During my short yet memorable stay in Trivandrum, one day while sauntering thru' the passageway in TCS Library there I came across Children's section. After a little while, my eyes got set on the catchy cover of Ruskin Bond's first Novel for children - "The Hidden Pool". My inquisitive mind couldn't wait further and I looked around for a void place in Library.
On my way towards "the" place - I met some students who had some questions 'n' doubts. Finally, after exchanging few more pleasantries - I sat down and began reading....!
"The Hidden Pool" - happens to be an enchanting story of enduring true friendship. The protagonist here is an english boy named Laurie who like other kids is a naive soul whos inquisitive mind is always full of questions. Laurie moves to a small hill town with his parents when his father gets posted here on work for two years. Laurie has a nice habit of observing things very closely and he appreciates the nature and its elements a lot. Once he settles well in new town and starts going to school - he makes two friends. Anil - his first friend in new town is son of a local cloth merchant & Kamal - his "special" friend is an orphan who unfortunately lost his parents during the Partition. The quality of Kamal which inspires Laurie is that he has a passion for studying and sells buttons & shoelaces to make some money to fund his strudies. His greatest dream read secret ambition) is to be able to go to BIG college by putting in best of his efforts. Laurie ensure that whenever Kamal comes over to his place in evenings - he buys someting from him. What amazes Kaurie is how come Kamal remains self motivated and +ive on all instants.
Anil & Kamal introduces our dear 'seedha' Laurie to a bewitching world of beetle races, chaat, ghosts, lukka chippi and Stapuu and Holi - the Indian festival of colours. One day their adventurous spirits take them to go towards the mountainside and to their utter amazement they find an exotic 'n' water pool amidst lush green surroundings. A small waterfall came down from the rocks on one side of the hill aformed this deep round pool of apple green water. They now start mentioning this pool as theirs (humaara) for they've discovered it after all...!
This secret pool soon becomes the haunt of the three friends and at the pool the boys fish, build dams, take midnight dips, wrestle, and ride buffaloes. They make it a point to visit the place on a regular basis. It is there that togther plan their grand adventure: a trek to the Pindari Glacier, were no one from their town has gone before - they wished to be FIRSTS yet again.. On the slopes of the beautiful mountain they meet pumpkin-eating bears, and keep a close lookout for the Abominable Snow-woman who feeds children fruit, honey, rice and earthworms - almost everything and anything you one can imagine in wildest of the imaginations.
The story was a real eye opener for me --- since as I navigated across the pages - I could actually see lots of me in either of the boys...its just that the Innocence, the simplicity, the modesty somehow seems to have vanished into thin air somewhere....!
The twist in the story comes when Laurie's parents say that his father's assignment will get over in a week and then they may leave India. The news came as a shock to poor boy who had just now started learning life on his own - in a way he wanted to. Upon disclosing this piece of news to Kamal & Anil - they almost appear heartbroken. Finally, the guys decide that wherever they are on the globe, they'll surely meet atleast once more in their lifetime @ The Hidden Pool - which united them and created an unbreakable bond - the bond of true friendship.
There are a lot of take aways from the story of three wonderful boys told in single person by Ruskin Bond....!!For your reference.....an year later Laurie received letter from Kamal that he had successfully passed his board exams - Kamal said he just had to give some good news in his letter to Laurie - that's what pushed him to work harder!
And rest as they say....is history.....!
'As a boy, reading was my religion. It helped me to discover my soul. Later, writing helped me to record its journey.'-- Ruskin Bond