Most Beautiful by Ruskin Bond
In Most Beautiful by Ruskin Bond we have the theme of sympathy, insecurity, friendship, jealousy, connection, trust and gratitude. Taken from his Collected Short Stories collection the story is narrated in the first person by an unnamed man and after reading the story the reader realises that Bond may be exploring the theme of sympathy. The narrator feels sympathy towards Suresh and does not like it when he is being teased and hit by the other boys at the Bazaar. Though the narrator is unaware of it in time he will connect with Suresh and become friends with him. It is also noticeable that Suresh’s world opens up to greater possibilities simply because the narrator takes him under his wing. It might also be important that Suresh’s father shows indifference towards Suresh as it may be a case that Bond is suggesting that Suresh’s father lacks the compassion needed to be a father. He is simply judging Suresh on his deformities and the fact that he is unlike other boys. If anything it is possible that Suresh’s father judges Suresh to be more of a hindrance than a help. At no stage in the story does Suresh’s father appear to show any type of devotion or interest in Suresh.
What is also interesting about Suresh is the fact that he behaves just like any other boy might. He laughs at those who are not the same as him (hermaphrodites). He likes nature as other boys might and he is stubborn as most children might be. He also completely understands his environment and though he cannot speak his attitude at times is enough for the narrator to understand his feelings. It might also be important that Suresh kills the goat. It is as though he feels that the goat is more normal than him and as such more acceptable to others. If anything the introduction of the goat highlights just how normal a child Suresh is. He is jealous of the goat and the goat makes Suresh feel insecure about his own position within his family and among others. This may be important as insecurity is a very human trait and by highlighting Suresh’s insecurity Bond in fact may be suggesting to the reader that just because Suresh may be physically challenged he is still very much a normal child. He feels as any child would feel.
The fact that the narrator has made such a strong connection with Suresh might also be significant as he could have simply walked away when he saw the boys tease and hit Suresh at the Bazaar. If anything the narrator could have carried on as he normally would do in a city he did not like and which he found it difficult to connect with others. It may also be significant that Suresh through his actions has learnt so much from the narrator. An example being that after the goat has been killed the narrator finds Suresh playing with tadpoles in the same place where both the narrator and Suresh go swimming. Rather than walking towards the Bazaar as Suresh’s mother fears Suresh might. Suresh on the other hand returns to a place of happiness for him. Though swimming may be considered a simple thing the spot that Suresh and the narrator swim in may have been the first place that Suresh allowed someone other than his mother and father see his deformities. If anything Suresh’s introduction to the water and to learning how to swim may be the first time that Suresh trusted someone who was not a part of his family.
The end of the story is also interesting as the reader realises just how strong the bond is between the narrator and Suresh. Though Suresh does not say goodbye to the narrator when he is at his home. Later he is found trying to run along the platform and wave goodbye to the narrator. This scene may be one of the most important in the story as Suresh could easily have gone back into his shell. Instead however he does everything he can to say goodbye to the narrator. It is as though Suresh wishes to show his gratitude to the narrator. What is also interesting is that this is the last time that the narrator sees Suresh. Which may leave some readers to suggest that life is about opportunities and one should grab an opportunity should it arise. Just as Suresh has learnt so much from the narrator. Likewise the narrator over the period of time he has spent with Suresh has realised that rather than seeing (as others do) a young physically challenged boy. The narrator instead sees the most beautiful boy in the world. A boy who has achieved so much in the few weeks that the narrator has had the good fortune to know Suresh.