Saturday, October 26, 2013

Bibliophilia: Bond Ruskin Bond!

Got my hands on a short story collection of , the famous Indian children's story writer. This collection is titled, "POTPOURRI", which means "a mixture of things" or "a mixture of dried petals and spices placed in a bowl to perfume a room". Origin, French - a rotten pot.

The meaning and the origin are the courtesy of THE OXFORD POCKET ENGLISH DICTIONARY which I have here by my computer table with its hard-covers ripped off with a few pages indexing the words initialized by 'Z', missing. There is nothing more satisfying to a reader (and a writer) than a worn and dilapidated dictionary. It is so fulfilling. Just by looking at it for a few microseconds you begin to feel proud/content with your vocabulary and literary achievements. If placed on a coffee table or somewhere in the living room, it will surely elicit praise and admiration from your guests and friends, as a symbol of your literacy and knowledge. (Irrespective of the fact that I have weak spelling retention but, a great meaning retention capacity.)

This gives me an idea ( to my another post on the digressing idea, in order to keep the blog posts themes and premise in a more consistent and terse fashion).

Returning, to Ruskin Bond, short stories at hand. Ruskin Bond's stories that I've read right now are: "Our Great Escape", "Gone Fishing", "Susanna's Seven Husbands". Some of the stories of which I have some recollections are: "The Girl on The Train", "The Earthquake" and the poem: "Do you believe in Ghosts?".

Currently, my personal favorite of Ruskin Bond is "The Girl on The Train". Hush! I need not whisper anything about it, or, it'll become a spoiler! Short stories are more delicate than novels, you know.

This book happens to be with Ruskin Bond's personal commentary appended with the stories and a recent introduction (July 2007). A lot of funny idiosyncrasies and genuine humor is sprinkled in the introduction. His ideas and thoughts in the introduction are thought worthy and must be reflected upon.

The stories I have read are beautifully simple, lucid and yet rich with realism and emotion. Best fit for children's short stories and some deep thought provoking questions for us mature readers, too. Nonetheless, I am having a nice time reliving my childhood days and his life experiences via his narratives. I gotta buy me one of those hard-bound complete collections of Ruskin Bond as well as the complete short stories ofand , by .

I also am continuing my reading of 's "THE REST OF THE ROBOTS", already, mentioned in my previous blog post. (Link appended at the end.) This time completing the Section 2, titled "THE " comprising of two shorts: "The " and "Let's Get Together". I also, chanced upon an e-comic with the first three collected issues of "", one of the great graphic novels ever made.

Though not famous, TRANSMETROPOLITAN, directly touches issues of grave importance in the current world spiraling towards becoming, Police States with growing corruption and injustice. It also, in the first three issues, beautifully shows the effects of alienating segments of society, discrimination, civil unrest/strife and the cruel actions of the government. Facts, themes and ideas that no longer are mere fiction but, now, resonate with recent world events and sociopolitical situation. And, the comic series being a Vertigo imprint is geared towards mature readers.

Meanwhile, delving deeper in, Asimov's, "The First Law", short story which records the first ever event of a robot's decision to override the hard-wired "First Law" which is;

"A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm."

This overriding was due to the fact that it had begun to feel emotions and love (and subsequent attachment) which made it disregard the First Law in order to fulfill the demands of Love. I re-think this simple idea in the human context. Isn't this the very rule we violate in order to fulfill the demands of our love and other relationships. Isn't love the reason that one will go to war against someone else or avoid saving others in order to protect one's own self-interest (lovers, attachments etc)?

In turn that our attachments are the reason we will violate logically foolproof rules of peaceful self-existence. Doesn't the thief punished by law become a victim of circumstance and fate when his family is starving in poverty? Then why is Justice, blind? And, if it always meant to be blind then why do we tolerate such a system and not evolve it to incorporate the greater aspects of guilt, blame, sin and forgiveness.

Does that mean our self-interest is short-sightedness and our attachments are shackles binding us to err? Or is our defiance of this law, for short term self-interest truly or appropriately rewarding for us? Does this mean that we will always, sooner or later discriminate against someone or the other in order to favor those whom we are attached to (emotionally, socially etc)?

Maybe, this makes me feel a little comfortable with myself and my personal philosophy of perfect detachment and stoicism. Without emotions one will always make correct decisions but, then we also need humanity and morals to guide our laws and decisions for the greater good.

The other story, "Let's Get Together", is a modest mystery story with some adequate logical argument, mystery, challenge and strategy set in a fictional futuristic world of prolonged Cold War between the East and West (referred as "Them and Us"). Short, but, decent considering the age it was written in. Though, modern day marvels like Death Note, the Japanese Manga/Anime would make this look like ancient obsolete flint tools.


1. by Ruskin Bond (Mixed Bag of Fiction, Autobiography, Poetry, Romance, Mystery, Supernatural, Horror and Humor)

2. by Issac Asimov (Science-Fiction, Classic, Robots)

3. by Warren Ellis - Vertigo (Comic, Mature, Dystopian Future, Social and Political Satire, Science Fiction)

4. - Oxford University Press


1. by Agatha Christie.

2. by Agatha Christie.

3. a famous manga and anime.

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