Wednesday, August 03, 2011

The Real Bond :)

A Short Biographical sketch of my favourite writer.

(As published in  "Ruskin Bond." Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2011. Literature Resource Center. Web. 3 Aug. 2011.

Born in India to British parents, author Ruskin Bond paints sensitive, colorful portraits of life in his native country to capture the imagination of his young readers. One of India's most noted children's authors, he depicts the many facets of India's natural and social landscape through his simple stories--from a temple near a quiet, rural village or a bazaar in a small provincial town to a narrow city street brimming with buses, bicycles, and the clamor of people. As Bond notes in his Rain in the Mountains: Notes from the Himalayas, "I have been writing in order to sustain the sort of life I like to lead--unhurried, even-paced, sensual, in step with the natural world, most at home with humble people."
A natural storyteller, Bond found that his talent enabled him to make a living away from the more highly industrialized, congested areas of India. Following the philosophy he outlined in "What's Your Dream?," an autobiographical essay from 1982's A Garland of Memories, Bond has found "a room of his own" at Ivy Cottage, a house in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains, and has pursued his single dream by dedicating his life to being a storyteller.
Bond had his first success as a writer very early in his career. In fact, he was not even twenty when he published The Room on the Roof, a novel that dealt with growing up in a changing India. When Rusty, the tale's orphaned protagonist, discovers that he is of mixed Indian-English heritage, he decides to strike out on his own and work as a tutor in the town of Dehra Dun. His naive romantic relationship with the mother of his young charge leads to discovery by her alcoholic husband. Rusty is forced to leave the life he has made for himself and move to another city to find a new place in society. Although Helen W. Coonley senses the author's youth--Bond was seventeen when he wrote the novel--and notes in Kliatt that The Room on the Roof incorporates a somewhat immature outlook, she concludes that "though awkward in parts, the book is still fresh and likable." The Room on the Roof was the winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize in 1957, an annual award given to a quality work of fiction written by a resident of the British Commonwealth (which then included India) under the age of thirty.
The Room on the Roof made its author something of a celebrity in India, not only because of his young age but because he was able to capture the spirit of the land and its people so sensitively through his fiction. Throughout his twenties Bond continued to write adult novels about his childhood, not turning to writing for children until he had reached his thirties. Since then, he has written numerous stories and poems that capture his nostalgia for the days of his boyhood: the natural beauty and tranquility of his grandparent's home and the close, secure, loving relationships that he experienced with friends and family.
"Bond illustrates his vision of childhood as a carefree age of mischief and joy where the only worries are associated with cricket matches, beetle races, and parental anger at bad report cards," explains Meena Khorana in Twentieth-Century Children's Writers. "In this comfortable and familiar world, there is a sense of security in friendship and the love and guidance of adults." In books such as The Cherry Tree, The Adventures of Rusty, and Getting Granny's Glasses, relationships among friends and family are warmly illustrated through incidents in the lives of each of Bond's youthful characters. The Cherry Tree, for example, is Bond's heartwarming story of six-year-old Rakhi's attempt to grow a cherry tree from a seed. A Publishers Weekly reviewer praises the book as "abound[ing] with quiet wisdom and love of life."
Drama and suspense are often found in Bond's fiction for children. In Flames in the Forest, young Romi finds himself caught in a forest fire. He and another boy must help each other race to the river--along with frightened birds and animals and even an elephant herd--to escape the smoke and flames. The determined Romi and his partner manage to survive the tragedy in a story that Ellen D. Warwick describes in School Library Journal as full of "action, suspense, local color, even a bit of humor."
Angry River is another of Bond's dramatic adventures. The novel features a young girl who has been left alone on her island home while her grandfather takes his dying wife to the hospital. As the river surrounding her island rises, Sita climbs a tree to safety; after the tree is washed downriver by the raging water, she is rescued by the providential appearance of a boy in a boat. "The power and size of the river, the fear and the danger are all present," states a Times Literary Supplement reviewer, "as is the sense of smallness in a vast world. . . . This really is India you feel."
"At the heart of [Bond's] writings is the value placed on simplicity and a selfless attitude toward life," explains Khorana. "Although the stories deal with the pleasures of humble people, their lives are enriched by meaningful experiences and a profound insight into life." Bond himself gains much of his inspiration from his surroundings and develops many of his ideas for children's books on the long walks he takes on the mountains near his home. "My interests (mountains, animals, trees, wild flowers) are embodied in these and other writings," Bond once explained. "I live in the foothills of the Himalayas and my window opens out on the forest and the distant snow-peaks--the highest mountains in the world. . . . I sit here and, inspired by the life of the hill people and the presence of birds and trees, write my stories and poems." Of his preoccupation with the landscape that features so prominently in his work, Bond once explained, "Once you have lived in the mountains, you belong to them and must come back again and again. There is no escape." 

