I was having a hard time choosing from the collection of Ruskin Bond. ‘Check this out, it’s the latest book,’ said the owner of Cambridge Book depot, the place at which, Ruskin Bond visits every Saturday.
Attractive cover and tongue twisters in titles, I picked it up. A gallery of Rascals: My favorite Tales of Rogues, Rapscallions, and Ne’er-Do-Wells.
This book is a collection of 30 odd stories and it’s not an easy read because, Ruskin Bond’s reflective writing tempts you to put the book aside and reflect on your life. Ruskin Bond can talk about anything. Be it about the birds that perch on his windows, bottles that were laid on the table during winters and about the elders he hung out with during his childhood.
I’m a big fan of Ruskin’s uncle Ken. Tales of Ken are funny and nevertheless introspective. I discovered two tales of Ken, ‘ZigZag Walk’ ‘At Sea with Uncle Ken.’ Uncle Ken is a star and he brings out the joy in his life by doing nothing, literally ‘nothing’ all the time.
Then are the tales that included his Grandparents. ‘Grandfather’s private Zoo,’ had as many as stories as one could find. Ruskin’s observations have got him to write about the hornbill’s, the chameleon Henry, the crow Ceasar, and many more creatures. I enjoyed reading about these creatures through Ruskin’s observation.
Ruskin’s observations seemed to be unprejudiced. He’s curious about everything and his observation with reflections brings out the enjoyable prose.
Above mentioned do not deserve the title of Rascals. The stories, ‘Strychnine in Cognac, Susanna’s seven husband’s, Job Well done, Masterji,’ are some of the stories that are full of rascals and rogues. The crimes, cruelty, violence written in a jolly manner. I sighed after every story for, the story ended and also the way it left me with a mix of various experiences. Ruskin's writings are honest and witty.
Thoroughly enjoyed it.
On reading this book, I reflected on my own life experiences by writing around ten pages. Ruskin Bond’s books are the route to walk back into the memory lanes of the childhood and relive the memories. Thanks, Bond for sharing the stories.