Do you know what a diary is? It is a record of personal
experiences written day after day over a long period
of time. You can also use a diary to note down things
you plan to do immediately or in future.
One of the most famous diaries published as a book is
The Diary of Anne Frank.
Here are a few extracts from Ruskin Bond's diary in
which he portrays the silent miracles of nature and
life's little joys and regrets. )
Part 1 June 24
The first day of monsoon mist. And it's strange how all
the birds fall silent as the mist comes climbing up the
hill. Perhaps that's what makes the mist so melancholy;
not only does it conceal the hills, it blankets them in
silence too. Only an hour ago the trees were ringing
with birdsong. And now the forest is deathly still as
though it were midnight.
Through the mist Bijju is calling to his sister. I can
hear him running about on the hillside but I cannot
Some genuine earlymonsoon
and humid, and not
that cold high-altitude
stuff we've been having
all year. The plants
seem to know it too,
and the first cobra lily
rears its head from the
ferns as I walk up to the
bank and post office.
The mist affords a
A school boy asked
me to describe the hill
station and valley in
one sentence, and all I could say was: "A paradise that
might have been."
The rains have heralded the arrival of some seasonal
visitors --- a leopard, and several thousand leeches.
Yesterday afternoon the leopard lifted a dog from near
the servants'quarter below the school. In the evening it
attacked one of Bijju's cows but fled at the approach of
Bijju's mother, who came screaming imprecations.
As for the leeches, I shall soon get used to a little
bloodletting every day.
Other new arrivals are the scarlet minivets (the
females are yellow), flitting silently among the leaves
like brilliant jewels. No matter how leafy the trees, these
brightly coloured birds cannot conceal themselves,
although, by remaining absolutely silent, they
sometimes contrive to go unnoticed. Along come a pair
of drongos, unnecessarily aggressive, chasing the
A tree creeper moves rapidly up the trunk of the
oak tree, snapping up insects all the way. Now that
the rains are here, there is no dearth of food for the
All night the rain has been drumming on the
corrugated tin roof. There has been no storm, no
thunder, just the steady swish of a tropical downpour.
It helps me to lie awake; at the same time, it doesn't
keep me from sleeping.
It is a good sound to read by --- the rain outside, the
quiet within --- and, although tin roofs are given to
springing unaccountable leaks, there is a feeling of being
untouched by, and yet in touch with, the rain.
The rain stops. The clouds begin to break up, the sun
strikes the hill on my left. A woman is chopping up
sticks. I hear the tinkle of cowbells. In the oak tree, a
crow shakes the raindrops from his feathers and caws
disconsolately. Water drips from a leaking drainpipe.
And suddenly, clean and pure, the song of the whistling
thrush emerges like a dark sweet secret from the depths
of the ravine.
Endless rain, and a permanent mist. We haven't seen
the sun for eight or nine days. Everything damp and
soggy. Nowhere to go. Pace the room, look out of the
window at a few bobbing umbrellas. At least it isn't cold
rain. The hillsides are lush
as late-monsoon flowers
begin to appear --- wild
balsam, dahlias, begonias
and ground orchids.
It is the last day of August,
and the lush monsoon
growth has reached its
peak. The seeds of the
cobra lily are turning red,
signifying that the rains are coming to an end.
In a few days the ferns will start turning yellow, but
right now they are still firm, green and upright. Ground
orchids, mauve lady's slipper and the white butterfly
orchids put on a fashion display on the grassy slopes of
Landour. Wild dahlias, red, yellow and magenta, rear
their heads from the rocky crevices where they have
Snakes and rodents, flooded out of their holes and
burrows, take shelter in roofs, attics and godowns. A
shrew, weak of eyesight, blunders about the rooms,
much to the amusement of the children.
"Don't kill it," admonishes their grandmother.
"Chuchundars are lucky --- they bring money!"
And sure enough, I receive a cheque in the mail. Not
a very large one, but welcome all the same.
We have gone straight from monsoon into winter rain.
Snow at higher altitudes.
After an evening hailstorm, the sky and hills are
suffused with a beautiful golden light.
January 26 Winter Rains in the Hills
In the hushed silence of the house
when I am quite alone, and my
friend, who was here
has gone, it is very lonely, very quiet,
as I sit in a liquid silence, a silence
surrounded by the rhythm of rain,
the steady drift
of water on leaves, on lemons, on roof,
drumming on drenched dahlias and
while the mist holds the house in a
As I pause near a window, the rain stops.
And starts again.
And the trees, no longer green but grey,
menace me with their loneliness.
Late March. End of winter.
The blackest cloud I've ever seen squatted over
Mussoorie, and then it hailed marbles for half an hour.
Nothing like a hailstorm to clear the sky. Even as I write,
I see a rainbow forming.
On the Grasshopper and Cricket.
Unlike The Ant and the Cricket (page 21), which tells a story, this
is a nature poem. In it, the grasshopper and cricket do not appear
as characters in a story. Rather, they act as symbols, each
suggesting something else. Read the poem and notice how ‘the
poetry of earth'keeps on through summer and winter in a neverending
song. Who sings the song?)
The poetry of earth is never dead:
When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,
And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run
From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead,
That is the grasshopper's --- he takes the lead
In summer luxury --- he has never done
With his delights, for when tired out with fun
He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed.
The poetry of earth is ceasing never:
On a lone winter evening when the frost
Has wrought a silence, from the stone there shrills
The cricket's song, in warmth increasing ever,
And seems to one in drowsiness half lost;
The grasshopper's among some grassy hills.
Online Lessons with Spoken text and correct pronounciation