“All the pieces show Bond’s keen eye for detail. Some, as is his habit, are revisited from other collections, some are new and all make for comforting reading.”
NO MAJOR SPOILERS
A Biblically or musically named book depending on the fancy of the reader, Ruskin Bond’s A Time for All Things is a collection of essays and sketches that span a wide range of things like the seasons and the flowers they bring to Mussoorie or various places that Bond happened to visit or people he met and funny anecdotes.
He mourns the passing of the tonga that he always found more convenient than cars on trips to Haridwar and mentions that it will vanish like the tramcar and the rhino which is a telling comment.
Bond has the kind of wisdom to his pieces that one associates with his long stay in the hills and his closeness to nature, a Wordworthian kind of meditation. For him cities are places of bustle and stress where he finds himself unable to cross the crowded roads without help and the highways that lead to the cities are dangerous at night – his half brother dies in a car crash at night, Tom Alter is deserted in a mustard field by a drunken driver though without ill consequences in that case. Cities are redolent of loneliness where he is consoled by a mice and pigeons that remind him of a wider world without cages.
All the pieces show Bond’s keen eye for detail. Some, as is his habit, are revisited from other collections, some are new and all make for comforting reading. For readers they form a means of escape from the harsh realities of the everyday.
There is of course a sigh somewhere at the heart of Bond’s essays because he is aware that what he loves so much is ultimately a world under threat.
Added 31st May 2018