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How far is the river


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'How far is the river' is another beautiful short story by Indian author Ruskin Bond. I made the slides based solely on my perception of the story. Feel free to download and alter if necessary. Do please upload your modified version, so that others can benefit too. Cheers!

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How far is the river

  1. 1. HOW FAR IS THE RIVER By Ruskin Bond
  2. 2. About the Author • Ruskin Bond is an Indian author, who was born on 19th May 1934. His father was with the Royal Air Force. • Mr. Bond spent most of his childhood in Dehradun, where he stayed with his grandmother. • He wrote his first short story, ‘Untouchable’, in 1950 at the age of sixteen. • He also lived in England for four years where he started writing his first novel, ‘The room on the roof’, which would later earn him the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize in 1957.
  3. 3. His works • His stories are influenced mostly by his life in the hill stations at the foothills of the Himalayas, where most of his childhood was spent. • His works include well known children’s stories like, Our trees still grow in Dehra, A flight of pigeons, The room on the roof, Funny side up, Vagrants in the valley etc. • His novel, ‘The Blue Umbrella’, inspired a movie of the same name, by Bollywood director Vishal Bhardwaj. The movie won the National Award for Best Children’s film.
  4. 4. His works….continued • Many of his stories are part of the school curriculum in India, including, ‘The night train at Deoli’, ‘Time stops at Shamli’, ‘Our trees still grow in Dehra’ etc. • In the last semester, we had the story, ‘The eyes have it/The eyes are not here’ as well. That too, was authored by him. • He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1999 and the Padma Bhushan in 2014.
  5. 5. The story According to the story, there lived a young boy of twelve years in a village near a mountain valley. The valley was surrounded by woods. There flowed a river about seven miles away. The path to the river has been described as ‘thickly forested’, ‘lonely’ and ‘rocky’, only trees and bramble and flowers. No human being. Silent. The river has been described to be concealed by the mountains. Not many villagers had been to see the river. The villagers who had been there used to talk to the kids about the river, the fish in its waters. They used to talk about its rocks and currents and waterfalls. These stories influenced the boy to the extent that he got an irresistible desire to see the river with his own eyes and touch its water.
  6. 6. The story continued… The boy has been described as young, about twelve years of age, sturdy and had untidy black hair and shiny black eyes. He is said to have fine features and a clear brown skin. His hands and feet are said to be rough and scratched. He always remained barefooted. One day the boy got the rare chance to fulfill his desire as his parents were away at a relative’s house and were to return at dark.
  7. 7. The story continued… The boy seized this opportunity and decided to be back home before his parents returned, to avoid raising any suspicion. He had some bread, milk and two eggs with him at home. He could take the bread loaf. He packed his food, locked the doors and set off towards the river. The path as mentioned before was steep and surrounded by trees and forests. This part of the path was frequently used by goat herders, milkmen, mule-drivers, woodcutters etc.
  8. 8. The story continued… The boy met a couple of people on his way and kept asking the distance to the river. One of them, a woodcutter, was worried about him as he was going to the river alone. He also met a goat-herder boy, who he shared his loaf of bread with. After parting with the boy, he felt discouraged and lonely as there was no more human being in sight. The path became more rocky and he was tired.
  9. 9. The story continued… Although he felt discouraged, he decided to keep walking as he had already come half-way and giving up would be a shameful experience. He kept walking on the dusty, stony, silent path. There was no human in sight. No movement, except the bending of grass beneath his feet and circling of a hawk high above the palm trees.
  10. 10. The River Finally, after the ordeal, the boy turned a sharp bend and the silence broke into sound. The sound of a rushing roaring river. The river has been said to ‘tumble over rocks, fast and frenzied, far down in the valley’. The boy became excited and started running. He stumbled but still he ran. Finally, he was described as ‘ankle-deep’ in the ‘painfully cold’ mountain water. The river water has been described as ‘white and wonderful’
  11. 11. Things to be learned from this story The first thing we learn is ‘never give up’. The boy was so determined that he did not falter. The woodcutter told him of the long journey. The path was silent, and at one point he became discouraged. Since he had already come half-way and he had waited so long to see and touch the river, he didn’t give up. “The decision to ‘keep going’ is all what it takes to make a difference sometimes.”
  12. 12. Things to be learned from the story The second thing we learn is ‘to achieve something, we need to dream about it first’. The stories by the villagers who had been to the river were the key reinforcement of the ‘will’ to go and see the river himself. The stories helped the boy picture the river in his mind and he was able to imagine a beautiful river which led him to make the journey and see his imagination come true. He would never have visited the river if he hadn’t imagined how it would be like to stand in front of it and touch its waters.
  13. 13. Things to be learned from the story Although this totally deviates from the whole idea of the story, it should not be overlooked. The story describes how youngsters do things without telling their parents. This worked well for the boy but may not be similar in case of every person. The path being unknown, the slope being steep, and the river being dangerous, roaring and rushing, anything could have happened to the boy, which would at least be hours before it was brought to anybody’s notice.
  14. 14. THE END 