The Room on the Roof written by Ruskin Bond is set against an Indian Backdrop in Dehra, Uttarakhand. While you read the room on the roof summary, you will come across Ruskin Bond’s first literary venture which he undertook at the age of seventeen. Bond is an Anglo-Indian writer who published the book in 1956. As mentioned, the Room on the Roof’s protagonist lives in Dehradun and is the story of an orphaned Seventeen-year-old Anglo Indian boy, Rusty. Rusty is presented as a sad, lonely character who has lost his parents and is left with no real family. Sometimes, home is a person. For Rusty, his parents were his home. After their demise, he started living with his guardian, Mr John Harrison. However, nothing could make him feel at home. As a young boy of seventeen, he was undergoing a thunder of emotions. He wasn’t only sad or lonely but also confused and helpless. Like every young boy transitioning from teenager to adulthood, he didn’t quite have a direction in life and a future he looked forward to. Hence, he was in a helpless, confused state.
Having lost his parents, he is bound to live under the shadow of his guardian, without any slight chance of disobeying him. He is aware of the punishment that might be inflicted on him by Mr John if he denies his orders. He is bereft of good, loyal friends in life and lives under the darkness of loneliness. Things are sad for Rusty. As portrayed clearly in Room in the Roof, Rusty longs for freedom. Under the shackles of oppression, uncle John doesn’t let him go near the Indian bazaar in Dehra. All of this comes from the feeling of considering Indians as dirty. He feels superior of the fact that the British had ruled over India and even though Rusty is half Indian, John’s denial keeps him in darkness. India had gained independence from the British and his behaviour towards berefting Rusty from going to market was a sign of casual racism and unruly modesty. The room on the roof summary portrays instinct and its vitality. After being kept within closed borders, While MrJohn was away, Rusty goes out for a walk to explore the vividness and bask in the fresh glory. While he was walking through the forest, there was a constant battle between his heart and mind about deciding to enter the bazaar or not. Finally, he followed his instinct and entered the bazaar.
At this point, the room on the rooftop introduces another aspect of love – friendship via its character Some. Rusty came across Some in the bazaar and Rusty, who was lonely and bereft of friends turns out to be good friends with Some. He becomes a source of confidence and hope. Some also introduce his friend Ranbir to Rusty. On the same night, he’s scolded by his guardian for having gone to the bazaar and for being friends with Some. However, he still visits Ranbir to play Holi at his place and gets another round of scolding. While walking back home, one day, Rusty finds his friends enjoying their lives and roaming profoundly in the city. That’s when he decided to break the shackles and decides to live a happy, free life. Having found his independence, he’s over the feelings of bondage and starts enjoying the freedom. He has found his way of living life and it’s his friend Some who supports him through the journey.
However, his guardian beats him brutally on learning about his newly found freedom and for not following his orders and he decides to never visit his house again. Having spent a night out, he felt lonely and gets hit by the harsh realities of life.
It was Some who lifted Rusty out and helped him with a teaching job.
It was under the influence of healthy friendship that Rusty was seeing a character transition. From being a confused boy, he was gaining confidence and started walking on the path to becoming an independent man. It was this confidence that made him take up the job of teaching English to a boy named Kishen. He was given a room on the roof and food in return for teaching Kishen. The room on the rooftop at this point introduces the concept of romantic love when Rusty falls in love with Meena, Kishen’s mother. Meena was in an unhappy marriage. Her husband was a drunkard and much older. Rusty was on cloud nine when his feelings were well reciprocated in return. They share a very special moment in the jungle while on a picnic when they kiss. It was Meena’s lack of bonding with her husband that she finds love in someone, a little older than his son. But, he’s left heartbroken when Meena and her husband leave for Delhi. Sadness engulfs him when he receives a telegram that mentions an accident that leaves Meena dead. This love was like a new hope in Rusty’s life and it was all gone now. He breaks down inconsolably and finds himself in pity and depression. Kishen starts living with his aunty in Haridwar and Rusty becomes lonely, again. With no direction and aspirations in life, he decides to leave for England in the hope of starting a new life. But, before leaving, he decides to see Kishen. To his shock, he gets to know that MrKapoor had remarried and Kishen, all lost in life, took up thieving as a way of life. He was wanted by the police. Rusty tells him to stop thieving and start living an honest life. The book – Room on the rooftop ends on a positive note with both Kishen and Rusty deciding to start a fresh life without letting the past affect the present and future
Bond’s genius is presented in the book which he wrote when he was only seventeen. The Room on Rooftop talks about the qualities of love, friendship, hardships, and looking forward. It highlights the pain of orphans, their negotiating condition and the struggles which they face in life for the basic needs of food, shelter and security. Not only is the narration wonderful but the characters have been so intrinsically carved that it builds up a connection with the audience. The teenage perspective which the book provides is wholesome and full of emotions. The room on the rooftop highlights an important message of post-colonial racism that prevailed in the country.