Ruskin Bond books

6 life lessons from Ruskin Bond books to lead a meaningful life

These are not mere works of fiction to be savoured but they contain life lessons that can bring positive transformations.
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Ruskin Bond is one of India’s most beloved authors, who has captivated readers with his heart-warming and thought-provoking books for over five decades. Many of his stories have left an indelible mark on us and they still possess the same charm as before. Themes such as friendship, love, forgiveness, nature, and resilience permeate the pages of his books and stories. What makes Bond’s books relatable is the simplicity of the characters and their stories.

Devoid of needless sensationalism, the octogenarian author’s vast bibliography offers timeless wisdom on various aspects of life. His books are not mere a piece of fiction to be savoured but also offer precious lessons that can effect positive transformations in our lives. Here are some of the most invaluable lessons from Ruskin Bond’s books that can give us a fresh outlook on life.

Nature is our sanctuary

Nature is one of the most recurring themes across Ruskin Bond’s books and stories. The celebrated author of English descent has made Mussoorie’s Landour—widely known as Queen of the Hills—his residence since the 1980s. His love for the hills and the immaculate nature and landscape has made its way in several of his works, such as Our trees Still Grow in Dehra, Rain in the Mountains and The Book of Nature. In his books, Bond also emphasises the need to safeguard nature amid rampant deforestation. In The Room of Many Colours: A Treasury of Stories for Children, he writes, “But men are cutting down the trees without replacing them. For every tree that’s felled, we must plant two. Otherwise, one day there’ll be no forests at all, and the world will become one great desert.” Nature is our sanctuary and it is our responsibility to protect it for our own sake and posterity.

Adversities can help us succeed

Themes of hope and resilience echo in many of Ruskin Bond’s books. His semiautobiographical book Room on the Roof, which he wrote at the tender age of 17, tells the tale of Rusty, a 16-year-old Anglo-Indian orphan boy who fights loneliness and hopelessness to steer ahead in life. He lives with a strict guardian who restricts his freedom, thus adding to his woes. Yet, Rusty remains determined despite all odds. Themes of self-motivation are present in his words: “I want to be either somebody or nobody. I don’t want to be anybody.” The book shows Rusty finding his way out even when he becomes homeless. He becomes an English tutor to a young boy and remains determined even after experiencing tremendous difficulties in youth. We can learn a lot from Rusty’s story, especially how to find hope when we are stuck in murky waters.

There’s joy in the simple pleasures of life

In our fast-paced lives, we often forget to embrace simplicity. We have become so busy and engrossed in chasing material success that we spend most of our time thinking about the future rather than living in the moment and appreciating the simple joys of life. We forget that some simple pleasures of life can also give us infinite happiness. In his writings, Bond often describes scenes from real life and nature that delve into finding beauty in everyday life.

For instance, in Notes From A Small Room: Signed As Essays From A Small Room, the author paints a vivid picture of the fragrance of the earth, which we can only enjoy when we slow down the pace of our lives and revel in the beauty of things around us. “And the earth itself. It smells different in different places. But its loveliest fragrance is known only when it receives a shower of rain. And then the scent of the wet earth rises as though it would give something beautiful back to the clouds. A blend of all the fragrant things that grow upon it,” he writes.

Chasing happiness is a futile pursuit

“Happiness is as exclusive as a butterfly, and you must never pursue it. If you stay very still, it may come and settle on your hand. But only briefly. Savour those moments, for they will not come in your way very often,” Ruskin Bond writes in A Little Book of Life. He poetically compares the concept of happiness to a butterfly. It’s natural to be enamoured by the beautiful colours of a butterfly. But what happens when we try to catch it? Most often than not, it flies far away from our reach. That’s the same story with happiness too. When we start chasing it, we often fail in our pursuit. But when we start living in the present and find contentment in what we have, we will find happiness in every aspect of life.

Life’s beauty lies in embracing change                                                

Life is not static but dynamic in nature. Its wheels are constantly in motion. That means there are constant changes and transformations in every aspect of life. The more we appreciate the natural ebb and flow of life instead of grasping to fleeting, ephemeral pursuits that cause us stress, the more we can see the beauty in almost everything around us. Even life’s vicissitudes are not eternal. Night always turns into day, and the sun always rises after a storm. Ruskin Bond captures this philosophy poetically in The Hidden Pool where he writes, “New colour, new music, new life. Seasons die, and seasons are born again.” Even when you are experiencing a difficult situation in life, remind yourself that, like seasons, it’s also a phase that will run its course. Happiness is not far away when we embrace life’s changes.

Love and kindness make the world better

In a world where aggression and selfishness run amok, Ruskin Bond’s books are a breath of fresh air, as they remind people of the importance of love, compassion and kindness. One such book is The Blue Umbrella that captivates the readers through its simple yet enchanting story of a young village girl Binya and her beautiful blue umbrella that becomes the topic of discussion among villagers. A shopkeeper named Ram Bharosa envies the umbrella so much that he is willing to do anything to own it. He hires a young boy to work at his shop, who steals Binya’s umbrella and eventually gets caught. As a result, Ram Bharosa’s reputation in the village gets tarnished and people stop visiting his shop, which makes him almost penniless. But Binya feels pity for Ram Bharosa and decides to give him the umbrella. In return, he also gives her a gift for her tremendous act of kindness.

Although this is a children’s book, the lessons it contains are essentially valid for all of us, irrespective of our age. When you develop a kind and compassionate attitude, y have the power to make the world a much better place. A simple act of kindness can not only help others but can also enable you to build deeper connections and stronger relationships.

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