Book Extract | ‘Hop On’: Ruskin Bond’s Travel Adventures From Childhood

On Ruskin Bond’s 86th birthday on May 19, 2020, Talking Club – the children’s imprint of independent publishing house Speaking Tiger – has released Hop On: My Adventures on Boats, Trains and Planes by Bond in an e-book format.

Bond has written numerous novellas, short-stories and non-fiction books. He received the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1993, the Padma Shri in 1999 and the Padma Bhushan in 2014.

It chronicles the author’s travel adventures from childhood along with illustrations by Samrat Halder, who is an illustrator, animator and comic book artist. He has worked as a freelance illustrator with a number of Indian and international publications for children’s book.

“All of us at Speaking Tiger wish Mr Bond a very very happy birthday. We are delighted to be celebrating it by releasing this sweet and charming book. Ruskin Bond is the gentlest, loveliest of writers and we do hope you will join us in wishing him, and celebrate it as well, by reading his new book and exploring all his writings on this day,” said Sudeshna Shome Ghosh, publisher and editor of Talking Club.

The Club has also published Bond’s other books such as When I Was a Boy: Scenes and Stories from My Childhood, Friends in Wild Places: Birds, Beasts and Other Companions and The Book of Crazy Mischief (co-edited with Jerry Pinto).

The e-book (Hop On) will be available on Amazon from 20 May onwards.

Here’s an excerpt from the book:


Last night I dreamt I was an engine driver. I was in a smart blue uniform, and I was driving a toy train up the hills. Toot- toot! I pressed the merry whistle whenever I saw a goat or a small child ambling along the tracks.

The goats paid no attention to me. The children waved to me. All was going well in my dream. The passengers were happy. They were taking pictures on their cameras or dozing or reading or eating chips. The sky was clear and there was a pleasant cool breeze ruffling my hair. When suddenly – thump! Something large landed on the roof of the engine. Startled, I leaned out to see what was happening. It was a big black raven.

Cawwww! It said meanly, eyeing me with beady black eyes. Caww to you too! I yelled. The raven fluffed its feathers and looked away. Then, in a familiar voice it asked me, ‘One litre of milk or two?’

What? The raven was delivering the milk today? In surprise, my eyes flew open. Gone were the toy train, the blue uniform, the goats, the passengers, the raven. The milkman was peeping in and asking me how much milk I would need today. With a sigh I arose and opened the door and took in the milk. But in my mind, I was on the train, so

I quickly sat down to write about some eventful journeys I have had. Do you want to know about them?
Then hop on, and let’s set off, with a toot and a whistle, and I will tell you what happened once upon a time.