The Room on the Roof by Ruskin Bond
Name: Jaskirat Singh
School: Guru Harkrishan Public School, India Gate
Ruskin Bond is an Indian author of British descent. He was born in Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh. His father was Aubrey Alexander Bond who served in the RAF during World War II. He had one sister and brother -Ellen and William. When the writer was 8, his mother separated from his father and married a Punjabi-Hindu Mr.Hari who himself was married once. At the age of ten Ruskin went to his grandmother's in Dehradun because of his father’s sudden death due to frequent bouts of malaria and jaundice. He has lived most of his life in the hill stations of India. There is a strong influence of the life experienced in the hill stations at the foothills of the Himalayas, in his writings. He is considered to be one of the best authors of literature for children. He has received various literary prizes for his work like Sahitya Akademi award for English writing in India and also the prestigious Padma Shri for his literary contributions.
He started writing at a very early age. His first published work is The Room on the Roof. It is the story of a sixteen year old Anglo-Indian boy, Rusty. Having lost his parents early in his life, he lives with his Guardian, Mr. Harrison. He is a very strict and conservative English man who wants Rusty to stay within the confines of his own culture. Rusty longs to know and interact with the world outside. One day he gets a chance to do so and makes some friends - Somi & Ranbir. They encourage him to let go of his fears and discover the world for himself. They also help him to find a new home along with a job to sustain himself. He begins living with his new employers, the Kapoors in a room on the roof. He teaches their son Kishen .he spends some memorable time there but after sometime questions about identity and belongingness begin to trouble him. He decides to leave India for England in search of a new life and a new identity. But first he wants to meet Kishan and decides to take a stop at Haridwar, which turns out to be an interesting point in his journey. The story ends here but the author continues the story of rusty in the sequel to this book, which is, Vagrants in the Valley.
I started liking the character of rusty while reading the book. He does not take things for granted and wants to explore the world for himself. He tries to overcome his fears by confronting them. He does not run away from them. All this makes him a very different person from his uncle who does not want to experience new things and looks at them with a suspicious eye. He is certainly not a very likeable character.
I really liked the book especially rusty and his friends and their adventures in the foothills of Himalayas. I also liked the way it talks about friendship and belongingness. It’s priced at Rs. 199.