Author: Ruskin Bond
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Speaking Tiger Books
Publishing Date: 10 February 2015
Cost: Rs. 252 (Paperback), Rs.239 (Kindle edition)
This much I can tell you,’ writes Ruskin Bond in his introduction to this journal, ‘for all its hardships and complications, life is simple.’ Drawing upon a lifetime’s experience in the hills and small towns of north India, he records the many small moments that constitute a life of harmony—with the self, the natural world, and friends, family and passers-by. In these pages, we watch a wild plum blossom and the moon come up between two deodar trees; we hear a redstart whistle and the rain drum on a tin roof; we recognize the ache of losing love and the consolation of old companions.
This book is a series of episodes from Bond’s life, minutely observed and recorded. They are written as poems and page-length anecdotes. From a ‘lonely fox on a moonlit night’ to a ‘tiny geranium’, nothing escapes him. He is sensitive:
“It’s life’s simple things that keep us from going crazy”
yet unsentimental with a dark humorous tone:
“I had to go through ECGs, ultrasounds…, and at the end of it all a fat bill designed to give me a heart attack.”
From the start, Bond’s intentions are clear : “In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.” Bond does just that. He stops and looks around. But, more importantly and fortunately for us, he files his observations in what the book’s subtitle says are “brief notes from the hills.”
‘A Book of Simple Living’ is filled with words of meditation and warm wistfulness, that to read it is to automatically slowdown from the traffic of life and reflect on the smaller things, which in one way or another are overlooked by us.
The simplicity of his writing is fascinating because his words connects to his readers. In his words, 'I want my readers to feel what I feel, to see what I see, and big words and big sentences come in the way of this sharing. It is clarity and honesty that I am striving to attain; there can be no lasting connection with my readers without these. And to be clear and open is to be simple.' There is indeed so much said in simple, non-complicated sentences, like:
“Somewhere in life
There must be someone
To take your hand
And share the torrid day.
Without the touch of love
There is no life, and we must fade away”
About the Author:
Ruskin Bond was born in Kasauli in 1934. He grew up in Jamnagar, Dehradun and Shimla, worked briefly in Jersey, London and Delhi, and moved to Mussoorie in the early 1960s to write full time. One of India’s best loved and most popular authors, Ruskin Bond has written over a hundred books of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, including the best-selling classics Room on the Roof (winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize), A Flight of Pigeons, The Blue Umbrella, Time Stops at Shamli, Night Train at Deoli, Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra (winner of the Sahitya Akademi Award) and Rain in the Mountains. He was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 1999 and the Padma Bhushan in 2014.