A wonderful collection of stories from Kashmir and Dehra that make for a compelling read.

Stories by Ruskin Bond are timeless. Here's a new book that is sure to fascinate and transport you to a world that has long since vanished. No, it is not Science fiction.

The Kashmiri Storyteller takes you to a time children could walk around alone on cold winter evenings, make friends easily and Landour bazaar was still a charming place to be in.

He penned these stories 40 years ago, he says. And the teller of these stories is an integral part of the book. He is an old Kashmiri story teller who, “on a winter's evening, would light his angithi and entertain the children who came to his shop in the Landour bazaar”. Most of the stories are set in Kashmir, but the children to whom the story teller told his stories are still around – though of course much older now!

A collection of 11 stories, each of them interesting as well as intriguing. It starts of with a simple story of the Man-Whom-Nothing-Could-Please. The stories warm up as he moves on to tell stories about the wise Kazi who can understand that a crow can carry a message. While some are spooky like The Hill of the Forty Brothers, some are romantic like Seven Brides for Seven Princes and In the Land of the Peris, and some like A Very Tall Story are so funny that you find yourself laughing aloud.

The illustrations are charming and visually appealing. The stories written in Bond's inimitably easy style make it a pleasure to read.

Here's another offering from Bond that takes you back in time. A time when Bond himself was a school boy living with his grandparents in Dehra Dun. He leads a rather interesting life, nothing like what a child of today can even dream of. Today, your days would be filled with tuition and extra curricular activities, scurrying from one place to another until you fall exhausted into bed. But Bond's days are filled with the various animals that his grandparents have in their house and the innumerable relations that come and go. There is also beloved Uncle Ken, the source of so many stories. And of course, school formed a small part of his life.

So meet Toto the monkey, Timothy the tiger, Popeye the parrot, a pet python and more. You get to read about his adventure when he tries to run away, his excitement when he learns he is going away to England and once there his realisation that he misses India. Simply written the stories draw you into a lovely idyllic world you wish you could belong to.

THE KASHMIRI STORYTELLER, Rs. 250; THE ADVENTURES OF RUSTY, Rs. 299 by Ruskin Bond, Puffin