Book Review (Time stops at Shamli)

Stories by Ruskin Bond used to be a part of English syllabus every year but I never read a book by Ruskin Bond before. ‘Time stops at Shamli’ is an enchanting collection of short stories by India’s most loved author Ruskin Bond. And it left me wondering why I have never read any of his books before!

Most of the stories in the collection are autobiographical in nature. The stories are from different genre- romance, nature, paranormal, suspense and nostalgia. The setting of his stories- the mountainous landscapes of North adds to the charm.

My favorite story from the book is ‘Tiger, tiger, burning bright.’ The story beautifully captures the plight of the endangered species tiger and drives across the message that man should peacefully coexist and leave the forests to their rightful inhabitants. Another beautiful gem in the collection is the title story ‘Time stops at Shamli’ which brings back a sense of nostalgia of lost love. ‘The funeral’ is a touching story of a young boy trying to comprehend the sudden loss of his father.

‘The room of many colours’ is autobiographical in nature and describes his encounters with a recluse  princess whom others considered as mad. ‘A crow for all seasons’ is a hilarious story of a crow who is a mischief monger. ‘Most Beautiful’ tries to delve into the psyche of a lonely child who is despised by all including his father for being too ugly. ‘The last truck ride’ is another thought provoking story driving across the point that trees are vital to our existence.

‘The fight’ will take you back to your childhood and make you nostalgic about your friends. ‘The tunnel’ tells the story of a watchman who saves a leopard from being crushed under the train. ‘The summer season’ talks about the migrants and the nostalgic pull of their fields and land. ‘Going Home’ is about a day full of misfortunes in a man’s life and how the thought of going home puts all troubles to rest.

‘Masterji’ is another funny story and a bit of a satire on education system. ‘Listen to the wind’ is another nostalgic story about two lovers who were charred to death. ‘Dead man’s gift’ and ‘He said it with arsenic’ are interesting thrillers. ‘The haunted bicycle’, ‘Eyes of the cat’ and ‘Whispering in the dark’ will scare you out of your wits. ‘The most potent medicine of all’ is a touching tale of love and sacrifice. ‘Hanging at the mango tope’ delves into the selfish nature of man. ‘A tiger in the house’ is a hilarious incident from the author’s childhood.

This beautiful collection of stories is simple and easy to read. It’s a lovely book which carries the magic of the lush green forests, the mountain rains and breeze. It is pure magic!

© 2017 Shaloo Walia All rights reserved

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11 comments

  1. Last year, I read my first book by Bond. It was also a collection of short stories, titled Small Towns, Big Stories. Time Stops At Shamli and The Funeral were amongst my favourites there. Bond’s stories give a serene and calm effect to me but I often find them repetitive.

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