; the other two rather resented me. Whenever I had the opportunity, I went to the cinema, and one of the films released at the time was Jean Renoir’s The River, based on the novel by Rumer Godden. This beautiful film made me so homesick that I went to see it several times, wallowing in the atmosphere of an India, a lot like the India l had known. The ‘river’, and its eternal flow became a part of my story too, especially the part where Kishen and Rusty cross the Ganga on the way back to their homes. And back in India, a young filmmaker called Satyajit Ray saw The River and realised that a film could also be a poem, and went about making his own cinematic poetry.

With some help from my employers, I had acquired a baby portable typewriter, priced at £19, and I was going along quite merrily, working on the novel and keeping up my journal.  But then disaster struck.

**

Inquisitive to know what happens next?

Get a copy of Ruskin Bond’s Listen to Your Heart from your nearest bookstore or online.

Best of Bond: 5 books you must read

What is nostalgia, after all, but an attempt to preserve that which was good in the past?
― Ruskin Bond, Roads to Mussoorie

 

It’s rare that an author’s writings pull the heartstrings of adults and young alike and Ruskin Bond is one such author. His writer’s pen flings fairy dust on our childhood memories, brings back our fond experiences with friends, family, and nature, and offers solace while transporting us to a new world. Bond, despite his slowed-down gait, has kept his childlike wonder alive and sprinkles it in his short stories every now and then. The characters in his books, mostly culled from the real world, are fresh, diverse, and relatable. The recollection of his indelible memories make his readers nostalgic about their own past and leave an everlasting impact on their lives.

Like us, if it’s impossible for you also to read only one book by Ruskin Bond, then scroll through this list with some of our favourites by him.

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Writing for My Life
Writing for My Life
Writing for My Life || Ruskin Bond

If only the world had no boundaries and we could move about without having to produce passports and documents everywhere, it really would be ‘a great wide beautiful, wonderful world’, says Ruskin Bond.

From his most loved stories to poems, memoirs and essays, Writing for My Life opens a window to the myriad worlds of Ruskin Bond, India’s most loved author. Capturing dreams of childhood, anecdotes of Rusty and his friends, the Ripley-Bean mysteries, accounts of his life with his father and his adventures in Jersey and London among others, this book is full of beauty and joy-two things Ruskin’s writing is mostly known for.

With a comprehensive introduction, this is the perfect gift to all the ardent readers and lovers of Ruskin’s effervescent writing. A wide collection of carefully curated and beautifully designed stories, this book is a collector’s edition.

Words From My Window
Words From My Window
Words From My Window || Ruskin Bond

I need a window to look at the world without; for only then can I look at the world within. A room without a window is rather like a prison cell, and the soul is inclined to shrivel up in a confined space. … Car horns, children calling to each other as they return from school, a boy selling candyfloss, several crows chasing a hawk! Never a dull moment. And the magic mountain looks on, absorbing everything.

 

A Handful Of Nuts
A Handful Of Nuts
A Handful Of Nuts || Ruskin Bond

This collection of six novels sparkles with the quiet charm and humanity that are the hallmarks of Ruskin Bond’s writing. Evoking nostalgia for a time gone by; these poignant chronicles of life in India’s hills and small towns describe the hopes and passions that capture young minds and hearts; highlighting the uneasy reconciliation of dreams and destiny.

The six novels included in the collection are:

  • The Room on the Roof
  • Vagrants in the Valley
  • Delhi Is Not Far
  • A Flight of Pigeons
  • The Sensualist
  • A Handful of Nuts
A Little Book of India
A Little Book of India
A Little Book of India || Ruskin Bond

As India completes 75 years of independence, we bring to you a slice of our beloved country in the words of our favourite author, Ruskin Bond. Drawing on his own memories and impressions of this unique land, he pays homage to the country that has been his home for 84 years. Bond talks fondly about the diverse elements that make up this beautiful land-its rivers and forests, literature and culture, sights, sounds and colours. A Little Book of India is an amalgamation of the physical and spiritual attributes of our homeland, and takes you on a journey filled with nostalgia and devotion.

The Little Book of Comfort
The Little Book of Comfort
The Little Book of Comfort || Ruskin Bond

So, do you wish to go out into the night, walke up the hill, discover new things about the night and yourself, and come home refreshed? For just as the night has the moon and the stars, so the darkness of the soul can be lit up by small fireflies – such as these calm and comforting thoughts that Ruskin Bond has jotted down for you in The Little Book of Comfort. This book will give you an opportunity to discover yourself in this post-pandemic world to become more thoughtful and to discover the art of slowing down.

