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Character Sketch of Grandfather in the story ‘The Adventures of Toto’ by Ruskin Bond

Grandfather’s Private Zoo is a very popular novella about animals by Ruskin Bond. The targeted audiences of this story are children of India. And for this reason, many stories from the novella have been included in the syllabus of many schools across the country. As a matter of fact, wherever you find animal-related stories in Ruskin Bond books, it means there is his grandfather. You may find him either in the story or in the memory of the narrator i.e. Ruskin himself.


So, before understanding the animal stories of Ruskin Bond, you must peek into the character of his grandfather.

After reading many stories about animals written by Ruskin Bond, you will realize that his animal stories are incomplete without the mentioning of his grandfather. Since most of the animals’ stories are of that time when Ruskin was a young boy, thus it indicates that grandpa wasn’t too old. Had he been too old, he would have not kept animals at his home or indulged with them.

Coming to his nature, grandpa was mentally cool and composed person. He loved nature and of course animals. Many a time grandpa was summoned to help the hunters (coming from plain areas like Delhi, Lucknow or Punjab) going for long expeditions. Grandpa was also a wildlife enthusiast, thus he held vast knowledge about animals dwelling place in the jungles of the Himalayan forests. He went for Shikar party quite a number of times but he never killed any animal or bird because he loved animals and an animal lover could never cause harm to its subject. In a sense, he was simple and unpretentious.

Since grandpa couldn’t be away in the jungles all time; hence, he created a small private zoo at his place. He lived in Dehradun along with his wife, and during school holidays Ruskin would come to stay with him. Other than being interested in the animals, he too had a soft corner for animals. He had never beaten or ill-behaved with animals. Instead he saved animals from being mocked or hurt by people. For instance once he saw a pretty monkey tied to a feeding-trough by a tonga-driver, the monkey looked limited there; thus he bought as well as brought it home. He did the same thing with a python.

Grandmother never liked his animals and the private zoo. She loathed almost all his animals and birds. On the other hand, grandpa, despite being protested by her, always used to find brilliance in animals. None of the animals he brought home were decent or helper – rather they mocked guests and did damage to house commodities. Whenever any animal crossed the limit of indecency or caused unbearable trouble to grandma, he would then silently pack that animal and send it to its previous owner or sold to someone else or leave it in the faraway jungle. He tried keeping a variety of animals and his deepest desire was to make them friends with one another. Well, it didn’t happen, animals are not like us.

Also read the Adventures of Toto

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