Going Home by Ruskin Bond
In Going Home by Ruskin Bond we have the theme of struggle, innocence, control, conflict, kindness, trust and happiness. Taken from his Collected Short Stories collection the reader realizes after reading the story that Bond may be exploring the theme of struggle. Daya Ram struggles throughout the story despite at times enjoying himself. The card game and drinking of the rum being an example of this. Though it is clear to the reader that Daya Ram is being taken advantage of by the men he is drinking with and playing cards with. This may be significant as it is possible that Bond is suggesting that Daya Ram is innocent. He cannot judge a situation. Something that is clearer to the reader by way of his playing with the young boy. What had started as an innocent game has turned on Daya Ram and he loses his purse when it falls out of the train window.
If anything Daya Ram is in conflict throughout the story. Firstly with the young boy. Then when he goes to retrieve the purse from the embankment and when he meets the man on the street who robs him. It is as though Daya Ram has no luck apart from the fact that his purse is returned to him by the station master. Daya Ram also fears what his wife may say to him over his adventures which suggests that Daya Ram is not in control of his own life. His life seems to be controlled by his wife. A woman that Daya Ram fears because of her sharp tongue. Despite the fact that Daya Ram has returned from the Ganges after spreading his brother’s ashes he knows that he will receive no sympathy from his wife. She appears to be a stern woman.
There may also be some symbolism in the story which might be important. The purse can be seen to represent hope and prosperity. Everybody after all needs money to live. However for Daya Ram the most important thing is making sure he gets his train ticket back so that he can continue his journey home. The young boy can be seen to symbolize innocence. Something that Daya Ram is attracted to for he himself is an innocent. The two card players on the train may represent an alternative way of life to the life that Daya Ram lives. The fact that Daya Ram loses his money playing cards in the bar may also be significant as it is possible that Bond is further highlighting a life that Daya Ram is not part of or at least not successful at. He does after all gamble most of his money away. Losing it to the men in the bar. The man who robs Daya Ram can be seen to symbolize kindness or at least Daya Ram’s kind act in helping the man.
The end of the story is interesting as Bond appears to be exploring the theme of happiness. Daya Ram is just happy that his train ticket has not been robbed and that he can continue his journey home. The fact he strikes up a conversation with a like-minded farmer on the train is important as it suggests that Daya Ram’s faith in society has been restored. If there is one downfall for Daya Ram it is the fact that he immediately trusts others. He trusts the boy on the train and his fellow farmer. He trusts the man he meets in the bar and he trusts the robber. This may further inform readers as to how innocent Daya Ram actually is. He seems to trust everybody and does not have an opinion on others. Which might be good however a person needs to firstly protect themselves from others before they bestow trust on the person they are engaged with. It is only through luck that Daya Ram meets a decent farmer on the train bound for his home.