Book Review: The Haunted Bicycle by Ruskin Bond

The narrator doesn’t have a name but for sure it is Rusty, since this story is a part of the book ‘Rusty Comes Home’. A year ago Rusty had bought a bicycle to commute to Shahganj from the village for collecting mail and newspaper and to drink cups of tea. The road to Shahganj passes through a lonely jungle, hardly to be seen a soul after dusk. One evening when Rusty is returning to the village in which he lives he finds a boy standing alone in the forest. When asked the reason for being at this scary place in the darkness, he said he is waiting for his elder sister. The face and features of the boy were not visible as it was dark. The boy sits on the crossbar and after some time when the lantern light falls on the figure, Rusty takes that girl as his sister. She sets herself on the carrier seat even before Rusty could ask her any details.


While paddling the bicycle Rusty feels that the weight on the cycle is increasing and they were not responding to his questions properly. Rusty suggested taking rest but they both shouted and told him to continue riding. With great difficulty Rusty sees that the hands of the boy have grown long, black and hairy. Rusty becomes scared and at this moment the bicycle wobbles, and they both shout in unison in a menacing voice unlike children and instruct him to ride properly. When he looks back he observes that the girl’s legs too have grown long, black and hairy. They tell him to stop near the stream; well before he could apply the brakes the bicycle collides with the stone and topples up. When Rusty gets up following a fit of unconsciousness, he sees the sparkling moonlight and finds that two small black buffaloes are staring at him from the sparkling muddy water.

The narrative is humorous, sure to dole out guffaws of laughter to the readers. The Haunted Bicycle is an amazing story by the master writer of the hills, and it is funny to observe how the ghosts and spirits surround the misty tops and milky streams.

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