The Night Train at Deoli and Other Stories by Ruskin Bond

Ruskin Bond's Stories

Book: The Night Train at Deoli and Other Stories

Author: Ruskin Bond

Pages: 245

Price: Rs. 299

Publications: Penguin Books

Plot: A collection of 30 short stories by Ruskin Bond, this book present the tales of love and longingness. The succinct and basic recitals depicting very candid and sincere incidences of life. If read without giving any thought one might feel that the story was actually an unconventional, quotidian incident, but if given a little thought one may realize that all the stories are full of emotions. Emotions of love, longing, and yearning.

The craving, the hankering, we all face in our lives, and the urge for something be it youth, childhood, past days, or towards any person, is what Ruskin Bond has delineated irresistibly in these stories.

My views: As a child, I have read many of the stories by Ruskin Bond. So when I saw this book it reminded me of my school days and to relish those good old days I instantly bought this book.

Though these are not children stories but when I was reading these stories I realized that I have read some of them in my English Course books. At that time the experience of reading these stories was very different. The lack of understanding of such deep emotions made me think that these are unremarkable and unexceptional incidences turned into a story. For my young mind, it was difficult to understand these complex emotions.

But this time when I read it, the experience was altogether different. I would say I understood the meaning of these ‘mere incidences’ now.

Stories with characters which are so relatable, every story having a common emotion of craving and hunger but from a different point of views. The emotion is common but still the commotion it creates in mind is different every time, in every story.

Though there was this one story ‘Love is a sad Song’ which I didn’t like. I saw this story totally from a different perspective. To help you in understanding my point of view, let me summarize the story for you all.

The story is about a man who in his 30’s and he fell in love with a girl named Sushila who is 16 years old. The girl is his friend, Dinesh’s niece. Dinesh and he lived in the same house in Dehradoon. Sushila with her younger brother Sunil came to visit them, and this is the time when the narrator fell in love with Sushila. Sushila also reacted to it positively, they both get intimate in this time period. The narrator asked Sushila’s uncle for marriage but only after her schooling. Sushila and Sunil went back to Delhi. After few months narrator went to Delhi to meet Sushila and her family, their through Sunil he got to know that she has other boyfriends too from the time when they came back from narrator’s place. And then he left her.

A long story explained in short, but this is how I looked at the story. What I feel is that this is a story of child sexual abuse but only from perpetrator’s point of view. How can someone say that he/she loves a person and still do things which might affect their ‘LOVER’S’ body, their mind or in whole their life? Sushila was in her teens, the time when teenagers are most excited and curious about their bodies. The time when getting intimate with someone brings that thrill and fun. Instead of addressing this curiosity and inquisitiveness positively, one authoritative figure came in her life and showed that it is okay to get intimate at the age when they don’t even understand what actually does it mean. If we look at this from Sushila’s point of view then she is nowhere wrong in having multiple boyfriends, after all, she was given a message that it is totally fine to explore her body this way and not to tell others about it. The narrator said that he wanted to marry Sushila but I would say that marriage is not the veil to one’s action. One cannot use someone and say “I will marry him/her.”

According to me, it was not love, how can it be love when one of them is not even at the age where she can understand the meaning of love? How can it be love when the narrator did nothing for his lover’s growth when all he wanted was to marry her and ‘to take care of her’ or one can say make her dependent on him? This was not love, this was a meager attraction of a 30-year-old man towards a young 16-year-old girl. This was a sexual abuse. An abuse which not only affects the body but also the mind of the victim.

Overall I find other stories good except this one.

Recommendations: Read this book to truly understand the meaning of stories by Ruskin Bond. The stories full of emotions and sentiments

Ratings: 3/5

Book Cover

Komal Bagri
A traveler and a bookworm at heart, Komal Bagri has explored many destinations across India. But that never seems to be enough and she’s always ready to hit the road again. Her obsession for travel is combined with a love for books. She is currently working as a Content Developer at an eminent press.

1 thought on “The Night Train at Deoli and Other Stories by Ruskin Bond

  1. Your submission about Sushila is a moving one. Just wondering if the half-truths we come across in such a story can be a trap because they leave us with a bad taste in our mouths. At any rate, it is a sobering point.

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