New Login   


Premola Ghosh

By Ruskin Bond
Year 2016, pp.112, Rs. 150.00

VOLUME XL NUMBER 11 November 2016

The World Outside My Window comprises three sections: The Wonderful World of Insects; Birdsong in the Mountains; and The Loveliness of Forms. The running thread in all these essays is the chain of life and that each creature or plant, no matter how small and insignificant or destructive they might be, remove them and the chain that binds us collapses. Bond through his direct, simple way is sensitizing us to appreciate and give space to everything around us. The insect world is full of idiosyncratic beings—the odd butterfly that metamorphoses three times, or crazy insects that change colour according to their surroundings or colourful insects that are no gourmand’s delight and the tasty ones who pretend to look like the nasty ones. What about the hawk-moth caterpillars who look like ferocious snakes when alarmed! The dragonfly for instance, despite their innumerable legs can hardly walk, they have gargantuan appetites for living insects, and also have five eyes. Bond describes the rarely seen ladybird as ‘a tiny brightly coloured minicar’ that come ‘like pills in assorted shapes, sizes and colours’. Then of course, there is the insect orchestra comprising cicadas, crickets and grasshoppers which fill the forests and gardens with their music. As the ancient Greeks used to say: ‘Happy are the cicadas, for they have voiceless wives!’ This section also covers ants, bees, spiders, scorpions and the dreaded praying mantis who uses camouflage to deceive his enemies. The second section on Birdsong are word pictures of encounters with birds writing about the semul tree, Bond says: ‘Some birds come for nectar that is found in the big, red flowers; some come in search of the thousands of drowned insects that lie at the bottom of the flower cups; some come because the soft wood of the tree can be hollowed out for a nesting site. Whatever the reason, from morning to night the tree is full of visitors.’ There is a charming poem on ‘The Whistling Schoolboy’, about the thrush who heard Lord Krishna’s flute and in imitation, struck a faulty note. So until the end of his days, he continues to whistle, till he gets it right! Interestingly Bond writes that there is more bird life in the cities than in the hills and forests of Mussoorie, largely due to the survival instincts of city birds and the disappearing forests of the countryside. He believes that ...

Table of Contents >>
Please or to Read Entire Article

Free Access Online 12 Back Issues
with 1 year's subscription
Archive (1976-2011)
under construction.