A Snippet of Ruskin Bond’s Life in Dehradun, Jersey and London

If only the world had no boundaries and we could move about without having to produce passports and documents everywhere, it really would be a great wide beautiful, wonderful world’, says Ruskin Bond.

From his most loved stories to poems, memoirs, and essays, Writing for My Life opens a window to the myriad worlds of Ruskin Bond, India’s most loved author. This book is full of beauty and joy – two things Ruskin’s writing is mostly known for.

Writing for My Life||Ruskin Bond

Ruskin’s writing is greatly inspired by the places he lived at. His first book The Room on the Roof was published when he went away to London but was inspired by Dehradun. Here are some excerpts from stories based out of Dehradun, Jersey, and London

Dehradun: The Window

I came in the spring and took the room on the roof. It was a long, low building that housed several families; the roof was flat, except for my room and a chimney. I don’t know whose room owned the chimney, but my room owned the roof. And from the window of my room, I owned the world.

But only from the window.

The banyan tree, just opposite, was mine, and its inhabitants my subjects. They were two squirrels, a few mina, a crow, and at night, a pair of flying foxes. The squirrels were busy in the afternoons, the birds in the mornings and evenings, the foxes at night. I wasn’t very busy that year; not as busy as the inhabitants of the banyan tree.

There was also a mango tree but that came later, in the summer, when I met Koki and the mangoes were ripe.

At first, I was lonely in my room. But then I discovered the power of my window. I looked out on the banyan tree, on the garden, on the broad path that ran beside the building, and out over the roofs of other houses, over roads and fields, as far as the horizon. The path was not a very busy one but it held variety: an ayah, with a baby in a pram; the postman, an event in himself; the fruit seller, the toy seller, calling their wares in high-pitched familiar cries; the rent collector; a posse of cyclists; a long chain of schoolgirls; a lame beggar…all passed my way, the way of my window…

*

Jersey – A Far Cry from India

It was while I was living in Jersey, in the Channel Islands, that I really missed India.

Jersey was a very pretty island, with wide sandy bays and rocky inlets, but it was worlds away from the land in which I had grown up. You did not see an Indian or eastern face

anywhere. It was not really an English place, either, except in parts of the capital, St Helier, where some of the business houses, hotels, and law firms were British-owned. The majority of the population – farmers, fishermen, councillors – spoke a French patois which even a Frenchman would have disowned. The island, originally French, and then for a century British, had been briefly occupied by the Germans. Now it was British again, although it had its own legislative council and made its own laws. It exported tomatoes, shrimp, and Jersey cows, and imported people looking for a tax haven.

During the summer months, the island was flooded with English holidaymakers. During the long, cold winter, gale-force winds swept across the Channel and the island’s waterfront had a forlorn look. I knew I did not belong there and I disliked the place intensely. Within days of my arrival, I was longing for the languid, easy-going, mango-scented air of small-town India: the gul mohur trees in their fiery summer splendor; barefoot boys riding buffaloes and chewing on sticks of sugarcane; a hoopoe on the grass, bluejays performing aerial acrobatics; a girl’s pink dupatta flying in the breeze; the scent of wet earth after the first rain; and most of all my Dehra friends.

So what on earth was I doing on an island, twelve by five miles in size, in the cold seas off Europe? Islands always sound as though they are romantic places, but take my advice, don’t live on one – you’ll feel deeply frustrated after a week.

I was in Jersey because my Aunt E (my mother’s eldest sister) had, along with her husband and three sons, settled there a couple of years previously. So had a few other financially stable Anglo-Indian families, former residents of Poona or Bangalore, but it not a place where young people could make a career, excerpt perhaps in local government.

I had finished school at the end of 1950, and then for almost a year I had been loafing around Dehra Dun, convinced that I was a writer on the strength of a couple of stories sold to The Hindu’s Sport and Pastime (now there was a sports’ magazine with a difference – it published my fiction!) and The Tribune of Ambala (Chandigarh did not exist then). My mother and stepfather finally decided to pack me off to the U.K., where, it was hoped, I would make my fortune or become Lord Mayor of London like Dick Whittington. There really wasn’t much else I could have done at the time, except take a teacher’s training and spend the rest of my life teaching As You Like It or Far from the Madding Crowd to schoolboys (in private schools) who would always have more money than I could earn.

