“People come and go, the mountains remain. Mountains are permanent things. They are stubborn, they refuse to move.” – Ruskin Bond, All Roads Lead to Ganga.
We all know about Ruskin Bond’s bond with the hills. His strong love for the mountains is something I admire most. Ruskin Sir’s writings have helped me develop my philosophies and principles. I have learnt of the importance of simplicity and clarity in life and also about true friendships and love. His idea of being one with nature allures me. I have known about so many mountain birds and trees from his writings which become a live scene with his usage of imagery. Today on his 89th birthday, I boil down to his love for hills, especially the Himalayas and my take away from that.
The Himalayan Trap
“It is always the same with mountains. Once you have lived with them for any length of time, you belong to them. There is no escape.” ― Ruskin Bond, Rain in the Mountains: Notes from the Himalayas.
So true are these lines. To me the unescapable Himalaya is my escape from the city. I feel at times, that the city is strangling me with heavy ropes of headless consumerism. Concrete giants make me feel claustrophobic and complicated people make me feel allergic. So I often run to the mountains for some calm and peace. The fresh air and the simple life in the mountains energise me for the days I am back at work in the city. This Himalayan trap is beautiful. When I am in the city I often read Ruskin Sir’s writings and read between the lines to feel Ruskin Bond’s bond with the hills. He is one strong influence behind my love for the hills. Visiting the Himalaya is pilgrimage to me.
A Poem Expressing Ruskin Bond’s Bond with the Hills
Ruskin Bond’s bond with the hills is expressed in his short stories, novels, essays and poems. Ruskin Sir has gifted us more than 500 writings over his career of more than 7 decades. He has received some of India’s most prestigious awards, like, the Sahitya Akademy Award in 1992, Padma Shri in 1999 and Padma Bhushan in 2014. Here’s a poem from his book, ‘Ruskin Bond’s Book of Verse’- Hill-Station
There is nothing to keep me here,
Only these mountains of silence
And the gentle reserve of shepherds and woodmen
Who knows me as one who
Walks among trees.
Madman, misanthropist? They make
Their guesses, smile and pass slowly
Down the steep path near the cottage. There is nothing
To keep me here, walking
Among old trees.
A Sense of Contentment and Continuity
“I have never been a fast walker, or a conqueror of mountain peaks, but I can plod along for miles. And that’s what I’ve been doing all my life—plodding along, singing my song, telling my tales in my own unhurried way. I have lived life at my own gentle pace, and if as a result I have failed to get to the top of the mountain (or of anything else), it doesn’t matter, the long walk has brought its own sweet rewards; buttercups and butterflies along the way.” ― Ruskin Bond, Roads to Mussoorie.
The sense of contentment and continuing with our daily life, performing and excelling, is what my personal goal in life is. We need to be in the present and enjoy all the little moments and the simple joys of life. Ruskin Bond’s bond with the hills, the wide open window at his modest home at Landour, Mussoorie, somehow teach the beauty of being happy and contented with simplicity and with just enough. Raindrops on my glass window do fascinate me.
A Hermit in Disguise
“A good monk would know that contentment is easier to attain than happiness, and that is enough.” This simple line by Ruskin Sir is extremely deep even if it sounds simple. That’s his magic. There’s magic in simplicity and a simple life is as good as an oxymoron these days. We must strive to attain simplicity. When I struggle, I escape to the hills. The cool and fresh mountain air refreshes me. I was fortunate to meet Ruskin Sir in person and attended some of his lectures. He is a hermit in disguise. I have observed that bliss in his blue eyes and that profound wisdom in his words. I am sure Ruskin Bond’s bond with the hills is the secret.
Happy Birthday Sir!!
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