Lone Fox Dancing by Ruskin Bond

Ruskin Bond gives a stunningly honest account of his life till date coupled with tales of love, friendship and abandonment. He attributes his sanity to factors like ‘hope, love and pig-headedness’ without which, he says, he would not have survived into his eighties and remained in working order. Readers also get an insight into the factors that inspire him for writing and his love for nature which is quite apparent in his books.

“Yesterday I dreamed again that I was lost in a large city of blinding lights and traffic. I was feeling quite helpless, until a small boy took my hand and led me to the safety of these mountains that I know so well.”  Owen Ruskin Bond commences his autobiography with the above lines which say a lot about him and his temperament.

Born in Kasauli in 1934 to parents of English origin, Bond considers himself a ‘Son of India’ and has lived most of his life here. In this autobiography, he takes readers through the journey of his life, a rare and honest rendition without making a big fuss about his achievements.

The book has been divided into four parts and each part refers to the making or unravelling of a certain event in his life. It begins with his childhood experiences of listening to stories narrated by his cook, being of being pampered by the ayah and studying with the Royals of Jamnagar where his father had been employed as a tutor.  Bond’s parents separated when he was still a child and he was enrolled into the Bishop Cotton School in Shimla where he talks about his encounters with the school authorities and the boys who came from various backgrounds.

The book also talks about Bond’s determination to become a writer and his efforts to pen his first novel ‘The Room on the Roof’ which won him the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize in 1956. He went to England where he worked for a few years but the dream of being a writer always nudged at him. This made him return to India to pursue writing and become one of India’s most loved writers.

Ruskin Bond’s stories always have a beautiful charm about them which make them loved by both children and adults. His myriad descriptions have the ability to propel a reader into the situation. A visit to the local chaat shop would make a reader salivate while an experience about a walk in the mountains would bring with it a sound of rustling leaves and a sense of calm.

The book is exactly what it should be – an autobiography where Bond has described his life without any embellishments.  It is full of his experiences with people and mountains and he does not tread on his feats despite being the recipient of prestigious awards like the Sahitya Akademi Award, Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan!

This is one book which can be enjoyed by voracious readers as well as beginners. The language is quite simple to read and understand.  The little everyday stories scattered all over the book will make you reminisce about your childhood and bring a big smile to your face!

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