The Room on the Roof gives a sneak-peak into Bond's life as a 17-year-old, new to the charms of the world, and dreaming of unrealistic dreams. Coupled with an engrossing narrative, the story of Rusty unlocks a bagful of memories.
Hill stations are most beautiful during spring. With the snow rapidly melting away, the wind rising from the valley and the trees calling us outside to enjoy their shade, the surrounding becomes idyllic. It is in one such picturesque place that Rusty, the protagonist of Ruskin Bond’s The Room on the Roof, lives. An orphaned Anglo-Indian boy in the Dehradun of the 50s, Rusty yearns to break free from his guardians who want to make a proper Englishman out of him. But all Rusty wants is to venture beyond the European settlements of the town into the real India—to the local bazaar, to the cacophony of sounds and the assortments of life. So, one fine day, he does just that. And therein begins the metamorphosis of Rusty.
From being a mild-mannered English snob, he becomes an adventurous teenager in the company of his lively friends. From a life so protected, Rusty suddenly becomes the cynosure of all eyes. His friends Somi and Ranbir make him eat real Indian street food, and his employer’s son Kishen finds in him, a true friend. A young teenager, Rusty himself goes through a gamut of emotions while growing up—he feels a wave of ecstasy after falling in love for the first time and experiences inconsolable pain after losing his loved ones—all while renting out a small room in his employer’s house. So his room on the roof is not just a living space for Rusty. It is the symbol of his independence after crossing the threshold to make it into the brave new world.