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Book Review: Henry - The Chameleon by Ruskin Bond

Ruskin Bond has persistently written about nature and animals in his stories. Though in real life he does not have pet animals, still he cares for the environment where he lives. Also, on one occasion, he revealed that stories of animals entice readers of all age. The idea of writing stories about animals worked wonderfully for him.

‘Henry - The Chameleon’ is a short story by Ruskin Bond. As you can make out that from the title itself that, Henry is a name of a chameleon.

One day when Bond’s grandfather was walking to a friend’s home, he saw some people gathered at a garden gate, ready to kill a poor chameleon, who was out for sunning in winter. He brought it home. Ruskin, as a boy, would often tease the chameleon by ticking a finger at its ribs or placing his finger into its mouth. Henry always looked around with suspicion and never cared enough to bite Ruskin. Grandfather’s love for random and most ousted animals always irked grandmother. Henry didn’t create any trouble at home, but, somewhere else.

When the papayas in the garden ripened, grandmother filled a bucket for Mrs. Ghosh – the principle of a nursery school. Henry while searching for his food (insects) went inside the basket and did not come out. In the school, when Mrs. Ghosh was rummaging the basket for ripened ones, all of sudden Henry came out. Seeing a chameleon in the basket, she screamed out aloud in horror, another teacher too joined her. Henry was confused at the reaction of the ladies; it got so frightened that it ran away from the window.

The incident reached up to grandmother. She heaved a sigh of relief as no one could make out that the chameleon was theirs. After a few days, Ruskin found Henry sunning on the wall of the garden. Thereafter, it lived there and kept reducing the growth of insects.

Written in simple and lucid way, this story is satirical in nature but highlights the human-animal relationship in a most funny way.


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