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Showing posts from October, 2017

Book Review: On the Run with Fotikchand by Satyajit Ray

On the Run with Fotikchand by Satyajit Ray is a light adventurous novel set in Kolkata and the cities around it. The novel opens with a scene in a forest at dawn with a boy lying unconscious off the road and an accident-damaged car careered off the road in which are two dead men. The boy when becomes conscious knows nothing about himself, he has lost his memory following a car accident. He walks the road ahead but again lies off the road: his body bruised and his head swollen with an injury.


A truck driver takes him further and feeds him milk and fruits at a roadside dhaba and from there two gentlemen take him further in a car to a doctor in the city of Kharagpur, and to help the boy they decide to take him to the police station after the medication. On the other hand, the boy is varying of the police; hence, he sneaked out from the back door of the bathroom.
Somehow the boy reaches the railway station and accidently catches a Kolkata-bound train. In the train, a stranger takes him a…

Book Review: The Fifth Mountain by Paulo Coelho

The basic recurrent theme in the novels of Paulo Coelho is to seek something or somebody (love, destiny, God, inner voice, etc.). The Fifth Mountain is based on the similar lines: it is a story of a prophet, Elijah, who seeks his destiny by challenging God and His wisdom.

Elijah is a carpenter in his own small shop, and thinks that he is as normal as the other men of Israel. However, trouble pours in when he is forced to do the work of God because he is identified as one of the prophets in Israel. On the other hand, the beautiful princess of Israel, Jezebel, is busy spreading the religion of the god Baal, according to which single god doesn’t exist rather many gods. Elijah receives a message from the god’s angel who says that Israel will not receive rainfall until it abandons worshiping Baal, the fictitious god who doesn’t exist.
When Elijah delivers the same message to Ahab, the king of Israel and the husband of Jezebel, he is forced to leave the city at the behest of god because Je…

Book Review: All You Need is Paper by Ruskin Bond

The short story ‘All You Need is Paper’ by Ruskin Bond is a part of the Rusty series book: Rusty Comes Home. Rusty left Dehra for England when he was twenty or so comes back to the city after publishing his first novel in England at the age of twenty four.

This story contrasts the difference between the life he spent in England and now the life he is leading in Dehradun. Rusty recollects life in England was quite lonely: one have had no noisy company of neighbors and had to walk down the street to have had meals and to kill time cinema was the only option. On the other hand, in Dehra he can find chirpiness all around, every time.
Ruskin takes a dig at the uncertainty of future when he remembers his teenage friends of Dehra - all of them disappeared one by one in search of good life that meant career and fortune - since no one loves to onboard the simple life with limited money and where the hope of making fortune is always in the fog.
Even his favourite and very simple friend, Sitara…

Book Review: A Place Called Freedom by Ken Follett

Freedom is a prized value for a man. However, it was a rare gift for poor folks during the era of colonization. A man can be born as a slave but he can prefer to die as a free man. However, it was rarity. The story of Mack seems to be based on the similar lines. Mack and Esther are twins. They live in Huegh, a small village in Scotland. Their parents were slaves in a coal mine; they died of starvation when the coal mine shut down for some valid reasons. Mack and Esther are, too, slaves in a coal mine owned by Sir George Jammisson.

Mack wishes to be a free man–he knows writing and reading otherwise miners are illiterate. So, he writes to a lawyer in London and gets a letter that says as per the rule he should be set free on his twenty-first birthday. He reads the letter in open, in a church, and provokes the Sir George Jammisson. Mack is the troublemaker, so Jammissons torture him brutally. However, he is a man of steely determination.

