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INDIAN GHOST STORIES (Edited by Ruskin Bond): A Collection of Ghost Stories from across the Indian Territory.
AUTHOR(s): The Book has some proud names like Rudyard Kipling, R.K.Narayan, A.Conan Doyle, Satyajit Ray, John Lang and Others.
EXCERPT: From one of my Favorite Stories from the book, by Ruskin Bond called, "TOPAZ"
"Was it all a dream?
It was impossible to say. But the topaz on my hand glowed softly in the darkness.
And a whisper from the forest seemed to say,
'It isn't time that's passing by, my friend. It is you and I...'"
MSM Speaks: Now, I really do not possess hard cover books and that is a shame, I know (So? I read at least. :P) But, I am one proud owner of a copy of this 1962 spine-chilling book.Okay, not exactly spine chilling, but I love this book nonetheless. There is a sentimental value attached to this battered copy that I cherish, as my maternal grandfather had this on his name and I got it, after his death. Hence, I cannot dislike this one in any way.
Coming to the book...I rarely read 'Preface's but I lapped up the 6 page one this had, as it was written by Ruskin Bond. Now coming to the stories that are in here. I will give a short list of my favorites, which got me hooked to this genre since I was 10.
- Mark of the Beast (Rudyard Kipling): Beautifully captures the ideologies of 'firangees ' in India - the story encapsulates the fact that some beliefs are not to be mocked at, as there is a beastly price to pay.
- The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes (Rudyard Kipling): Shows an India, that I never knew existed.Gory, breath stopping and interesting, this is no simple tale. I read it twice to understand the chilling escape that our Morrowbie Jukes manages from the 'others'.
- Brown Hand (Arthur Conan Doyle): One of the nicest ghost stories I have ever read. It doesn't give false hopes about a ghost with claws and bites, but captures the eerie invisible mystery that a ghost story needs. Away from India, but Indian at heart, this story amuses me till date.
- Fritz (Satyajit Ray): Oh, who would have thought that the poetic Bundi ka kila (The Fort of Bundi) will be in a place that has some morbid childhood memories haunting a man of 30 years today. There is a way when a good pen moves on the paper, this story will make you forget to blink.
- Anathbabu's Terror (Satyajit Ray): This story always reminds me of the fact that sometimes, doubt is what leads a person to something, from which he can never come back. Written in first person, Satyajit Ray makes the reader feel ever chill, twist, emotion and pain in such an easy flow. It is easy to forget that it is fiction and not real. Captures rural Indian gossip truly.
- Topaz (Ruskin Bond): This five page story is a tiny dynamite. It spikes your blood with tiny bursts of adrenaline and yes, I am biased, because it's Ruskin (Sir, I owe my love for books, to you!). It's set in Kasuali where Ruskin was born and he notices things, that we let pass by.
- Around a Temple (R.K.Narayan): A hilarious bone tickler, written in R.K.'s trademark style, it captures India and it's mysticism in a real way that tells the readers, in India, God is real. (I cracked up at the agony of the UK-returned protagonist.
These are few stories that I loved in the Book, then there are others, which are typical but good reads. Being MSM, anything with Ghost, Spirits, Hauntings etc. attracts me always and this book, takes me back to the childhood, when getting scared was easy... A must read, if you really want to relax, with a cup of steaming espresso. I promise you, you cannot put this one down, before you hit the last page.
My Rating: 4.5/5
I got this one for free, but for you all interested people, some of the details from the Penguin website ------>Here<------ are as follows:
The Penguin Book of Indian Ghost Stories:
Publishers: Penguin Books IndiaImprint: Penguin
Published: 14th October 2000
Published: 14th October 2000
Classification: Historical Fiction
Cover Price: Rs.195/-