Saturday, 9 July 2016

The world outside my window - book review


Ruskin Bond’s the world outside my window is very different from his other books. Yes he has written about insects, birds and trees in his books. But they were seldom the main characters in his books. The character sketches and life in the mountains were always the USPs of his books.

But in the World Outside My Window he exclusively talks about the insects, birds and trees. The book is divided into three sections. The section the wonderful world of insects is about butterflies, honeybees, scorpions and many other insects. Though the second section is called birdsong in the mountains, it has chapters on the birds from the citites as well. In the last section the loveliness of ferns, he speaks about the trees.

He tells us how the female scorpion eats up the male soon after the mating. He tells us that as men woo the women with chocolates, the male insects attract the female with the fluids which they secrete. While speaking about crows he says ‘Many crows seem to have been humans in their previous lives. They possess all the cunning and sense of self-preservation of man. At the same time there are many humans who have obviously been crows. We haven’t lost their thieving instincts.’ He says the birds like crows, sparrows and mynas who can live with humans continue to thrive as cities grow. But the wilder lot is diminishing with the depleting forests.

He candidly states that in the long run, it is the common man and not the scientist or conservationist, who can best give protection to the birds and animals living around him.

In the chapter on owls, Ruskin Bond does what he is best at doing. He draws character sketches. Though it is not in sync with other chapters in the book, I liked reading it.

Many birds, insects and trees mentioned in the book are not known to many of us. Now you cannot imagine how a insect would look after reading its details, the way you can do with human characters. It would have been better if their pictures were included in the book. Also the book is poorly proof read. It has ample errors of punctuation. I wish these were avoided.

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