Thursday, July 13, 2017

Lone Fox Dancing: My Autobiography by Ruskin Bond - Book Review

Lone Fox DancingLone Fox Dancing by Ruskin Bond
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Towards the end of Lone Fox Dancing (LFD), Mr. Bond writes about the severe storm that ravages his Ivy Cottage home. How the natural yet merciless powers shake up the house and sweep the roof away, and then the snow falls and freezes the fear. Mr. Bond finds beauty in the midst of this all. It is almost an analogy to his past with events that swept his life and carved his future, and all the while he hung on to the things he loved. The man whose pen rains wonderful words on paper and writes beautifully about the life that he has had, the different people he met and loved, and the immovable mountains that sheltered the writer in him.

I missed being among strangers without feeling like an outsider; I missed everything that made it all right to be sentimental and emotional.

This is only my second book by Mr. Bond. I haven't read any of his fiction, but I feel that when I pick up his other books to read, LFD will help me recall his memory-rich past life that might have triggered a particular anecdote, story, events, or characters in the books. As Mr. Bond himself explains so well:

I suppose most writers, to a greater or lesser extent, base their fictional characters upon real people. Mine come very close to the reality. It is my own response to them that varies. The most fictional of all my characters is myself.

I love his writing. It gave me a warm and cozy feeling. The journey from childhood to adulthood and further was sprinkled with giggles, smiles, a bit of sadness, hope, and continuously moving on to the next phase of life. It is evident in the writing how, as a child, he absorbed the happenings around him, let the most memorable things carry him forth, and recalled the quick flashes of history. Then the mountains took over and then the words became one with nature. Birds sing, trees rustle, raindrops pitter-patter, snowflakes mesmerize, the lone fox dances, and the brave leopard leaves with indigestion.

I was fortunate in that I ventured into the literary world with a certain wide-eyed innocence, and managed to maintain that innocence for most of my life.

On the "evening of Mr. Bond's long and fairly fulfilling life," I certainly think that I will be revisiting Dehra, Delhi, Mussoorie, the mountains and the valleys, the birds and their songs, the people and their stories through your writing, Mr. Bond.

I hope to learn a thing or two about "how much I still needed to learn about contentment."

So here I am, a young boy, an old writer, without regrets.

So long!

It seems strange
How we used to wait for letters to arrive
But what's stranger still
Is how something so small can keep you alive
We used to wait
We used to waste hours just walkin' around
We used to wait
All those wasted lives in the wilderness downtown

We Used To Wait by Arcade Fire.

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