The Room on the Roof: A Book Review

One of the many popular short stories by Ruskin Bond, The Room on the Roof is known as a semi-autobiographical work. It was written by Ruskin Bond at the age of seventeen. The protagonist of the story is Rusty, who lives with Mr. Harrison and his wife. The story is based in the beautiful hilly town of Dehradun. Rusty is an orphan who feels claustrophobic inside his house and seeks for freedom and friendship.

Ruskin Bond brings out the loneliness of an adolescent boy who is in search of friendship, love, and a home. He is frustrated with the restrictions he faces at his house, and how he has no soul to share his pain with. The tale is of a lonely boy who runs away from the tortures of his house, to experience freedom. He was a victim of domestic violence, which was inflicted on him by his guardian, Mr. Harrison. Rusty was not allowed to make friends, especially not with Indians. Mr. Harrison was training him to become a proper Englishman. But, the events didn’t go according to Mr. Harrison’s plan. Rusty ended up playing Holi with his Indian friends, and hence, he was being punished by the guardian. Rusty couldn’t find back his inner turmoil anymore. He fought back and left his house to create his own life and destiny. He couldn’t bear to stay at a house where he was not allowed to speak his mind. 

The beautiful narration of the story makes the protagonist alive on every page of the story. Ruskin Bond made sure his readers feel the same pain, the same loneliness, the same frustration that the seventeen-year-old boy felt. The simple language used by Ruskin Bond makes the journey even more clear in the reader’s mind. Every reader would connect to the orphan teenager in a way that you would start finding similarities between the character and yourself. Ruskin Bond breaths life into the character of Rusty. He writes about the minute moments of teenage life that we tend to forget in the hustle of life. He paints the memories with colors, even if he focuses on pain or loneliness or even, frustration. We return to those days we had, and how we felt the same, how we felt lonely too. That is the beauty of Ruskin Bond. He writes about daily occurrences in a way that takes us back to the days of our lives. The tale reminds us of the rebel we all were in our teenage days, and how we used to fight back every emotion which made us feel negative. 

The turning point of Rusty’s life is his friendship with Somi. He showed Rusty the world outside his caged house. Rusty got the flavor of the marketplace, the smell of the daily life and he got attracted to the life outside. Rusty’s journey begins with his friendship with Somi. He encounters his first attraction, his first unsolicited kiss with a married woman, and this is how he met the room on the roof. This is where Rusty experiences the many emotions of ordinary life. This is where his story did not end but started. This is where he finds his first home and experiences his second major loss. The room on the roof, his abode, made him an adult from a teenager. If you wish to taste the flavors of the teenage days again and lose yourself in the beautiful memories once more, The Room on the Roof is a must-read.