I can never read more than fifty or sixty pages of Ruskin Bond in one day. I feel the overpowering desire to close the book after every page and to imagine the sights and the smells that he so effortlessly describes (served with a side of refreshing humour entirely devoid of insult or malice). I have no conscious memory of snowy mountains but his love affair with the Himalayas makes me feel things that I did not know I could feel, accentuating my personal madness with his every word.

“All night the rain had been drumming on the corrugated tin roof. There has been no storm, no thunder, just the steady swish of a tropical downpour. It helps one to lie awake, at the same time, it doesn’t keep one from sleeping.”

As the train wheels continue to grate against the tracks in an almost musical rhythm and as the unimaginative chatter persists in the background, I am transported to his world of long walks, of deodars, of ‘contemplation’ and above all, of rain in the Himalayas.

“And the earth itself. It smells differently in different places. But its loveliest fragrance is known only when it receives a shower of rain. And then the scent of wet earth rises as though it were giving something beautiful back to the clouds – a blend of all the fragrant things that grow in it.”