World famous English writer Ruskin Bond will release senior journalist Jaskiran Chopra’s latest work, Autumn Raga, a novel in English, on October 23 in the Doon valley.

Famous author and academician from Mussoorie Ganesh Saili, Associate Editor of The Pioneer, Sidharth Mishra, DGP Aloke B Lal, director of Doon Library Research Centre BK Joshi, Director of Doon Library and Research Centre and Heritage School principal Bhupinder Gill will also be present at the event along with several intellectuals.

Recently, published by Niyogi Books, New Delhi, Autumn Raga is a story written against the backdrop of Dehradun and Mussoorie and takes the readers back to a time when the Doon valley was a haven of beauty and tranquility. Ruskin Bond says about the book that it is “a metaphor for a fast vanishing way of life , a paean for a valley which has lost almost all its tranquility and where only the surrounding mountains bear evidence, in the yet beautiful twilight, to the charm of a past forever gone.”

Chopra says that this book is her loving tribute to this enchanting valley where she grew up and witnessed inimitable natural beauty in her early years. It is an effort to capture in words all the lovely aspects of Dehradun that have disappeared forever. She says that she was inspired to write the book after reading Ruskin Bond’s simple but amazing line which says, “Dear old Dehra: I may stop loving you, but I won’t stop loving the days that I loved you.”

“I wished to keep them always close to my heart and so I wrote Autumn Raga. Classical music is also very dear to me and thus I weaved this theme with the theme of the Doon valley to express my fondness for the lilting ragas of Hindustani classical music which has no match in the world,” says Chopra, who earlier brought out a volume of Hindi/Urdu poems titled Jashn-e-Tanhai.

For those who have not had the good fortune of seeing the heydays of the Doon valley, this book brings those scenes and scents alive in an extremely sensitive manner so that people can savour them and try to imagine what a haven of serenity the valley was before it fell prey to the plans of ‘developers’. The tranquility of the valley has almost vanished, paining Sunaina, Tanu and the other characters of the novel greatly. But their associations and memories of the cosy place it had once been, keep them going. Their closeness to each other and the strong sense of belonging to the city is no small consolation and makes them often overlook the changing face of their beloved Doon.  The book also talks about the unique beauty of Mussoorie, the Queen of Hills, where Chopra spent a good part of her childhood. The author has dedicated this book to her parents, Mahendar Singh Sarna and Surjit Sarna and her elder brother, Navtej Sarna, who is a well-known author and diplomat.

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