“Delightfully illustrated, the book has an old fashioned kind of feel which goes very well with Bond’s those were the days persona.”

NO MAJOR SPOILERS

Until last year, Ruskin Bond kept his personal life fairly close to his chest – he wrote about his schooldays with his father before his father’s death and his grandparents but his relationship with his mother was rarely brought up.

Till the Clouds Roll by is the story of what happened to a ten-year-old boy after he had lost his father. According to Bond that was the year in which he actually grew up.

With no other relative to go to beyond his mother and with no knowledge of her new address, he found himself waiting on a railway platform to be collected for hours until finally he hailed a tonga and took himself off to his grandmother’s. His sharp tongued grandmother redirected him to a house surrounded by lychee trees and there, for a while, he settled down with his mother and stepfather, along with an assortment of brothers, half brothers and unrelated brothers. He encountered his stepfather’s first wife Bibiji who ran a shop and whose cash memos he occasionally ran up.

Some of these details have been encountered in stray narratives but Bond ties it together with encounters with nature – his child self watching a leopard slink by from a bungalow verandah, his wonder at the first snow he had ever seen and his moving from comics to adult fiction of the PG Wodehouse and Agatha Christie kind.

Delightfully illustrated, the book has an old fashioned kind of feel which goes very well with Bond’s those were the days persona.

 

Reviewed by:

Anjana Basu

Added 31st January 2018

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Anjana Basu