Ruskin Bond is a household name. Ever since I was a child, I had been reading his books, as have many of you. The myriad descriptions of the hills and valleys appealed to the senses for the readers. The Sensualist, however, appeals to the basic instincts of human nature. Deviating from his usual literature for the children, Bond addresses those youngsters on the verge of puberty and adolescence with The Sensualist.
The human nature is one of the mysteries of the Universe which would take an eternity to solve. Their psyche desires company and yet are afraid of the unnatural powers possessed by the mind. The working of the mind is strange.Though one’s own, it has the ability to bend the desires of others if trained thoroughly. The mind can make a person hungry to soothe their base instincts and also so weary of their needs that the individual is compelled to give up every aspect of pleasure.
The Sensualist is narrated by a recluse who in his heydays was a man in pursuit of sexual and sensual advances. He had trained himself to make others desire him. His baser acts appealed to his senses of touch, smell, seeing, taste and hearing. Every sense organ worked together in appeasing or displeasing him. Whether it be how one looked or what one wore; what perfume did one emit or what one spoke; all worked in the favor of his acts.
Going by unconventional likings and an array of women to choose from, the protagonist derived pleasure in the most unthinkable ways. Throughout the book, four major incidents of his life, regarding his relationships have been highlighted; although he hints at the presence of several others. It is interesting to note that none of his relationships were serious commitments, they were only physical relationships derived out of mutual consent. While he being a man, always considered it in his power to be in control of the situation but only once in his life did he feel that he was the one controlled by the other half. this too initiated a different experience on its own.
But one is yet to see what happens when too much of something happens? does it continue forever? Does Nature extract revenge? Does it put a full-stop as otherwise there would be no end to desires? It is interesting to follow the protagonist’s story and contemplate on the various stages of his journey and take cues from its conclusion regarding one’s own life.
For me, The Sensualist is a book that must definitely be read but by those in their later teens so that the essence of the story is understood and not misinterpreted. A basic ethical and moral perception remains throughout, but again who decides what is ethical and moral. every individual has the right to set their own moral standards without being judged. Moreover, the answer to this philosophy has been given by Bond himself in the book when the protagonist says, ” I can give you a hundred answers to your question, and all of them would be right, and yet none of them would be right. For there is not one answer, but many. ”
Ruskin Bond has displayed his unmatched versatility by penning down The Sensualist which deals in human nature and the human psyche. It is a definite recommendation from my end. The Sensualist is available on Flipkart, Snapdeal, and Amazon.
Here I would also like to add that the book was gifted to me by my friend and fellow book lover Radhika, as part of our Book Club’s 2017 Secret Santa.