Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Ruskin Bond - Looking for the Rainbow

Reading Ruskin Bond for the first time as an adult turned out to be all about nostalgia. The book reminded me of all those Bond stories in English textbooks back in school (was there at least one every year, or does it just feel like that?)

In "Looking for the Rainbow", Bond indulges in an exercise in nostalgia himself, revisiting a golden year he spent with his father. The year was 1942, and the young Ruskin's parents had just split up. His mother takes him out of the "fun-less convent" where he had been "serving a two-year sentence" and sends him to Delhi to spend some time with his father.

His father, it turns out, isn't like normal fathers at all. He has a stamp collection, for one. And he is perfectly okay to let Ruskin spend time on his own at home.

Ruskin Bond brings to life a simpler time, pre-Independence India, a time when it was okay for a young boy to take a year off from school and stay at home with his father, playing with the local boys and watching movies and reading books and arranging the stamp collection.

But a year later, it's time for Bond to go back to school; his father is getting transferred and can't take him with him. Thankfully, the new school turns out to be much more fun than the old one, with eccentric teachers and nice kids he soon makes friends with.

More than the text, the illustrations are what make this book such a collectible. I don't know who Mihir Joglekar is, but I love what he has done for this book.

Bond lets the readers know at the beginning that he lost his father when he was a child. This knowledge makes "Looking for the Rainbow" a bittersweet book, the usual childhood carefreeness shadowed as it is by the thought of what is to come.

Overall, a short beautifully packaged book that would make a perfect gift for a young kid. 
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