Anyway, my aunt had written to say that I could stay with her in Jersey until I found my bearings, and so off I went, in my trunk a new tweet coat and two pairs of grey flannel trousers; also a packet of haldi powder, which my aunt had particularly requested. During the voyage, the packet burst, and most of my clothes were stained with haldi.

*

London – And Another in London

Although for my first six months in London I did live in a garret and an unhealthy one at that, I did not really see myself in the role of the starving poet. The first thing I did was to

look for a job, and I took the first that was offered – the office job at Photax, a small firm selling photographic components and accessories. A little way down the road was the Scala Theatre, and as soon as I had save enough for a theatre ticket (theatre-going wasn’t expensive in those days), I went to see the annual Christmas production of Peter Pan, which I’d read as a play when I was going through the works of Barrie in my school library. This production had Margaret Lockwood as Peter. She had been Britain’s most popular film star in the forties and she was still pretty and vivacious. I think Captain Hook was played by Donald Wolfit, better known for his portrayal of Svengali.

My colleagues in Photax, though not in the least literary, were a friendly lot. There was my fellow clerk, Ken, shared his marmite sandwiches with me. There was Maisie of the auburn hair, who was constantly being rung up by her boyfriends. And there was Clarence, who was slightly effeminate and known to frequent the gay bars in Soho. (Except that the term ‘gay’ hadn’t been invented yet.) And there was our head clerk, Mr. Smedly, who’d been in the Navy during the War, and was a musical-theatre buff. We would often discuss the latest musicals – Guys and Dolls, South Pacific, Paint Your Wagon, Pal Joey – big musicals which used to run for months, even years.

The window opposite my desk looked out on a huge cinema hoarding, and it was always an event when a new poster went up on it. Weeks before the film was released, there was a poster of Judy Garland in her comeback film, A Star is Born, and I can still remember the publicity headline: ‘Judy, the world is waiting for your sunshine!’ And, of course, there was Marilyn Monroe in Niagara, with Marilyn looking much bigger than the waterfall, and that fine actor, Joseph Cotton, nowhere in sight.

My heart, though, was not in the Photax office. I had no ambitions to become a head clerk or even to learn the intricacies of the business. It was a nine-to-five job, giving me just enough money to live on (six pounds a week, in fact), while I scribbled away of an evening, working on my second (or was it third?) draft of my novel. The title was the only thing about it that did not change. It was The Room on the Roof from the beginning.

How I worked at that book! I was always being asked to put things in or take things out. At first, the publishers suggested that it needed ‘filling out’. When I filled it out, I was told that it was now a little too descriptive and would I prune it a bit? And what started out as a journal and then became a first-person narrative finally ended up in the third person. But editors only made suggestions; they did not tamper with your language or style. And the ‘feel’ of the story – my love for India and my friends in particular – was ever-present, running through it like a vein of gold.

Much of the publishers’ uncertain and contradictory suggestions stemmed from the fact that they relied heavily on their readers’ recommendations. A ‘reader’ was a well-known writer or critic who was asked (and paid) to give his opinion on a book. The Room on the Roof was sent to the celebrated literary critic, Walter Allen, who said I was a ‘born writer’ and likened me to Sterne, but also said I should wait a little longer before attempting a novel. Another reader, Laurie Lee (the author of Cider with Rosie), said he had enjoyed the story but that it would be a gamble to publish it.

Fortunately, Andre Deutsch was the sort of publisher who was ready to take a risk with a new, young author; so instead of rejecting the book, he bought an option on it, which meant that he could sit on it for a couple of years until he had made up his mind!

Experience the very best of Ruskin Bond’s writing in one book, Writing for my Life!

Careful what you wish for

All Time Favourites for Children celebrates Ruskin Bond’s writing with stories that are perennially loved and can now be enjoyed in a single collectible volume. Curated and selected by India’s most loved writer, this collection brings some of the evocative episodes from Ruskin’s life. It brings together many known charming, endearing characters such as the iconic Rusty, the eccentric Uncle Ken and the ubiquitous grandmother, and a smattering of new ones that are sure to be firm favourites with young readers, especially middle schoolers. Heart-warming, funny and spirited, this is a must-have on every bookshelf!

