April-May is school vacation; schools close for the summer and families plan to escape the heat and head for the hill stations⛰. Our routine in Kerala for several years was to hop into our car and drive to my parents home. The kid and grandparents are ecstatic to see each other and I am happy to simply laze about the house eating and sleeping. It was bliss !
But after shifting to Bangalore, we have been a bit more adventurous in planning our vacations and in our hill station escapades, so far we have been to Coonoor and Ooty in Tamil Nadu in the south and Dharamshala and Dalhousie in Himachal Pradesh in the north. 👉Dainkund Trek @Dalhousie – Walk in the clouds
This time we are Bangalore bound but there is no reason not to visit the hills via a good book – a Ruskin Bond book set in Mussoorie situated on the foothills of the Himalayas in the northern state of Uttarakhand. The book is titled Landour Days – his home town in Mussoorie; a second hand book from Blossom on Church Street 👉A Sunday browsing second hand books🍭📚
The book is an excerpt of his journal. The author has the habit of maintaining a journal right from his school days. Though he is not a slave to updating every minute in his journal, it helps him to see how far he has journeyed and reflection of the thought processes and observations of everyday which has translated to this charming book.
The book is divided into the seasons prevalent in the hill station – summer, winter, monsoon and autumn. We start with summer. The author’s connect with nature is what is most alluring🌸. Another interesting aspect is his habit of maintaining lists, which includes topics such as – advice to writers, simple pleasures, epigrams📝.
Here’s one of Ruskin Bond’s epigrams – Worry: The interest paid on trouble before it becomes due !😊 and an absolute revelation is – Sympathy: What one woman offers another in exchange for details ! 😂
July and August are the rainy months in the hills; followed by two months of autumn and then winter❄️. The author talks about peculiarities and eccentricities of ordinary people who suddenly become very interesting. And here is invaluable his advice to writers – “Writing is not simply about words. Are you observant? Can you tell the difference between a sparrow and a sparrow-hawk?”
He shares the story of seeing his work in print for the first time in the magazine Illustrated Weekly of India. Early morning, on the first day that his story appeared in the magazine, after the newspaper stand owner Mr. Gupta, the other being to see his story was a cow on the road🐮
“See here, friend cow,” I said, displaying the magazine to the ruminating animal, “Here’s the first instalment of my novel. What do you think of it?”….The cow looked at the magazine with definite interest. Those crisp new pages looked good to eat. She craned forward as if to accept my offer of breakfast, but I snatched the magazine away.…
The author manages his days – good and bad in quiet curiosity and with a sense of humour. Another plus is how the author sees a magical world right outside his window☘️. He claims to be a bad traveller but with his attention to the minutiae, he really doesn’t have to go far to get us fabulous stories. It’s a delightful read, apt for the holidays.
Till next post, take care !!