Scenes From a Writer's Life: A Memoir
Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd (2000)Rs. 225
Ruskin Bond's "Scenes.." shines with a sense of basic honesty. This sort of honesty is not the type people muster up in order to sell a large number of autobiographies, it's a kind of honesty that reflects an inherent harmony embedded deep within the self. There are no unnecessary revelation of scandals to spur the voyeuristic curiosity of the inquisitive reader…just that enviable sense of satisfaction that one arrives at after spending a good number of mellow years reflecting over all that came and went.
What emerges to the readers is a certainty that the author has been true to himself, a characteristic that is of course vitally important to autobiography readers. His discordant childhood chiseled his sense perceptions, his self confessed laziness helped him emerge out of this ennui and convert the stuff of mundane trivialities into literary masterpieces.
Since I have always envied people who can deftly explain themselves without the use of too many words I find Bond’s language delightful. Very rarely does he employ a complicated phrase, which itself must be an implication of how uncomplicated his thought processes must be. Only a man who can think without the fetters of regret can afford to view his life with such unblinking clarity.
What charms me most is his acceptance of mistakes and how these mistakes are divorced from any sense of guilt what so ever. This is a rare virtue…to look at one’s faults and come out of it all purged and so much more wiser…I guess it comes with age and of course a comfortable home overlooking the luscious Doon valley!
“Scenes…” is a simple book written by a simple man and it talks about a life simply lived. In spite of the tragedies and the frustrations there is hope mingled between every line…a sort of reassurance that everything will ultimately work out in the merciful bosom of the Himalayas.