All-Time Favourites FC
All-Time Favourites||Ruskin Bond

Here’s a taste of what’s in store in this exciting collection of stories. An extract from the story of a parrot who could, but ‘wouldn’t’ talk. ‘What goes around comes around’ is a complete mood in this one.

~

‘Kiss, kiss!’ Aunt Ruby would coo, putting her face close to the barge of the cage. But the parrot would back away, its beady little eyes getting even smaller with anger at the prospect of being kissed by Aunt Ruby. On one occasion, it lunged forward without warning and knocked my aunt’s spectacles off her nose.

After that, Aunt Ruby gave up her endearments and became quite hostile towards the poor bird, making faces at it and calling out, ‘Can’t talk, can’t sing, can’t dance!’ and other nasty comments.

It fell upon me, then ten years old, to feed the parrot, and it seemed quite happy to receive green chillies and ripe tomatoes from my hands, these delicacies being supplemented by slices of mango, for it was then the mango season. It also gave me an opportunity to consume a couple of mangoes while feeding the parrot.

One afternoon, while everyone was indoors enjoying a siesta, I gave the parrot his lunch and then deliberately left the cage door open. Seconds later, the bird was winging its way to the freedom of the mango orchard.

At the same time, Grandfather came to the veranda and remarked, ‘I see your aunt’s parrot has escaped!’

‘The door was quite loose,’ I said with a shrug.

‘Well, I don’t suppose we’ll see it again.’

Aunt Ruby was upset at first and threatened to buy another bird. We put her off by promising to buy her a bowl of goldfish.

‘But goldfish don’t talk!’ she protested.

‘Well, neither did your bird,’ said Grandfather. ‘So we’ll get you a gramophone. You can listen to Clara Cluck all day. They say she sings like a nightingale.’

I thought we’d never see the parrot again, but it probably missed its green chillies, because a few days later I found the bird sitting on the veranda railing, looking expectantly at me with its head cocked to one side. Unselfishly, I gave the parrot

half of my mango.

While the bird was enjoying the mango, Aunt Ruby emerged from her room and, with a cry of surprise, called out, ‘Look, my parrot’s come back! He must have missed me!’

With a loud squawk, the parrot flew out of her reach and, perching on the nearest rose bush, glared at Aunt Ruby and shrieked at her in my aunt’s familiar tones: ‘You’re no beauty! Can’t talk, can’t sing, can’t dance!’

Aunt Ruby went ruby-red and dashed indoors.

But that wasn’t the end of the affair. The parrot became a frequent visitor to the garden and veranda and whenever it saw Aunt Ruby it would call out, ‘You’re no beauty, you’re no beauty! Can’t sing, can’t dance!’

The parrot had learnt to talk, after all.

Share the Ruskin Bond love with your little ones!

Ruskin Bond – what a warm feeling it is to simply hear the man’s name! If you grew up loving Ruskin Bond, we bet you’re looking for the perfect books to inculcate the love within your little ones.

Ruskin Bond’s writing is influenced by his own life and is admired worldwide for its simplicity and absolute joy to read.

Celebrating his birthday today, here is a list of books to get your child started on Ruskin Bond’s most loved work!

The Room on the Roof

Rusty, a sixteen-year-old Anglo-Indian boy, is orphaned, and has to live with his English guardian in the claustrophobic European part in Dehra Dun. Unhappy with the strict ways of his guardian, Rusty runs away from home to live with his Indian friends. Plunging for the first time into the dream-bright world of the bazaar, Hindu festivals and other aspects of Indian life, Rusty is enchanted . . . and is lost forever to the prim proprieties of the European community.

 

Getting Granny’s Glasses

 

 

Mani’s Granny is seventy and can barely see through her old, scratched glasses. With only a hundred and fifty rupees in their pockets and a thirst for adventure, Mani and Granny set off to buy a new pair. On the way, they get drenched in the rain, run into mules and encounter a terrible landslide. Will Granny ever be able to reach the town and get herself a new pair of glasses?

 

The Room of Many Colours

 

For over five decades, Ruskin Bond has written charming tales that have mesmerized readers of all ages. This collection brings together his finest stories for children in one volume. Published previously as A Treasury of Stories for Children, this attractive rejacketed edition includes two new stories The Big Race and Remember This Day. Filled with superb illustrations and a rich cast of characters, The Room of Many Colours: A Treasury of Stories for Children is the definitive book for all Ruskin Bond fans truly a collector’s item.

