I absolutely adore Ruskin Bond and have been doing so since my childhood. He does not write about world wars or bank heists or long forgotten heroes .Instead, he writes about the most magical place on this earth-Dehradun and that’s what makes him my favorite. I would like to believe that this book is Bond’s love letter to the Doon valley.
A town called Dehra is a collection of short stories revolving around the day to day events of the author’s early life in the city. Few of the stories are excerpts taken from his debut novel-The room on the roof. These tales are about the people in Bond’s life who influenced him the most-his Tonga fearing grandmother, poor but proud Bibiji,young and carefree Somi.My favorite story is the one where the author talks about the heart and soul of Dehradun –The trees. Bond is totally correct when he says that Doon is one of the few places in the world where trees are a match for man.My family shifted to Dehradun in the late '90s and the moment I got off the train, I was left awestruck by the huge Banyan tree in the middle of the railway platform. Over the next few months I discovered that almost every house in the city (including mine) had an orchard in the backyard. Papaya, mango, guava and litchi trees were in abundance and still are. Even now, whenever I visit the valley, the majestic sal and shisham trees are always there to welcome me.
For me, reading a Ruskin Bond book is like swimming in a sea of nostalgia. I am transported to a time where life used to be much simpler-the Parade ground was still green, the forests of Rajpur road were not converted to shopping malls, the roads had lesser number of vehicles. I sometimes feel sad that Dehradun is no longer the quaint, sleepy town that I grew up in but the fact that Ruskin Bond has immortalized it cheers me up.