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Book Review: A Night Walk Home by Ruskin Bond

A Night Walk Home by Ruskin Bond is a beautifully written short story that talks about the night ambience which the narrator often experiences in Landour – a small place in Mussoorie. Also, the story is very informative as it tells as how a night can be spent in the mountains, like the foothills of the Himalayas.

The theme of nature and wildlife conservation is too strong and Ruskin has used various animals and birds to depict his conviction for saving from any sort of trouble. The story is of one night when the narrator was walking back home midnight in the mountains. One can relate more with his experiences by going through the following excerpts:

"No night is so dark as it seems. Here in Landour, on the first range of the Himalayas, I have grown accustomed to the night's brightness - moonlight, starlight, lamplight, firelight! Even fireflies light up the darkness."

Clearly, the narrator loves night as he does not reckon it with darkness, rather he finds light in many forms. It gives him privacy and freedom, and he feels safer at night. But it does not mean that he goes to any place in the mountains where danger lurks for sure.

Though he senses, sees, and hears animals and birds every night. The author feels that walking home at midnight in Landour can be quite eventful, but in a different sort of way. One is conscious all the time of the silent life in the surrounding trees and bushes. He has smelt a leopard without seeing it. He has seen jackals on prowl. He has watched a lone fox dancing in the moonlight. He has seen squirrels flitting from tree to another. Not only this he has witnessed pine marten taking night journey, heard nightjars, and a variety of owls and owlets going for freedom flight at night. The author explores the sound of owls, according to their categories. However, he takes it a libel where one random author compares the hooting of an owl with a motorcycle sound. This is not true. Had it been the case, the jungle could have been full of motorcycles that make interesting and appealing sound and people could sleep peacefully.

It is interesting to note that Ruskin puts that no matter what sound nature produces it never disturbs the sleep of humans. And humans just do the other. In the story there are various interesting instances of nightly feel, you will like the story if you enjoy and have that nocturnal instinct.


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