 

The Cherry Tree

Rakesh plants a cherry seedling in his garden and watches it grow. As seasons go by, the small tree survives heavy monsoon showers, a hungry goat that eats most of the leaves and a grass cutter who splits it into two with one sweep. At last, on his ninth birthday, Rakesh is rewarded with a miraculous sight-the first pink blossoms of his precious cherry tree!

 

The Adventures of Rusty

The Adventures Of Rusty: Collected Stories features stories from the time when Rusty studies at a residential school located in Dehra. It also features stories where Rusty is surrounded by the vastness of nature and its infinitely beautiful creations. This book also features Uncle Ken as a character who has trouble finding a well-paying, steady job. Also included is a story where Rusty plans to travel 800 miles in order to meet his Uncle Jim, who is a sailor.

 

Rusty: The Boy from the Hills

Rusty is a quiet, imaginative and sensitive boy who lives with his grandparents in pre-Independence Dehra Dun. Though he is not the adventurous himself, the strangest and most extraordinary things keep happening around him.

 

The Hidden Pool

Laurie is an English boy who moves to a hill town with his parents when his father is posted to India on work for two years. Laurie makes two new friends: Anil, the son of a local cloth merchant, and Kamal, who lost his parents during Partition and now sells buttons and shoelaces but dreams of going to college. Anil and Kamal introduce Laurie to an enchanted world of beetle races, ghosts, cheat and Holi, and he shares with them the secret pool he finds on the mountainside.

 

Thick as Thieves

Somewhere in life there must be someone to take your hand and share the torrid day
Some stories will make you smile, some will bring tears to your eyes and some may even make your heart skip a beat—but all of them will renew your faith in the power of friendship.

 

Uncles, Aunts and Elephants

 

India’s favorite storyteller, Ruskin Bond has regaled generations of readers for decades. This delightful collection of poetry, prose and selected non-fiction brings together some of his best work in a single volume. Sumptuously illustrated, Uncles, Aunts and Elephants is a book to treasure for all times.

 

Dust on the Mountain

Ruskin Bond wrote his first short story; Untouchable; at the age of sixteen and since then, over hundred stories; including the classics A Face in Dark; The Kitemaker; The Tunnel; The Room if many Colours; Dust on the Mountain; and Times Stops at Shamli. This volume brings together the best of all the short fiction Ruskin Bond has ever written.

 

Crazy Times with Uncle Ken

Who doesn’t like an eccentric uncle? Ruskin Bond certainly does. Read all the stories about bumbling and endearing Uncle Ken in this collection. Whenever Uncle Ken arrives at Grandma’s house, and he does frequently, there is trouble afoot Uncle Ken drives his car into a wall, is mistaken for a famous cricketer, troubled by a mischievous ghost, chased by a swarm of bees and attacked by flying foxes. Be it the numerous bicycle rides with the author or his futile attempts at finding a job, Uncle Ken’s misadventures provide huge doses of laughter. Crazy Times with Uncle Ken includes old classics as well as new stories, and will be enjoyed by all Ruskin Bond fans.

Go ahead and read them all!

 

 

Bonding over tales: Seven of our favourite Ruskin Bond stories in the master’s own voice

In a world that seems increasingly complicated, we all need a quick step through the looking-glass into the quietly beautiful world of Ruskin Bond, a hillside utopia where generous old ladies provide solace to thoughtful children (and to our souls), and the clouds roll gently over fruit-laden trees.  Ruskin Bond is truly among the most avuncular figures of literary India, bringing the magic of wistful nostalgia and bursts of quiet happiness into our imaginative landscapes for nearly half a century. On his 88th birthday, we bring to you some auditory therapy, a soothing balm for overtired brains, Ruskin Bond’s poignant prose rendered even more magical by the gentle calm of his own voice!

Read on for a list of some of his most loved works narrated as audiobooks by our favourite author himself!

 


Cricket for the Crocodile

Ranji’s team finds an unexpected opponent – a nosy crocodile – when they play a cricket match against the village boys. Annoyed at the swarms of boys crowding the riverbank and the alarming cricket balls plopping around his place of rest, Nakoo the crocodile decides to take his revenge.

 

The Wind On Haunted Hill

Who…whoo…whooo cried the wind as it swept down from the Himalayan snows.’

