Editor | Books For Children
New Delhi: Coming Round the Mountain is part three of Ruskin Bond’s award-winning memoir for children (following Looking for the Rainbow and Till the Clouds Roll By).
This is Ruskin’s story of growing up, of friendship and goodbyes, set against the backdrop of India’s independence. This is the first time Ruskin Bond has penned his experiences about his time during the independence year. Evocative, poignant and full of spirit and hope, this book is an absolute classic; a collector’s edition and a must-have for every Ruskin Bond fan!
Talking about the series, Ruskin Bond told Arrackistan: “In the first of these short memoirs, Looking for the Rainbow, I had described the two years I had spent with my father when I was just nine years old. He was forty, serving in the RAF during World War II. The scene was New Delhi and the years 1941 and ’42, with Indian independence just round the corner. It was a happy time for me, ending abruptly with the loss of my father.”
In the next book, Till the Clouds Roll By, I described the sudden change in my circumstances, and the effort I had to make to adjust to a new and very different life with my mother and stepfather.
And now in Coming Round the Mountain, I have dwelt on my schooldays, in particular one memorable year, 1947, during which a lot of things happened to me and around me. The making of friends; the loss of friends; the country’s freedom and its division; changes everywhere . . . But there was one constant— my love of books, and an inclination for putting things down on paper—and it was this that gave me the confidence and self-belief to take on the uncertainties of living in a changing world.
“Be true to yourself,’ my father always told me, ‘and if you are true to yourself, you will be true to others,” said Ruskin Bond.
Thirteen-year-old Ruskin is back at school, doing what he loves-reading, goalkeeping, spending time with his friends and eating lots of jalebis. But things seem to be rapidly changing all around him. Whispers of a partition haunt the corridors of his school. Does the formation of a new, independent India mean saying goodbye to old friends-and, with it, the shenanigans they got up to?
On the heels of Looking for the Rainbow and Till the Clouds Roll By, Coming Round the Mountain is yet another look at the past, in particular one memorable year, 1947, during which a lot happened to Ruskin and those around him. It is a fitting finale to a journey down memory lane, one about accepting change and finding hope in the unknown days to come.
About the author
Born in Kasauli (Himachal Pradesh) in 1934, Ruskin Bond grew up in Jamnagar (Gujarat), Dehradun, New Delhi and Simla.
His first novel, The Room on the Roof, written when he was seventeen, received the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize in 1957. Since then he has written over 500 short stories, essays and novellas (including Vagrants in the Valley and A Flight of Pigeons) and more than forty books for children.
He received the Sahitya Akademi Award for English writing in India in 1993, the Padma Shri in 1999, and the Delhi government’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. He lives in Landour, Mussoorie, with his extended family.