The story tells about the hardship of children, who have to travel miles on foot for education. I am reminded of APJ Abdul Kalam, who had endured such hardship yet became a scientist at ISRO and later our nation's president.
Chapter 3 mentions the Tahri dam and the blurb has a titbit of info about the protests around it. So I dug a little and found more info here. It is said that the dam would reduce the flow of the Ganges and its tributaries which is much against the popular Hindu belief.
Local village scenery like the dusty roads, steep climbs up the hill, mule trains, the village bazzar were a delight and some brought back memories of yesteryear. I am sure no place still remains the same so it was like a black and white movie that I shared with my kid.
The author details each season change through the changes in the flora and fauna, which is a good learning for the children too. Now a days, a thriving luscious forest is a rarity. I wonder if we will get a glimpse of this luscious forest and mountains with streams today, where this Tehri dam has been built.
Thousands of people had lost their homes because of this dam but the author goes on to show that even animals had lost their only home, the forest. Also he further drives the point that man and animals can co-exist if only we can understand them a little bit.
In this era of fast deforestation, the author has managed to capture the importance of the forest alongside educate about the disadvantages of the controversial Tehri dam. Ruskin Bond has again captured a very mundane, routine life of a village in a captivating story that displays courage and friendship. Illustrations by Kanwar Deep though in Black & White, captures the story beautifully. Another book from my kid's school library. I am sure every library would maintain one of Ruskin Bond's classics.