Favourite Bond

Meet the author

Favourite Bond

If there’s one writer readers of all ages can readily relate to, then it’s Ruskin Bond. Popularly known as Rusty among his readers, Ruskin Bond is a marvelous weaver of tales whose written word has cast a magic spell on the literary world. His easy wit and a quirky, clever sense of humour are an instant hit with one and all, as is evident from the popularity of his novels, short story collections, memoirs, essays and poems.

A recipient of several honours including the Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, Sahitya Akademi Award and the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, this prolific writer’s books have also been adapted for the silver screen. Among his notable books are The Room on the Roof, The Blue Umbrella, Susanna’s Seven Husbands, The Night Train at Deoli, Time Stops at Shamli and Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra, the latest being Gathering of Friends. This Kasauli-born writer of British descent currently lives with his family in Landour, Mussoorie. 
Excerpts from an interview:

It has taken you long years of struggle to reach where you are today. Please share with us a couple of your most memorable turning points, and how they influenced your writing.

Yes, I agree. After all, in the 60s and 70s, there were neither many publishers nor readers. It’s taken time to build both. It’s been a long literary journey and I have enjoyed every bit of the struggling phase. Success shouldn’t come easy — if it comes easy, you will not realise its value.

When I finished school, my Mom packed me off to England. In that state of homesickness, I wrote The Room on the Roof, my first novel revolving around Rusty. In those days, the advance we received for our writings was a meagre 50 pounds. I then came back to India. Back then, there were not many book publishers; wrote many stories for any and every magazine and newspaper I could lay my eyes on. In fact, that was when I started writing for Deccan Herald too...

How do you manage the shifts from hilarious children’s stories to fast-paced thrillers, to chilling ghost tales to more introspective and thought-provoking writing for adults as well as children?

You write essays as well as poems, novels and short stories. How do you balance your varied interests?

It’s a fun exercise. I write about people, but when I run out of people to write about, I write about ghosts. I cook them up. In fact, I still haven’t encountered a ghost yet (laughs). Children love ghost stories; they like to get scared, but in a safe kind of way. When it comes to funny stories, it’s easy at my age, for, life gets funnier as you get older... Talking of poems, they don’t always happen; they only come to you sometimes. Moreover, you can’t make a living writing poems — it’s an indulgence, I must admit.

How do you develop your characters? Many authors say that there is a little of themselves in their stories and characters. Do you feel the same about your own writing? Do you rely heavily on personal experiences, write from what you know?

Most of my characters are based on real life people. Down the ages, consciously or sub-consciously, most authors have based their characters on real life people. For instance, even Charles Dickens’s Mr Micawber in his semi-autobiographical novel David
Copperfield was based on his father. Am no different. For that matter, the eccentric grandfather you encounter in my writings is a figment of my imagination as I have not met my own grandfathers in my real life — both died before I was born. In a way, this eccentric grandfather is more real than the real one.

What are you working on now?

Hoping to write a memoir. Am also in the final stages of a new Rusty book called Rusty in the Magic Mountain, which will be out sometime soon.

Penguin also wants me to do the second Gathering of Friends.Landour and Mussoorie have a strong presence in your writings. What difference would it have made to your writings if you had lived in some other place, such as England or Delhi...

The environment we live in always has a big influence on our writings. In fact, I have forgotten what life outside Mussoorie can be like. Well, if I’d lived near a sea, all my stories would have had sea in them. Mountains or Mussoorie are the backdrop of most of my writings.

Where do you write best?
At my desk, which is right next to my bed. When I’m sleepy, I just shift to my bed. Luckily, I’m a good sleeper. I also write best in the mornings.

Who would you most like to sit next to you at a dinner party?

There’s this particular ghost who is very beautiful and ever-smiling. Unfortunately, the moment I extend my hand towards her, she disappears (chuckles).

What are you scared of?

People, not ghosts!

What inspires you to write?

Any little thing. It can be a butterfly on the window, an ant, or children. I guess children are my best inspiration.

How do you relax?


Like I’m doing now — sitting and chatting with you. After my chat with you is over, I’ll go have a good nap.

What are you most proud of writing?

It’s hard to say. I love all my stories and characters. But, if I have to choose one, then it is Binya’s Blue Umbrella.

What book would you give a child to introduce him to literature?

Alice in Wonderland



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