I had never read a Ruskin Bond book before; and now that I have read this book, I don’t intend to stop until I have read all of his writing. ‘Lone Fox Dancing’ is a story of Bond’s own life in his own words, where he himself is the lone fox dancing in the hills of Dehradun.
The book takes you through the princely states of Jamnagar with its sprawling beaches, then on to the Delhi of the fifties and sixties, a small stop in England on the way, and then to the hills of Mussoorie which have remained unchanged in the ever-changing landscape of the country. Being 83 years of age, Bond has seen India develop from pre-Independence times to where it is now. He has brought out the contrast he has observed in the Delhi of his childhood and the Delhi of the present day. There is a part where he says he used to enjoy his dinners occasionally at the India hotel in Connaught Place in Delhi. He says that the hotel is no longer there, and a Nirula’s stands there now. I have been to that Nirula’s outlet in Connaught Place, and it gives me immense joy to think that Ruskin Bond had been there. Small things like these make you feel like you have a connection with the author and you can then relate to the story.
Ruskin Bond uses a style of imaging in his writing. Many a time it seems like he is describing a picture. There is a part where he describes the look of his room after a snowstorm. I almost felt like I was standing in the room myself. His descriptions of the greenery of tall deodars, or the colours of the sunset, or the raindrops shining on his window, or the candle illuminating his room in the absence of electricity, is so real, so absolute, that you can’t possibly describe them in any other way.
Like all authors, Ruskin had also suffered from the writer’s block. How he overcame that, and how he found award-winning stories in the day-to-day incidents of his life is an inspiration for any author. I myself am hugely inspired by this book, and it is a must-read for anyone who loves nature, the trees, sunsets, mountains, but most of all, books and writing.