One chilly night he swims across the river to run…

Book Review: ‘As Time Goes By’ by Ruskin Bond

As Time Goes By is a short story featured in the novella, Rusty Comes Home. The narrator is Rusty in his old days, way ahead than the frivolities of the youth he spent with his best friends in Dehradun and Mussoorie.
He sees that Prem’s boys have grown up to the verge of manhood. This sight makes him to look back at his own teenage life that he spent in Dehradun; he nostalgically remembers his two best friends: Somi and Ranbir. They were adventurous and how Rusty used to enjoy their company until they all parted away in different directions in search of lucrative careers and wealth.
Rusty recounts a beautiful account of finding a pool in the hills on a rainy day. It was formed by the downstream flowing streams and beneath it was a ravine. He was impatient to tell the others about the pool. So, they all named it as Rusty’s Pool. In this pool they would take buffalo rides and do wrestling and play in the muddy waters. For all it was a rendezvous point, often they included Kishen otherw…

Book Review: From Small Beginnings by Ruskin Bond

Uncle Ken inherits a home in the hills of Mussoorie for Rusty. Thus, Rusty still struggling as a writer goes there to check the home and liking it he settles down there. One morning he sees Prem Singh uphill spreading mattresses; upon recognizing him he recollects the old days when they were together for eight years, then Prem was an innocent sixteen-year-old hilly boy.


Prem’s tidy appearance and clean behavior sets him apart from the other working boys that impress Rusty; thus, he promises to find a job for him. Since Prem’s uncle was working in his house so he said that he cannot take him by firing his uncle. After a week or so when he happens to meet Prem, he is working for survey tents and soon to go to Rajasthan, a hot and unlikely place for the people from hills. But he is in great need of money. He needs it for marriage and is hopeful that his wife will support his family that consists of an ill mother and a younger brother.
In this story Ruskin Bond has tried to express the p…

Book Review: A Flight of Pigeons by Ruskin Bond

In the heat of war, civilians and innocents are doomed to get singed. A Flight of Pigeons by Ruskin Bond is one such story which underlines the agony of miserable people amidst the war days. At the time of sepoy mutiny of 1857 in India, the time was building around to free the country from the clutches of the British Raj.


Local Indians in the small towns of North India took up killing and plundering the army employed by the British and in the process they were also burning and killing the male members of Firangis (white skin people) and taking the girls and women away for their purposes.
Ruth Labadoor and her family lives in Shahjahanpur. Her father is not a big officer (only a clerk) in the government but still a white man. So, one Sunday morning Ruth and her father when go to the church where some hooligans attack them and some white people die including her father. She runs away for help and on the way meets Lala Ramajilal, their trusted servant, who informs her that her bungalo…

Book Review: Listen to the Wind by Ruskin Bond

Listen to the Wind by Ruskin Bond is short story covered in the book: Rusty Comes Home. Listen to the Wind explores the mysteries associated with Pari Tibba, a famous hill top in Mussoorie where the narrator lives.
As the narrator says the month of March is considered unpleasant in the hills because it brings torrential rain with cold wind. One evening he goes to one of his neighbor's cottage, Mrs. Pettibone, an old lady who was lying in her bed with three hot water bottles to her company since there was no fireplace lit at her home and the chimney was silent.
As they both converse, the weather outside turns horrendous and scary. It is raining in torrents, and the occasional thunderstorm lightning is provoking fear in their hearts.
Mrs. Pettibone says that Pari Tibba - meaning burnt hill is a haunted place - whosoever goes there for settlement dies of lightning. To prove her point, she begins narrating the story of Robert.
Robert was a young Englishman of around eighteen, born in…

Book Review: The Road to the Bazaar by Ruskin Bond

The longest novella in the Children’s Omnibus is ‘The Road to the Bazaar’. However, The Road to the Bazaar is not a rhythmic story; rather it features a collection of Bond’s favorite characters such as Suraj, Koki, Ranji, Anil, Amir, Teju, Nathu and many more. And all protagonists of the stories are children-which indeed is rare in the Indian literature arena. Suraj is a vagabond and poor in studies so he at the time of results faces a great difficulty in keeping ties with his parents. Once he tried to run away but the plan never materialized due to lack of money. Ruskin Bond has taken great efforts to precisely show how money constraints make the childhood days more thrilling. Thus, in every character he remains something incomplete only to make him/her keep chasing that thing.

What are some common interests of children living in a small town when the technology was not prevalent? Of course, the answer lies in common interests like gossiping, collecting insects like butterfly, stari…