The wild wind pushes open windows, chokes chimneys, and blows away clothes as it huffs and puffs over the village by Haunted Hill, where Usha, Suresh, and Binya live. It’s even more mighty the day Usha is on her way back from the bazaar. A deep rumble echoes down the slope and a sudden flash of lightning lights up the valley as fat drops come raining down.

In search of shelter, Usha rushes into the ruins on Haunted Hill, grim and creepy against the dark sky. Inside, the tin roof groans, strange shadows are thrown against the walls, and little Usha shivers with fear.

For she isn’t alone.

A gritty, hair-raising story about friendship, courage, and survival, this stunning edition will introduce another lot of young listeners to the magic of Ruskin Bond’s craft.

 

The Cherry Tree

Rakesh plants a cherry seedling in his garden and watches it grow. As seasons go by, the small tree survives heavy monsoon showers, a hungry goat that eats most of the leaves, and a grass cutter who splits it into two with one sweep. At last, on his ninth birthday, Rakesh is rewarded with a miraculous sight – the first pink blossoms of his precious cherry tree!

 

White Mice

A tale of sweet revenge!

Ruskin is keen to teach his scatterbrained uncle a lesson. After all, he put him on the wrong train! Armed with gifts from his new friend, the stationmaster – yummy rasgullas and a pair of beautiful white mice – Ruskin devises the perfect payback.

Peppered with endearing characters, this is one of Bond’s most unforgettable tales.

 

Getting Granny’s Glasses

Mani’s Granny is 70 and can barely see through her old, scratched glasses. With only 150 rupees in their pockets and a thirst for adventure, Mani and Granny set off to buy a new pair. On the way, they get drenched in the rain, run into mules, and encounter a terrible landslide. Will Granny ever be able to reach the town and get herself a new pair of glasses?

 

The Tree Lover

Everything that you’ve always loved about Ruskin Bond is back.

His mesmerizing descriptions of nature and his wonderful way with words – this is Ruskin Bond at his finest.

Listen in as Rusty tells the story of his grandfather’s relationship with the trees around him, who’s convinced that they love him back with as much tenderness as he loves them.

Earthquake

‘What do you do when there’s an earthquake?’ asks Rakesh. Everyone in the Burman household has their own ideas, but when the tremors begin and things start to quake and crumble, they are all taken by surprise. Amidst the destruction, Rakesh’s family stays strong. But will they survive the onslaught of yet another earthquake?

 

Gather your family (or just your own thoughts) for an incredibly relaxing audio interlude after downloading your audiobooks!

Celebrating Ruskin Bond with his books for grown-ups!

Ruskin Bond started his writing career with the publication of The Room on the Roof at age seventeen. Since then, he is well-known (and definitely well-loved!) for his hundreds of short stories for both children and adults.

If you grew up loving him and his work, we’re sure you’d love to get your hands on some titles written for grown-ups. Here is a list of books written by Ruskin Bond, for adults.

 

The Best of Ruskin Bond

Are you a fan of Ruskin Bond? Have you been trying to compile his best works and read them along? If yes, then this book, ‘The Best of Ruskin Bond’ is the perfect solution for you. These exemplary stories from the legendary author are here for the taking, all compiled in a single book and provided with some of the best excerpts ever written. This consolidated volume brings together selected prose and poetries that have been written by the award winning author, Ruskin Bond. During his entire career, he has captivated readers across the world with his writing talent.

 

The Night Train at Deoli

Adorned with 30 beautiful stories from Ruskin Bond, The Night Train at Deoli and other stories effortlessly makes in to the must-have, must-read list of every reader. Simple, heart-warming and thought-provoking stories will take you to heavenly grounds of Dehradun and Mussoorie, where the author himself has spent his childhood and teenage years. The stories in the book speak of simple folk, who live in the technology untouched valleys and hills, the lush greenery and little crowded markets.

 

Collected short stories

 Ruskin Bond wrote his first short story, Untouchable, at the age of sixteen, and has written memorable fiction ever since. He is famous not only for his love of the hills, but for imbuing the countryside with life and vibrancy through moving descriptions. The simple people who inhabit his stories evoke sympathy and laughter in equal measure. This wonderful collection of seventy stories, including classics like A Face in Dark, The Kitemaker, The Tunnel, The Room of Many Colours, Dust on the Mountain and Times Stops at Shamli, is a must-have for any bookshelf.

