Adolescence is a stage of life termed as ‘full of storm and stress’ by many. The ‘negativities’ that are linked with adolescence very easily range from conflict with adults, mood swings, mood intensity, irritability, criminal tendencies, risk-taking behaviour, attraction towards and seeking of thrills, and so on. No doubt this phase of life has been studied by psychologists for many decades.
There is such a disconnect between the books and toys Indian children read and play with, and the realities of Indian life. Even the materials are alien. Instead of clay, cane, wood and papier-mache, everything is plastic or moulded polymer, and the virtual world of the ubiquitous laptop or tablet rules all. The world of Harry Potter or Superman is more familiar than an Indian village to an average urban kid.
History is not a hot favourite with students. Most look upon it as a monstrous subject that is not just voluminous but also irrelevant. Why bother memorizing names of people long dead and their complicated, boring histories? But history can become interesting if you pick up the right book.
Who are the Baigas? The author explains that the Baigas are Gonds, a tribal community that inhabits the forest areas of central India. Like the author, I have spent some years in the area around Raipur, now part of Chattisgarh, as well as in the forested areas of Jharkhand.
The simultaneous publication of two anthologies of the works of Ruskin Bond, Uncles, Aunts and Elephants, and The Very Best of Ruskin Bond is ample proof that he continues to be one of the best loved and admired writers today in India. While a few stories and essays, such as ‘Wilson’s Bridge’ and ‘Bhabiji’s House’ appear in both the selections, the first published by Puffin, is evidently meant for a younger audience.