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Book Review: A Long Walk with Granny by Ruskin Bond

A Long Walk with Granny is a short story written by Ruskin Bond, like most of his other stories; this too explores the lives of hill people. This story, in particular, highlights the basic struggle of the people that is enrooted in the foothills of the Himalaya.

As the story goes, Mani is an eleven-year-old boy raised by his maternal grandmother, who cannot see things exactly. She is apparently blind and her spectacles are spotted and full of scratches, they are over ten years old. Quite a long time for a single pair of spectacles! It’s pity that she cannot see the boy whom she loved most and raised by herself. The boy’s mother died when he was just a year old.

Mani’s father insists that a new pair of spectacles be arranged for granny. But she refuses as she cannot think of going away leaving Mani alone. Thus, Mani decides to go with her. The nearest eye hospital is in Mussoorie from their village – almost two days journey. First, they need to walk till Nain, there they will stay at uncle’s place and then will catch a bus next day for Mussoorie.

In light drizzle, they start their journey downhill – it is twelve miles till Nain. They are carrying a leaking umbrella, food and a bedroll. While they walk, Ruskin expertly describes the beautiful nature of the hills, like dahlias flowers, trees, far-off mountains, passing-by mules, and so on…
At Nain, they stay with his uncle for a night. Next morning, Mani takes bath in the Sarayu River, which is considered sacred because it is a tributary of the Ganges River.

They set off for Mussoorie on a bus, mid-way the bus stops due to heavy landslide occurred previous night. Some people go back to Nain on the same bus, while a few courageous souls hike towards Mussoorie, a distance of ten miles. Mani and granny also walk and climb through the mountains. In Mussoorie, hotels are expensive; hence, they stay at a Dharamshala near a temple.

In the hospital, when granny gets a right pair of spectacles, she fills with excitement and mirth upon seeing Mani. She is seeing him first time. Next day, they shop together and then take the bus back to Nain. While in the bus everyone is silent or sleeping, granny is enjoying the beauty of nature and valleys.


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