'I write about the people I know'

Endless tales

Whoever said the book is dead should have come to a narrow lane of Frazer Town where people came in large numbers to the Crossword Bookstore last weekend.

The crowds were not there to catch a glimpse of a film star but India’s most loved and adored man of letters, Ruskin Bond.

So what if he is in his late 80s? Ruskin Bond still is as sharp-witted, shrewd and quick with his observations and comments.

A lot of Ruskin’s stories have sprung from the hills of Mussoorie. There is a lot of his experience, dream and hope captured in all his stories.

Metrolife caught up with the great storyteller and asked him what inspired him to go on writing remarkable tales.

Ruskin’s latest book ‘The Adventures of Rusty’, that was launched recently, is a compilation of all of Rusty tales.

“It has in addition to the adventures of a boy called Rusty, biographical recollections and encounters as well. It has stories from the time Rusty was a boy until he was 21 years old,” Ruskin tells Metrolife. A man of very simple taste, Ruskin confesses, “My writing is very personal. I write about the people I know, like my friends, and when I run out of people, I begin writing about ghosts (laughs). I liked being scared as a kid and sometimes even now, I do get frightened when I watch some horror film. But there are also some horror films that make you laugh.”

He recalls, “In fact, I have had children come up to me and say that some of my ghost stories were not frightening enough. I like it when they say that.” Commenting on the new breed of writers and their writing styles, Ruskin observes that there are a few who write to get instant fame but adds in the same breath that there are also some young writers who have a genuine desire to convey something strong. “It’s so much easier to promote books today with so many literary festivals across the world. In my time, we had to struggle. We were in a way working in anonymity,” he observes.

India as seen through the eyes of Ruskin is a fermentation of all kinds of people right from those living in the villages, cities to the ‘maharajas’. “There’s never a dull moment in India with the contrasting lifestyles,” he says.

He observes that he missed the chaos in India when he went to Dubai and visited the “artificial city”. “There were houses, cars, parks, malls but there were no people. I then realised how I missed the sight of stray dogs and cows walking in the middle of the road, even pedestrians,” he avers.

How does he keep the passion of writing alive? “I love the romance of writing. I may be a good writer but I am impractical, clumsy and absent-minded in reality,” he points out.

 Ruskin is now putting together a verse for children and another short story that’s knit around an eccentric school master who later turns out to be a hero of sorts for his students.

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