The period of adolescence is a beautifully chaotic one. The mixed emotions one goes through along with the things one learns, stay throughout life. The books we read have a similar effect. Room On The Roof is one such book. Ruskin Bond published it in 1956. But, the story of a young Rusty lives on even today. The book narrates the tale of Rusty, an orphaned, Anglo-Indian boy of Dehra. The story shows how he escapes his shackled life with his guardians to experience the world.
Ruskin Bond’s writing is exactly like the mountains he lives in. They are beautiful and full of depth. Rusty’s tales has been famous for the last sixty- five years. The reasons become very clear from the first chapter itself. But, this article does the job for you and presents them below.
As stated earlier, the story is of a boy coming to age. The boy’s name is Rusty, an Anglo-Indian and orphaned child. Rusty is a recurring character of Ruskin Bond’s stories. This is the first story he features in. He further makes an appearance in many other stories.
Rusty’s life is dictated by his guardians, Mr. Harrison and the missionary’s wife. Rusty lives like an Englishman. He cannot meet Indians. But, soon, he builds friendship with Somi and Ranbir. He tastes freedom with their company. The readers see a stark contrast in his two lives which he lives inside and outside the house. His home life is an example of bad parenting. As the story progresses, we see how he finally lets go off his inhibitions and tries to play Holi. This marks the beginning of a new life.
Rusty’s life might not feel relatable to everyone. But, the awkwardness of teenage and his curiosity shows how he is just like any other young person. His appreciation for the vibrancy of his new life is wholesome. He starts living in the room on the roof and discovers a whole new world of happiness. This very well mirrors how young people feel after becoming independent. This makes him very close to the readers.
The story of of a young man trying to come to terms with the world, is endearing and emotional. Rusty moves to the room on the roof. The readers also begin a new journey with him.
For Parents and Children
When talking about readers, it is also important to note that the book can also be enjoyed by parents. Rusty’s life is full of adults of various temperaments. Such characters carry their own past with them. The book is not a guide to parenting. But it can surely show what a bad home environment looks like. The change in Rusty’s character from quiet to content also shows how good conditioning is very important for children. His guardian’s decision to not let him mingle with Indians also shows the presence of superiority complex in colonial minds. This makes way for an interesting theme in a supposedly children’s theme.
Rusty’s thoughtful nature can let you glance into a young mind. The characters of Mr. Harrison and Kishan’s father can also show how parents can be opposite to each other. The way the adult life treats Rusty shows the mindset of a completely green boy. Parents can, hence, find many elements in this book, which they might enjoy and learn from.
The book is, hence, enjoyable for all age groups. Parents, especially, can benefit from the book. They can learn the emotions of a young boy who had to live a life of boundaries as well as new-found freedom.
Ruskin Bond writes with an easy hand. He uses words spoken easily, talks of simple joys. He stirs one’s soul and makes one learn of beauty nearby. The words used in the picture above that book describe even the most fleeting of emotions with a pleasing easiness. His words remind us of a simpler time. The absence of modern devices in his writing makes one feel nostalgic.
His diction also fleshes out the characters of the books. Meena’s beauty and lively personality can be observed from the way Rusty talks about her. Kishan’s characters displays the capriciousness of youth. The clash between the English lifestyle and Indian one just enters the mind of the reader through the pages. This helps create the contrast required.
Rusty’s young age is also reflected in his writing. the way Rusty describes the smallest of things, makes on feel the maturity of a quiet soul but the curiosity of a child. The simple words also show the simple life of the mountains. The words also make the journey seem very real, even when the incidents are chaotic.
One cannot talk about Ruskin Bond, without mentioning the ambience. His stories are often set in the mountains. He always makes one feel nostalgic for something unknown. This book is no exception.
The story set in Dehradun (then Dehra) of Uttarakhand. The state is known for its mountains and their beauty. The way Rusty talks about them is crystal clear. One can almost imagine the tall trees in Dehradun. Rusty’s experiences bring them out very well. The book is full of incidences in the rainy weather in the mountains, in the picnics or quite simply, in the room on the roof.
The imagery and references to nature leaves one feeling very refreshed. The image is painted in front of our very eyes. Also, the ambience also goes away from the quiet mountains. The bazzars are also described as bustling. The festival of Holi forms a very important part of the book. Ruskin Bond’s writing about the colours makes one feel joyful and relate to Rusty. Hence, all those things which help set the mood for the reader.
Room On The Roof is a beautiful book. Every mind, young and old, should read it. Podium School can introduce you to more of Ruskin Bond’s writing, Ruskin Bond Books: 10 Amazing Books By Ruskin Bond That You Must Read.