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'A Time for All Things: Collected Essays and Sketches' review: The mountain air

A Time for All Things: Collected Essays and Sketches
Ruskin Bond
Speaking Tiger
₹499

A Time for All Things: Collected Essays and Sketches Ruskin Bond Speaking Tiger ₹499  

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Encountering ‘miracles’ in the lap of nature

This is a book that can be dipped into at will. You don’t have to read it from first page to the last. Just go through the list of contents and pick the essay that seems to fit your mood. A Time For All Seasons: Collected Essays and Sketches is a collection of short pieces neatly divided into seven sections. It doesn’t matter what the topic is, Ruskin Bond’s writing is the charm that draws the reader in.

For All Seasons is centred on Nature. Bond goes into rhapsodies about a mountain stream, birds, trees, plants and animals without boring the reader. ‘The Leopard’ is a moving tale of how humans cannot let things lie. ‘The Trail to the Bank’ ends with that rare species: a bank manager who is more interested in catching sight of the first redstart than in his customer’s deposits. The only grouse is that the same descriptions — down to identical words — keep getting repeated in essay after essay.

‘Family and Friends’ contains another set of gems. The first is a poignant account the last time he saw his father. Next comes a tale of a myna that his grandfather adopted with rather hilarious consequences. ‘The Postman Knocks’ (A Writer’s Life) is a potted history of the postal department.

‘The Further One Goes’ is about pilgrimage and tourist spots. Bond moves back and forth between past and the present to give the reader a word picture of the place. In this section, Bond often quotes from writings of the British officials and adventurers to show the place grew over time. ‘On the Highway’ has an amusing tale of actor Tom Alter’s trip from Mussoorie to Delhi with an inebriated driver at the wheel.

‘Bond uses India: People and Places’ to reaffirm that, to him, home is India. He talks about his memories of Partition, the people he has met and continues to meet. A few humorous sketches and musings complete the book. With short essays — the longest is a couple of pages — this works as a great introduction to someone who has not read Ruskin Bond.

A Time for All Things: Collected Essays and Sketches; Ruskin Bond, Speaking Tiger, ₹499.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 12:36:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/books/books-reviews/a-time-for-all-things-collected-essays-and-sketches-review-the-mountain-air/article23699254.ece

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