Friends in Small Places
Ruskin Bond, Rusty or Mr. Bond as he refers to himself is present in all these stories in different roles – a spectator, a hero, a character, an observer, a ghost or as an author. This book is about his personal experiences with some simple people in small towns. They are as simple as the person sitting next to you on the local train, or the vegetable seller on the street, or the maid who comes to your house to work. He enters their lives as an acquaintance, observes them, makes his presence felt and then tells their stories to us audiences. It does not sound an interesting piece of work, but what a job Ruskin does. I think the one quality of Ruskin is to show life as it happens. He never interferes with the flow. He is there but is not there in the story. It helps because by being there the story sounds true and real, and by not being there he presents the way it happens and not the way he made it happen.
Ruskin has always been known for his local understanding and reach. He lives and breathes the place and the people. His keen sense of observation and his ability to create a story of any event, happening, character, visit or stranger is amazing. I read him as a child and I felt he was writing the way I could see things and now as an adult I see the things I did as a child.
It was all a question of doing one’s duty, she said. Death was a duty, just as much as life was just another way of dying. (line from ‘The Sensualist’)