 

 

The Little Book of Comfort

”So I went out into the night, walked up the hill, discovered new things about the night and myself, and came home refreshed. For just as the night has the moon and the stars, so the darkness of the soul can be lit up by small fireflies – such as these calm and comforting thoughts that I have jotted down for you…” Ruskin Bond

 

Time Stops at Shamli

Ruskin Bond’s simple characters, living amidst the lush forests of the Himalayan foothills, are remarkable for their quiet heroism, courage and grace, and age-old values of honesty and fidelity. Residents of nondescript villages and towns, they lead lives that are touched by natural beauty as well as suffering—the loss of a loved parent, unfulfilled dreams, natural calamities, ghostly visitations, a respected teacher turned crooked, strangers who make a nuisance of themselves—which only reinforces their abiding faith in God, family and neighbour. Told in Bond’s distinctive style, these stories are a magnificent evocation of an India that may be fast disappearing.

 

 

Rain in the Mountains

It is a collection of stories, snippets, essays and poems penned by the writer after having lived in many hamlets across the mountains in the Himalayas. Through his subtle, simple and lucid writing, the author beautifully brings alive many natural sights and sounds that evoke the essence of natural mountain life.

Both prose and poetry in the book are centred around nature with all the purity that it holds. Rain in the Mountains: Notes from the Himalayas touches a raw nerve for an urban dweller when it describes the beauty of mountain wilderness, surrounded by chirping birds, squirrels, a blue sky with moving clouds casting light and shade shadows.

 

Delhi is not Far

The residents of Pipalnagar, a dull and dusty small town, hope to one day leave behind their humdrum lives for the thrills of Delhi. Deep Chand, the barber, dreams of giving the prime minister a haircut; Pitamber wishes to ride an autorickshaw instead of pulling a cycle-rickshaw; and Aziz will be happy with a junk-shop in Chandni Chowk. Sharing their dreams of escape is the narrator Arun, a struggling detective fiction writer. As he waits for inspiration to write a blockbuster, he seeks and discovers love in unusual places-with the young prostitute Kamla, wise beyond her years and the orphan and epileptic Suraj, surprisingly optimistic despite his difficult circumstances.

 

Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra

Fourteen engaging stories from one of India’s master story-tellers Semi-autobiographical in nature, these stories span the period from the author’s childhood to the present. We are introduced, in a series of beautifully imagined and crafted cameos, to the author’s family, friends, and various other people who left a lasting impression on him. In other stories we revisit Bond’s beloved Garhwal hills and the small towns and villages that he has returned to time and again in his fiction. Together with his well-known novella, A Flight of Pigeons (which was made into the film Junoon), which also appears in this collection, these stories once again bring Ruskin Bond’s India vividly to life.

 

A Face in the Dark and Other Hauntings

In Ruskin Bond’s stories, ghosts, jinns, witches—and the occasional monster—are as real as the people he writes about. This collection brings together all of his tales of the paranormal, opening with the unforgettable, ‘A Face in the Dark’ and ending with the shockingly macabre, ‘Night of the Millennium’. Featuring thrilling situations and strange beings, a Face in the Dark and Other Hauntings is the perfect collection to have by your bedside when the moon is up.

 

Death Under the Deodars

It was death at first sight . . .
Miss Ripley-Bean was sitting on a bench beneath the deodars, having a quiet moment to herself, when suddenly two shadows, larger than life, appeared on the outside wall; they were struggling with each other. Only afterwards, when a dead body was discovered, did Miss Ripley-Bean realize she had witnessed a murder – and that the murderer had seen her.
In this marvellous collection of brand-new stories set in the Mussoorie of a bygone era, Ruskin Bond recounts the deliciously sinister cases of a murdered priest, an adulterous couple, a man who is born evil and the body in the box bed; not to forget the strange happenings involving the arsenic in the post, the strychnine in the cognac, a mysterious black dog and the Daryaganj strangler.

 

The Room on the Roof

 Rusty, a sixteen-year-old Anglo-Indian boy, is orphaned and has to live with his English guardian in the claustrophobic European part in Dehra Dun. Unhappy with the strict ways of his guardian, Rusty runs away from home to live with his Indian friends. Plunging for the first time into the dream-bright world of the bazaar, Hindu festivals and other aspects of Indian life, Rusty is enchanted … and is lost forever to the prim proprieties of the European community.

