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A Little Book of Magical Plants by Ruskin Bond

We live in concrete jungles and go through our packed schedules, ticking off one item after the other in our to-do lists. However busy we tend to get, there is a part of us that yearns to be in sync with nature, because after all, we all are born of nature! A Little Book of Magical Plants by Ruskin Bond, published by Rupa Publications, is a gentle guide that draws out this feeling of being at one with nature. 

Every plant has something to offer!

In this book, Ruskin Bond introduces us to his favourite plants. As soon as you start reading this book, you get a sense of peace and calm, as if nature itself is drawing you in to experience her soothing stillness. 

“And so, my friend, even if you don’t have a garden or a field, try to grow something in your home. Almost any plant will do. I have a bean growing near one window and a chilly plant at the next. Both are in flower, and both will give fruit. I never tire of looking at them, because I planted them myself. It is better to create than to destroy”. 

You will meet a host of trees and plants here. You will read about their loving relationship with Ruskin Bond. And as you read about them, there might just be a few fun facts interwoven within. For instance, I never knew that tomatoes were considered poisonous for eating before the 1800s! 

His observations will resonate with the reader who loves trees and nature. Even as you encounter vignettes about plants, there are other delightful surprises- such as the wonderful and whimsical illustrations by Anisha Heble and the calligraphic representation of some really well-thought quotes. 

“I am fond of plums because, for many years, there were a couple of plum trees growing up on the hillside near my abode, and every spring they would shower me with their fragrant white blossoms. Then someone cut them down to build a guesthouse. The plum trees were nicer guests.”

There will be moments when you will get into a nostalgic mood, thanks to his evocation of simple and sweet memories associated with plants and trees. There will be some moments when you will actually ‘sense’ and experience the fragrance of crushed lime leaves or squeeze fruits from the neem tree. Such is the sensuality in the words of Ruskin Bond. 

How to read A Little Book of Magical Plants…..

  • Read it with a calm mindset, think of it like a dose of Zen. It is a very simple and poignant book to read. It will inspire you to renew your relationship with nature and the world of trees and plants. 
  • There are a few empty lined pages that you may use to write down your reflections. 
  • My top tip – Read the book in a park, preferably in the shade of an old tree! You must have heard about forest bathing. It is a very fashionable term now, but it describes what should actually be a very natural thing for us! So, this is the book to take when you’re forest bathing for sure! 
  • I love the striking quotes on nature and plants written in a beautiful calligraphic font. These delightful quotes are simple but very profound. 

If you’re up for this special journey, I can assure you it will be a memorable one. You will read a little about specific trees, go through some intriguing trivia about nature, know about fond memories associated with trees and feel reminiscent about the natural world, because no matter how deeply entrenched we are in our busy urban lives and concrete dwellings, the human spirit is always bound to nature! 

In his gentle but persuasive way, Bond gives us the most important message of all.

“The earth is generous. All man has to do is cooperate with the forces of nature, the sun and the rain, the heat and the cold. For if the grass disappears, so will mankind”. 

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Dhanishta Shah

Dhanishta is a Counselling Psychologist and a freelance writer. She is the Founder of Bookedforlife.