I suddenly realized that I cannot read most of Ruskin Bond short stories without choking on a lump in my throat! Every other story manages to evoke a strangely familiar painful feeling in myself.
I wonder why though. His stories are neither terribly tragic nor unnecessarily sorrowful. They are almost never about broken hearts or lost loves. Then why is it that they move me so? I always thought only unrequited love and lost sweethearts could evoke such waves of emotions in me! But it is beyond argument that these wonderful little stories bring a shiver in my spine, heaviness on my heart and tears to my eyes. As I ponder about the mystery, it dawns on me that most of his stories are nothing more than random occurrences. Incidents that happen in the lives of common people living common lives in some unknown but common land.
The stories are almost always about some bygone experience, like a forgotten train journey. They are about some distant but enduring memory, like an old grandmother remembering her frolic-full days of laughter and mischief. A freak occurrence, like a widow finding and losing love, for the second time. They are about human eccentricities, like a woman falling in love with a man she has never seen. They are about life's whimsical and quirky ways, like an old man growing exceptionally attached to a little girl. They are about things we would otherwise not notice, like an old photograph now seen with new eyes or a daffodil that suddenly feels different. They are about travel, where we move ahead but only after we leave behind.
His stories, like his travels are always moving always fleeting. They are with me this minute, they get lost the next. One experience withdraws only to tumble onto another. Each as sweet as the previous and as mystical as the next. I think it is this fleeting quality of his stories that touches me. This fleeting, transient and a vaguely temporary feeling that brings to me the strangeness of it all. The impermanence of everything. The broken dreams. The not so broken ones. The going to be broken ones. All of them cross my heart in a fleeting moment. That's why I cry.
Oh and there is some element of broken and lost love after all. Even if in a very abstract sense often spoken of like it was in the past. Because after all there is really nothing more tragic than unrequited love. Is there?