Delhi is not Far by Ruskin Bond – A Book Review
Delhi Is Not Far is a small novella of Ruskin Bond that I read ironically on a flight to Delhi. It also happens to be the first of his books that I read. What a great introduction to his beautiful works. Yes, I am posting this a little late. As the writer himself in the foreword, calls the book a plotless tale, it is a story that takes you to the imaginary yet very real town of Pipalnagar, located somewhere in the western Uttar Pradesh.
Through the eyes of a 25-year-old single writer who has dreams of going to Delhi someday and work with a publisher, the narrative takes you through various characters in the town. The narrative deals as much with the characters as with their interrelationships and interdependencies. It looks at the world of those without a home, the shelters they use to sleep and how they help each other when they can. It looks at the nurturing relationship that the protagonist develops for a younger boy and how he helps him study.
There is a look at the world of Seth’s who have the money and hence the power in the town. But none of them are portrayed as sinister. People have this inherent understanding that since they owe them money they have the right to come and ask for the same. There is no absolute love or hate for anyone, and is that not how life is – you love and hate the same person at different points in time and for different reasons.
The writing creates the town of Pipalnagar for you. You can see the streets and the ‘maidan’ or ground, the school and the barber’s shop. You feel the pain of boys who lost their parents and are living pretty much on their own, trying to create relationships in the vacuum. It is a story of dreams and hopes, a dream that does come true though not exactly with the paraphernalia that is so much the part of dreams.
Read it to wander in a small town in North India, 50 years ago on the timeline.
I got this book from my young author friend Nivedita’s ‘Book Giveaway’ program where she gives away books that she has read. I must admit I am too possessive about my books to give them away, no wonder I love Nivedita for her giving attitude and helping spread the love for books.
Buy Delhi is not Far from Amazon.
Read this book or gift it to young readers around you.