India’s beloved children’s author Ruskin Bond has celebrated his 85th birthday yesterday, May 19 by releasing his new memoir set against the backdrop of the time of partition. The book titled Coming Round the Mountain, will be released officially by the author at Cambridge bookstores in Mussourie, where he signs books for his readers every week on Monday.
So it goes like Coming Around the Mountain is the third instalment of Bond’s award-winning memoir series for children with the first book named Looking for the Rainbow and the second, Till the Clouds Roll By. In Looking for the Rainbow, Bond talked about the two years he had spent with his father when he was just nine years old, and in Till the Clouds Roll By he elaborated the sudden change in his circumstances, the struggles he had to face to adjust to a new and very different life with his mother and stepfather.
Now, the third part of the series will put forward the story of a thirteen years old Bond, during the crucial year of India’s partition.“The making of friends; the loss of friends; the country’s freedom and its division; changes everywhere”, this is how Ruskin Bond recalls Independence Day of 1947.
Bond had just turned 13 then and was doing his schooling in Bishop Cotton residential school in Shimla. His best friends were Azhar Khan, who was his age; Brian Adams, who was a year younger; and Cyrus Satralkar, who was the youngest. They called themselves the ‘Fearsome Four’, but actually, there was nothing very fierce about them.
“Time to say goodbye. I’ll write to you. We’ll meet again - some day, somewhere,” Azhar told Bond.
Azhar’s departure was a really heavy phase in Bond’s life. “He had been someone to whom I could talk freely, someone to whom I could confide and share my dreams,” Bond writes about his friend.
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