Skip to main content

Book Review: The Playing Fields of Shimla by Ruskin Bond

Probably, the short story ‘The Playing Fields of Shimla’ is based on some part of Ruskin’s life. In the story, it is given that the narrator, a boy of around ten, (Ruskin himself) becomes dull and melancholy in life after losing his father two years ago, and his mother is married to someone else. So, in a sense, he is like a complete orphan with no moral support.

But in some way, he is happy being in a boarding school in Shimla. In the school, he made no friends and spending time roaming here and there – passing time with nature. Other boys of the boarding school are rowdy who believe in torturing teachers by different ways. Clearly, no match for a silent chap like Ruskin.

Then, he begins noticing a silent boy like him, his name is Omar. He too does not mingle with others. Ruskin senses that he may be a fatherless chap like him. They find a bonding being developing between both of them. But the rules of the boarding school aren’t lax enough to allow them for mingling. They both belong to different houses – so they cannot be friends. However, soon they participate in a hockey match – they are in one team. Ruskin as a goalkeeper and Omar as a full back. This is the point when their conversation starts and they become good friends.

In the backyard of the premises, they discover a hidden tunnel that goes outside. They sit there for hours conversing about WW-II and other topics but mostly about books. While searching more about the history of the school, Ruskin finds his father’s name ‘Aubrey Alexandra’ inscribed on the merit list of the school. He graduated from the same school.

The story dates back to pre-independence days. When India is about to get its independence, the county passes through partition pain. The need for another nation called Pakistan arose and that was the time when riots broke in otherwise peaceful Shimla. Omar is from Karachi. Omar and other Muslim boys are sent to Karachi in a military truck as per the arrangements. Ruskin is left behind, again aloof and alone.

After that he didn’t hear from Omar. Ruskin wrote him many letters but to no avail. Many years later when India was at war with Pakistan in 1965, Ruskin hears of a jet plane shot down by the Indian Air Force and the pilot of the plane was Omar. Ruskin is of the opinion that while flying over the fields of Punjab, Omar’s heart must have been filled with the memories that some part of his life, especially childhood, was spent in this country. It must have been difficult for him to bomb the place where he spent his days of childhood.

This story takes a deep and meaningful stance on friendship. How political circumstances force people to part unwittingly and play their destinies against the rhythm of the life.


Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Blue Umbrella by Ruskin Bond

Among all Ruskin Bond books, The Blue Umbrella has, so far, gathered immense applaud from readers and critics alike.  This is a short novel, but the kind of moral lessons it teaches to us are simply overwhelming. This is a story of Binya, a poor little girl living with her mother and an elder brother, Bijju, in a small hilly village of Garhwal. One day while herding her two cows back home, she stumbles upon some city people enjoying the picnic in the valley. She is enthralled to see them well-groomed and rich. She craves to be one like them and among many other things of their, a blue frilly umbrella catches her attention. She begins craving for it. On the other hand, the city people get attracted by her innocent beauty and the pendant in her neck. The pendant consists of leopard’s claw – which is considered a mascot widely in the hills. Binya trades her pendant off with the blue umbrella. The blue umbrella is so much beautiful that soon it becomes a topic of conversation fo

Poem Summary: Where The Mind Is Without Fear by Rabindranath Tagore

Poem by Rabindranath Tagore: Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high Where knowledge is free Where the world has not been broken up into fragments By narrow domestic walls Where words come out from the depth of truth Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit Where the mind is led forward by thee Into ever-widening thought and action Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake. Short Summary: This poem is written by Rabindranath Tagore during pre-independence days, when India was a colony of the British. The underlying theme of the poem is absolute freedom; the poet wants the citizens of his country to be living in a free state. According to the poem, we see that the poet is expressing his views there should be a country, like where people live without any sort of fear and with pure dignity…they should

Character Sketch of Binya from ‘The Blue Umbrella’ by Ruskin Bond

The Blue Umbrella by Ruskin Bond is a popular children’s story. It features Binya as the main character, though there are other important characters as well, but the story revolves around Binya and her little beautiful umbrella. The story is widely popular among children, thus it has also been included in the schools’ syllabus all across the country. Since it is often taught in the school, thus the character sketch of Binya is often demanded by students from year to year. Character Sketch of Binya from The Blue Umbrella by Ruskin Bond Binya is the main character of the novel ‘The Blue Umbrella’ by Ruskin Bond. Her full name is Binyadevi. As in the hills or anywhere in India it is a kind of trend to call children with their short nicknames. Binya’s elder brother’s name is Bijju, whereas his real name is Vijay. Binya aged eleven is a hilly girl. She lives with her small family in the hills of Garhwal. Her father died when she was two years of age. For sustenance, the