Comfort in the Dark

Have you ever really bonded with a book? A book you keep going back to time and again? A book which is your comfort in the darkness? “Rain in the Mountains – Notes from the Himalayas” has been one such book for me. I have read many of Ruskin Bond’s work, but this has been my constant favorite.

It’s a collection of short stories, essays, poems and articles by Ruskin Bond. Reading this is literally like living the simple hill life, inhaling the mountain breeze and witnessing the mountain rains. Whenever I had felt exhausted or overwhelmed by the fast-paced city life or have been in emotional turmoil, this book had been my comfort. Filling me with love, joy, nostalgia and longing since forever!

Well, my heart skipped a beat at the very first page, swayed by the beauty of the prose –
“ It is a good sound to read by – the rain outside, the quiet within – and,  although tin roofs are given to springing unaccountable leaks, there is a feeling of being untouched by, and yet in touch with, the rain.”

Reminiscing my childhood, our home in Amritsar was quite different from the way it is built now. We had a tin roof over the veranda. And, whenever it rained, we ran about placing buckets or mugs beneath the mysterious roof leakages. Never had I observed rains, the sounds of crickets singing, frogs croaking or the leaking tin roof the way Mr. Bond portrays. Perhaps, I owe it to him for making me fall in love with the rains!

An entertaining record of Bond’s life in the hills for over twenty-five years, it offers you: journals written in the Seventies, a selection of essays written since the Sixties, diary extracts, spontaneous nature poems and the epilogue. Sprinkled with Bond’s subtle humor in between, the book is delight for every nature lover.

Reawakening our senses to the natural beauty around us, Bond writes –

The sun-drenched hillsides are still an emerald green; the air is crisp, but winter’s bite is still a month or two away; and for those who still like to take to the open road on foot, there are springs, streams and waterfalls tumbling over rocks that remain dry for most of the year.

I wish I could be even an inch closer to the Zen concept, he is reeling in.

Coming home this lockdown, while packing my stuff, my biggest dilemma had been which books should I carry home? Suddenly, all of them seemed indispensable. I picked a couple of them – keeping a collection of Ruskin Bond’s essays with me. However, I made one mistake. Since I have read “Rain in the Mountains” twice or thrice, I thought I can stay away from it and left it tucked away in the corner of my room. And, here I am missing it ever since I came home. To add to my woes, it’s been raining here in Amritsar for the last three days.

I hope you are doing fine, dear friend! Will meet you soon!

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