Skip to main content

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 predicament of poor hilly men who for the sake of sustaining their family come out of their villages to work either in the popular hill stations like Mussoorie or got to plains and return as dark-complexioned men. Options for them are limited, lucky ones get recruited in the army while most of them engaged themselves in the domestic services. Prem could not get into the army since he has a deformity in his leg: he got that during a landslide.

Prem appears after a year or so, again hunting for a job. This time Rusty appoints him in a school as a cook. Headmaster’s wife likes his cooking as well as his clean behavior. But she fails to develop any sort of intimacy with him; as a result he is fired on some false accusations.

Other than Prem’s misery, Ruskin Bond also talks about the loneliness that fills the life of a writer. To support this he often throws references of the night’s silence in a hilly place, nocturnal sounds, howling of foxes and wolves; and chirping of the birds in the day and sunshine and so on.

Prem has been disappeared for longer time than Rusty had thought. According to his uncle’s words, Prem’s whereabouts are to be found in Lucknow. One summer Rusty goes to Lucknow for some work but he also tries to find him but to no avail. Soon his uncle leaving Rusty’s home goes down to work in Dehradun. Rusty lives alone and manages all his household chores by himself.

In November Rusty goes for a long walk through the Landour Bazaar and up the Tehri Road. It is dark by the time he returns to the outskirts of the town. A stranger was waiting for him on the road. When Rusty walks past him, he hears the following lines:

If I am not for myself,
Who will be for me?
And if I am not for others,
What am I?
And if not now, when?

Rusty startles with the memory of these words of Hillel, the ancient Hebrew sage. He walks back to the youth and found that it is Prem. Together they walk home in the bright moonlight.


Popular posts from this blog

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

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: Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Ozymandias is a short poem of fourteen lines written by Percy Bysshe Shelley. The concurrent theme of the poem is that nothing remains intact and same forever in this world. Even the brightest of metal, one day decays with passage of time. The throne name of Egyptian King Ramesses is Ozymandias. It was his dearest desire to preserve himself forever by building a huge statue that he thought would never tumble down. Stanza 1: I met a traveller from an antique land Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand, Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown, And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command, Tell that its sculptor well those passions read Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things, The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed; Summary: The poet narrates the poem through the eyes of a traveler who seems to have come back from a remote and far-away land, referring to Egypt. The traveler r