Today, with us, we have India’s most loved writer Ruskin Bond, who has been writing fiction mainly for children over sixty years. And even today he is quite popular among children. At the age of seventeen, he penned down ‘The Room on the Roof’ novel which won him John Llewellyn Rhys Prize in 1957. Not only this, he has won many other accolades for contribution towards literature. To his name there exist over 500 stories including novels and essays and other piece of fiction.
Ruskin Bond lives in Mussoorie, a hill station town in India. Every Saturday he visits the Cambridge Book Depot for two hours on the Mall Road to meet his fans and visitors. If you liked to have an author signed copy, you better go there, stand in the queue, and get it done. Now’ let’s see what interesting stories he has to tell for his fans and readers across the nation who personally cannot go there to meet him.
You were born in Himachal but you chose to stay in Mussoorie. Well, any particular reasons?
RB: I was quite young when I first came to Mussoorie in 1964. I lived in Shimla for some time but it’s a state capital of Himachal Pradesh; there were lot of offices and a lot of formalities then. Well, here in Mussoorie people are friendly and there is a lot of free time and space for creativity and writing. Also this place is less crowded as compared to Shimla where thousands of tourists flock the city round the year.
There is a chapter called ‘Rum and Curry’ in your book ‘Vagrants in the Valley’. Would you like to shed some light on that for your readers?
RB: Yes…I remember that’s from ‘Vagrants in the Valley’. In that humorous chapter Rusty goes to hills with some of his friends and there they all get engaged in drinking rum and after that they create commotion and do silly things. Yes that happens after drinking…well that’s inevitable with young people.
Other than the stories in your books, is there any personal story that you would like to share with your fans?
RB: After school, my mother sent me to England. There I lived for three to four years, but my heart was in India. I didn’t feel good and comfortable there. I wanted to come back, well then I had no money for passage. So, I worked there a few years to collect money for my passage fair. When I came back to India, I started writing while living in Doon, Delhi and Mussoorie, and never went back there.
In your story ‘The Night Train at Deoli’, it has been mentioned that you met a young girl at the station. Was that true?
RB: Well, it was one of my first stories. Yes…when I was quite young I met a girl at the station and I also bought a basket from her for one rupee. However, when I moved abroad I lost that basket but the story remained fresh in my subconscious.
What inspired you to write?
RB: When I was in school, I think in 7 or 8 class, I would read many books of different authors and I wanted to be like them. So, it all started with reading habit. So I was inspired by books and other writers…quite simple.
You have written many poems…well which one is your favourite.
RB: You Must Love Someone…this poem is very close to my heart.