Sometimes, places are associated with writers. Dickens’ London, Roth’s New York, Rushdie’s Bombay. Ruskin Bond has his own spot on earth. In this delightful anthology, A Town Called Dehra (Penguin, Rs 200), Bond not only zones in, but also opens out Dehradun for all to see.
For most of us, ‘Dehra’ is a place where time stalled and then started again to move with a pony pace. But it’s more than that for Bond — it’s where he grew up; where he saw his first novel in print; a place where the writer ekes out memories.
Right from the start — the section titled A Childhood in the shade of Lichi Trees — to the end — the poem, Parts of Dehra, Bond brings to life a place through the lives that criss-crossed this endangered-by-time town in frightfully evocative prose — and poetry.