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

कभी कभी

कभी रात हमको सतायेगी, कभी हम उनको सताते हैं
वो अलसायी गरमी सा झुंझलाते हैं, हम आहें भर रह जाते हैं

कभी वो ख़ामोशी में आवाज़ हैं, खतो का इंतज़ार हैं
यूं तो उनके बहाने हज़ार हैं, कुछ डूब गए कुछ पार हैं

कभी कलियों की चटख रुखसार पर ले हँसी बहाते हैं 
लालिमा सूरज की लेकर गुस्से में सब पिघलाते हैं

कभी वो जुल्फों में उलझाते हैं, कभी यूंही बातें बनाते हैं 
कभी बिन सावन बरसात सा बस यूँही बरस जाते हैं

कभी धुप से नाराजगी, कभी भीड़ से घबराते हैं
कभी बेवजह के नखरों पर मेरी हामी चाहते हैं

कभी मैं भी उनसा बनता हूँ, हाँ में हाँ भर देता हूँ
वैसे तो करता नहीं पर उनकी खातिर कर लेता हूँ

आँखों में भरकर रातें, सपनो में दिन भर लेता हूँ
वो प्यार लड़कपन वाला अब भी, कभी कभी कर लेता हूँ

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

NEWs - 1


Of late I have been listening quite a bit of classical stuff, both Western and Hindustani classical. It seemingly started with a list of greatest classical composers of all times published in some magazine of repute (I forgot the name but I think it was NY Times), that ranked top ten western classical greats, including the likes of Mozart, Beethoven, Bach and others. What intrigued me was the presence of certain artists who I had no idea about. Barring the usual suspects like Mozart, Bach etc, there were fewer names that I knew. Guys like Wagner, Schubert, Handel and others, who are very well renowned but are not so famous amongst average Indian fellows like me whose knowledge about Western Classical is limited to that gained through high school textbooks which often limit themselves to Mozart and Beethoven.
Aided by Grooveshark I have so far embarked on my little journey towards understanding and appreciating the work of these great masters. Needless to say that my enthusiasm and excitement is purely that of a listener seeking musical euphoria and ecstasy through these masterpieces and not of someone who is trying to build his knowledge in western classical. I guess so far I have been able to develop a bit of taste for this kind of music and I am glad for taking this small positive step.
Similar is my journey to the Indian Classical. Indian classical music reminds me of few things; Doordarshan's Shastriya Sangeet ka Karyakram, which sounded so bore during childhood and 'Call of the Valley' a Hariprasad Chaurasia and Shivkumar Sharma cassette that my father had bought. My father was never a keen music lover, I wonder why he ended up buying that partiular album but I remember him being very enthusiastic. It was perhaps the only album he ever bought. Sadly though, I ended up dubbing some regular bollywood stuff on top it, cos nobody used to listen to it anyway. Little did I know at that time that this is one legendary album. My father never scolded me for that but as I look at it now, I feel bad about it. The only saving grace is that I still have that cassette, of course sans the songs that were originally recorded on it.
My taste in Indian Classical is limited mostly to flute and santoor but I often enjoy other instruments like shahnai and saarangi as well. My favorite though, remian the thumris. Not classical in the true sense, more of semi-classical but there are times when Shobha Gurtu or Girija Devi is what constantly plays on my music player.
This recent activity has also resulted me in reading MUSIC, a monthly magazine published by BBC dedicated to classical music. What I like about this magazine is that even though I dont understand a whole lot about Western classical, the magazine is still quite an enjoyable experience :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

WebTrotting Today

Two articles on education.

Spare Yourself The Nightmare

Out Before They Are In

Are we taking away the childhood of our kids? Are we too fascinated with English? Is a English Medium education from an esteemed and costly school necessary for professional success? All valid questions raised and discussed; but the bottom line is more staggering, do we know the answer or cure?

Is our education system equipped enough to deal with these growing demand of quality schools and teachers? Are government measures like doing away with Interview process for admission sufficient?

RoseBowl Channel on YouTube

A channel aimed at youth. Though it has varied stuff, what interested me most was some amazing Indi-Jazz studio concert recordings from not so well known but amazingly talented budding Indian singers and musicians.

Pran and Chacha Chaudhary

One of my favorite cartoon character is Chacha Chaudhary. I still remember reading second digest in the Raka series, my earliest Chacha Chaudhary memory dating back to mid Eighties. So its good to read a bit about Chacha's creator and glad that he is still going strong.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

चलो अब सोते हैं

वो क्या है की यूं तो हादसे होते ही रहते हैं
चलो अब सोते हैं

ये रात भी यूंही बेपरवाह निकल जायेगी
इस बात का क्या है
सुबह तक तो टल ही जायेगी

फिर चुस्की ले चाय की, अखबार में बाकी टटोल लेंगे
लाइनों के बीच भी मतलब कई होते हैं
चलो अब सोते हैं

ये बातें खाली तलवारों के मायन सी हैं
चुभती तो हैं बहुत लेकिन
बिन तीरों के नाकारा कमान सी हैं

इन पर भी कर लेंगे गौर कभी
फिलहाल के लम्हों को क्यों इन पर खोते हैं
चलो अब सोते हैं

जैसा हर बार करते हैं इस बार नहीं क्यों
टालना, बहलाना, गफलतों के चलते उलझना,
मुगालतों का हुनर भी अब गया हमको

जो पड गयीं सो पड गयीं
क्यों बनी हुई आदतें ख़राब करते हैं
चलो अब सोते हैं

यूं उठकर भी कब किसने क्या पाया है
आना जाना, खोना पाना
तो यूं भी मोह माया है

फिर दोस्तों की महफ़िल में बैठ फलसफे बयां करेंगे
ऐसे भी ये लम्हे अफ्सुर्दगी में गुज़रते हैं
चलो अब सोते हैं।