Written when the author was himself seventeen, this moving story of love and friendship, with a new introduction and illustrations will be enjoyed by a whole new generation of readers.

What’s your favourite story for Ruskin Bond? Tell us in the comments!

The more (books), the May-rrier!

We know that our current times are not the most optimistic. But now more than ever, we believe that books can act as a source of hope and joy, howsoever small, and keep us going.

We have an assorted selection of books for you this May! These will keep your young ones occupied as they spend the summers indoors, inside the safety of their cozy homes.

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All-Time Favourites for Children

Ruskin Bond

Front cover of All-Time Favourites
All-Time Favourites for Children || Ruskin Bond, Kashmira Sarode (Illustrator)

Ages:  9+  years

All Time Favourites for Children celebrates Ruskin Bond’s writing with stories that are perennially loved and can now be enjoyed in a single collectible volume. Curated and selected by India’s most loved writer, this collection brings some of the evocative episodes from Ruskin’s life, iconic Rusty, eccentric Uncle Ken, ubiquitous grandmother, and many other charming, endearing characters in a single volume while also introducing us to a smattering of new ones that are sure to be firm favourites with young readers.

 

Ninja Nani and the Freaky Food Festival

Lavanya Karthik

Front cover of Ninja Nani and the Freaky Food Festival
Ninja Nani and the Freaky Food Festival || Lavanya Karthik

Ages: 10 to 14 years

It’s time for the annual festival and a special guest is expected to arrive in Gadbadnagar, but has a certain President gone too far? Has Nani finally met her match in the meanest, scariest and awfullest demon ever to crawl out of the Dark Forest? Will the Mayor’s mustache ever run for office?

Wait, there’s more!

Fake Mystery Heroes! Haunted falooda! Giant dogs–

And what’s that again about goats? You’re going to have to read it for yourself. 

 

Mirror, Mirror

Andaleeb Wajid

Front cover of Mirror, Mirror
Mirror, Mirror || Andaleeb Wajid

Ages: 10 to 14 years

Five years earlier, a friend’s nasty comment makes Ananya start hating her body. She decides to change into a new person-one who effortlessly fits into all kinds of clothes, who shuns food unless it’s salad, and who can never be called ‘Miss Piggy’-and to cut everything from her ‘old’ life, including her best friend, Raghu, for being the witness to her humiliation.

Ananya is on her way to becoming the Ananya of her dreams, but she’s still a work in progress.

One day, her parents announce that they’re expecting a baby (at their age!). To make matters worse, Raghu reappears in her life …

Andaleeb Wajid’s latest novel for young adults is a touching and funny story about a young girl’s journey to acceptance and self-love.

 

What’s the Big Secret?

Sonali Shenoy

Front cover of What's the Big Secret?
What’s the Big Secret? || Sonali Shenoy, Annushka Hardikar (Illustrator)

Ages: 9+ years

Eleven-year-old Aditya really wants to know about periods.

Ever since Rhea Didi began getting brown paper packages, there’s been something that no one is telling him. Mama turns red, Pa chokes on his coffee and Dadi has steam coming out of her ears! Thank goodness for his friends Naveen and Vinay-whom he can talk to.

But when Vinay brings an odd-looking napkin to school that soaks ink, Aditya is even more confused. Doesn’t his sister use a microtip pen?

All of this is only making little Aditya more determined to find out What is going on!

 

Dark Tales

Venita Coehlo

Front cover of Dark Tales
Dark Tales || Venita Coehlo

Ages: 9+ years

In this collection of eleven very dark and twisted tales, Venita Coelho lays bare the underbelly of contemporary India. Get ready to gasp and cringe in horror as you have the rug pulled out from under you! This is a book you won’t want to read after dark.

 

And That is Why

L. Somi Roy

And That is Why || L. Somi Roy, Sapha Yumnam (Illustrator)

Ages: 8+ years

Dear Reader, do you know
· why the deer does not eat rice?
· why man gets wrinkles and a stoop?
· why the cat buries its poop?
· why a doll is worshipped in a village called Kakching?

Discover twelve magical tales from Manipur, the mountain land in the north-east of India on the border with Myanmar. Passed down by learned scholars, balladeers and grandmothers over hundreds of years, these unknown myths and fables are enriched with beautifully rich paintings that will transport you to Manipur!

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