Ruskin Bond is one of the best storytellers of India and undoubtedly globally. He has been awarded by the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan. But his readers know him otherwise.
He is Rusty, the seventeen year old boy who does not like his strict uncle. He is the young man making to make his ends meet and pining for a girlfriend. He is little girl Binya with a blue umbrella. He is also a detective, he is also the blind man flirting with the girl on the train. He is a kid, a grandmother, a teacher and the student.
Ruskin Bond has something for everyone. A world of tales for children, young adults and grown-ups. There is politics, love, mystery and the finest horror.
It is perhaps impossible to pick his best short stories, poems or collection but we can surely tell our favourite. Here is the list, tell us yours in the comment below.
Best Books And Stories Of Ruskin Bond
The Room on the Roof
At the age of only seventeen, Ruskin Bond penned his very first novel The Room on the Roof. This book bagged the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize, 1957 aptly showing what was to come in future from the talented author.
The Room on the Roof is a story about a teenage Anglo Indian boy Rusty who lives with his over disciplinarian uncle. The story revolves around his growing and standing up against the vain strictness of his uncle and running away from home to new life and new friends. It is believed that this touching story is based on the life of Ruskin Bond himself and the name of the protagonist Rusty, is also borrowed from Ruskin Bond’s nick name.
Vagrants in the Valley
Vagrants in the Valley is what happens to Rusty after The Room on the Roof. New friends, new adventures. Growing up, maturing. It reflects all of us in a way as the author shows how growing up binds us to the world and our free spirit seems free no more. It is a heartfelt tale that will remind us of our old precious days.
The Blue Umbrella
A beautiful story, The Blue umbrella is a tale of innocence, jealousy and coming of age. The story is about Binya, a joyful girl who acquires an attractive blue umbrella. The umbrella and the girl is loved by all in the village. However, Ram Bharosa who is a shopkeeper gets obsessed with the umbrella and wants it by hook or crook. As Binya rejects to sell her umbrella, his reputation goes downhill in his fanaticism to get it. At last, Binya has a change of heart and to make things good again, she decides to give him her blue umbrella.
The Blue Umbrella was also adapted as a Hindi film which won the National Film Award for Best Children’s Film.
It was also made into a beautiful comic book by Amar Chitra Katha, you can see the book here.
A Handful of Nuts
In his book A Handful of Nuts, Ruskin Bond the author and the character grows out of his teenage years and is trying to survive adolescence. Living alone he spends most of his time with friends. They are struggling with adolescence and finances but their life has no dearth of escapades. Girlfriends to vagaries of weather and people, it is a story of how we all become adults.
A Handful of Nuts is a standalone novel as well as the name for a collection of other novels including itself.
A Flight of Pigeons
This book is set during the tensed times of 1857 when the Indian soldiers rebelled against the British. Here is a narration from the eyes of a British girl Ruth who seeks help of other Indian families to reach to safety. Her father has been killed and she is scared and seeks protection.
The story is partly based on truth. While on one side the foreigners face fear, they also face warmth and hospitality from their Indian friends.
The Hidden Pool
Stories of Ruskin Bond are the tales of natural wonders and friendship. One of the best stories for children, it is equally enjoyable for grown-ups.
The Hidden Pool is about a boy named Laurie who makes Indian friends and opens up to a timeless adventure. One of the gifts Ruskin Bond leaves for us is to show India through the perspective of British and Anglo Indians and how they become another part of the country.
A Face In The Night
Ruskin Bond was undoubtedly the master of storytelling and when it came to horror stories, he perfected it. The success of a horror story is dependent on the depiction of fear, location and circumstances.
A Face in the Night is a short story and one of the most well known. Based on a teacher Mr. Oliver, this story takes you through the charming pine forests of Shimla that turn chilling to the bone, thanks to the magic of the pen. Mr. Oliver is not afraid walking all alone through the pine forest in darkness. However he meets a faceless boy and things change forever.
The Eyes Have It
Another short story from a collection, The Eyes Have It is a story you would not get to read every day. The story is narrated by the protagonist who is blind, yet young and full of vigor. He meets a young woman in a train journey and enjoys her company. It is interesting to see that this man is attracted to her character and intellect contrary to her body which is usually the subject of interest in many men.
The narrator is confident and does not think that his blindness makes him lesser than any other man. At the same time, he is a little nervous because the young woman does not know he is blind and wonders how she will react.
Funny and heartfelt, Masterji is a short read for all. Ruskin Bond in his short story has so well visualized the bond that teachers and students share even after decades.
Narrated in the first person, he suddenly meets his Hindi teacher after twenty years as he stood for his train on the platform. However, it comes as a shock as his respected teacher Mr. Khushal is taken handcuffed by the police. Mr. Khushal has done something which is against the law but it was for his students.
