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Fascination for Nature

Rita Sridhar

By Ruskin Bond
Ratna Sagar, Delhi, 2007, pp. 224, Rs. 174.90

VOLUME XXXI NUMBER 2 February 2007

Once you have lived with mountains, Under the benedictory pines And deodars, near stars And a brighter moon, With wood smoke and mist, Sweet smell of grass, dew lines On spider-spun, sun-kissed Buttercup and vine; Once you have lived with these, Blessed, God's favourite then, You will return, You will come back TO touch the trees and gfass, And climb once more the windswept mountain pass. ' ..... You can make tunnels and roads and bridges; but no matter how hard they try, humans cannot actually get rid of the mountains. That's what I like about them; they I are here to stay.'   The Dehra region, mountains and all, i holds Ruskin Bond captive, and he in turn passes on this fascination to his reader. And when he leads the reader to the characters living there, the stories lurking behind the hills, stones, rivers and animals, one empathizes 'with this fascination.   The omnibus is well organized into three main sections-An Island of Trees, A Bond with the Mountains and Tigers Forever. A book that invites reading at full speed with few stops. Written mostly in the first person, the stories and poems display an extraordinary sense of ownership and understanding of the region. His philosophy and statements on life come packaged in short, simple statements, even poems, somewhere retaining the bond with nature.   ... But teach them to bend too TO be humble like the willow , Which bows low gracefully And comes to no harm. Or Why then this fear of owls Calling in the night? If men must speak, Then owls must hoot¬ They have the right. Simple, easy to understand language with large doses of humour and vivid descriptions make the images spring to mind quite readily. One races from one story to another on a voyage full of surprises-it is difficult to predict what will spring out at us at the end of the page. From antic filled tales of mischievous animals, children and even adults to the supernatural, we are treated to all the mystery and throbbing, pulsating life of the hills. We are also treated to a delightful little piece of Sherlock Holmes!   Mr. Bond manages to convey very effectively his concern for the inhabitants of the forest, a marvellously crafted 'No Room for a Leopard' would shame hunters, while 'My Tall Green Friends' has his love of trees ringing in each syllable. The characters are ...

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