Getting Granny’s Glasses
One of the nicest stories for children, Getting Granny’s Glasses wins every reader’s heart. The story explores the beautiful bond between the kid and a grandmother as well as the stark truth that in spite of old age, our grannies are more determined and have more stamina than us.
In this novella, Mani accompanies his granny to the city to get her a new pair of glasses. Granny is seventy, her old glasses are so scratched that she cannot even see how much her grandson has grown up. However, the road to the city is a long one. With little money, rains and landslide, can they make it?
Who Kissed me in the Dark?
This is a collection of the finest twenty tales of Ruskin Bond including a short story of that name. The tales will make you dream of the hills and mountains, enchanting nature and dreamy times. There is love, suspense, beauty and emotions – all in one place. You can get the stories here.
The Night Train at Deoli and Other Stories
This is a collection of thirty amazing tales of Ruskin Bond. If you ever want a break from your hectic life, this is the book you want. With a cup of coffee, relax in your favourite corner and let yourself go. This book explore the deep emotions that we lose touch of in the pace of life. If you want the book get it here.
Ruskin Bond’s Children’s Omnibus
Wondering what to gift a kid on his birthday? Needless to say, books make the best gifts. Ruskin Bond’s Children’s Omnibus will be a treasure for any child. After 20 years when this kid is all grown up, he will remember this book with fond memories and thank you for it! Gift this book now.
A Short Biography Of Ruskin Bond
Born to British parents in India on May 19 1934, Ruskin Bond grew up studying in the beautiful hill station of Shimla. He also spend few years in Dehradun. Growing up in these Himalayan beauties, his stories were heavily influenced by the natural beauty of the hills and mountains.
As he was growing up, his parents went through a divorce and long after, he lost his father. By his teens, Mr. Bond had seen a lot of what we call as life. He took to writing and at the age of seventeen published his first novel, The Room on the Roof. It was the story of a boy named Rusty who is tired of living with his over-strict uncle and runs away. The story won him the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize, a prestigious prize awarded by the Commonwealth for the best author under the age of 35.
Rusty was the reflection of the Ruskin as he grew up and matured into an author. He came later in more stories – Vagrants in the Valley, Rusty the Boy from the Hills, Rusty Runs Away, Rusty and the Magic Mountain, Rusty goes to London, Rusty comes home and The Adventures of Rusty. Although Rusty is more like a semi-autobiography, it gives a deeper glimpse into the author’s life than any well formed autobiography.
Another book that reflects Ruskin Bond in another light is Rain in the Mountains: Notes from the Himalayas. There is a strange romanticism involved with the mountains. The form of the mountains, the trees on the slopes, the rains – all bring to light that remain otherwise unfathomless. Somewhere each one of us relate to him some way.
Honoured with Sahitya Academy Award, Padma Shri and the Padma Bhushan, Mr Bond has left a matchless legacy for readers, especially for young minds. The author has never married and lives in the charming town of Mussoorie among the hills and clouds and penning dreams.
Quotes of Ruskin Bond
“All glory comes from daring to begin.”
‘One sure way to lose the world and everything in it, is to try grasping it.’
“..and when all the wars are over, a butterfly will still be beautiful.”
“There’s nothing like home-grown vegetables for bringing two people together. Red roses for young lovers. French beans for longstanding relationships!”
“On books and friends I spend my money; For stones and bricks I haven’t any.”
“To be able to laugh and to be merciful are the only things that make man better than the beast.”
“It’s courage, not luck, that takes us through to the end of the road.”
“We cannot foresee when a bolt from the blue will put an end to the best-laid plans of mice and men.”
“Hinduism comes closest to being a nature religion. Rivers, rocks, trees, plants, animals, and birds all play their part, both in mythology and everyday worship. This harmony is most evident in remote places like this, and I hope it does not lose its unique character in the ruthless urban advance.”
“Live close to nature and you’ll never feel lonely. Don’t drive those sparrows out of your veranda; they won’t hack into your computer.”
“…for everytime I see the sky I’m aware of belonging to the universe than to just one corner of the earth.”
“And the earth itself. It smells differently in different places. But its loveliest fragrance is known only when it receives a shower of rain. And then the scent of wet earth rises as though it were giving something beautiful back to the clouds—a blend of all the fragrant things that grow in it.”
“Once you have lived with mountains, there is no escape. You belong to them.”
“The world may be in the grip of political and #financial upheaval, but that does not mean the ants should stop going about their business. Their #affairs are as serious as ours, and they make no noise about it.”
“In our imperfect world, there is far too much talk and not enough thought.”
“Well, it often happens that people with good eyesight fail to see what is right in front of them.”
- 10 lines of wisdom from R.K. Narayan – the man who created Malgudi
- Quotes of George Bernard Shaw- the King of Sass