Interview with author Ruskin Bond who turns 76 tomorrow.
Wise Media Group Digital Publisher tent/uploads/2010/05/SirRuskinBond-300×225.jpg” alt=”Sir Ruskin Bond” width=”300″ height=”225″ />Writing came rather naturally to Ruskin Bond, the name quite synonymous with books for children in the country. And whenever, the writer fell short of ideas, he always had the ghosts to bank on.
In a candid interview, Ruskin Bond, who on May 19 will be turning 76 years and has been writing since 1951 said, “As a boy and right from my childhood, I was interested in reading. Charles Dickens was one of my all time favourite. By the age of 14-15 years, I wanted to become an author and before leaving the school, I was clear that I wanted to tread on this path. My first work was published when I was 17-18 years old.”
When asked why is it that most of the books penned by him are based on children, the septuagenarian author said, “Well over the years, I found writing about childhood and on children was much easier, as I could associate them with my own childhood and that of other children.”
“I have been writing for all ages. And whenever I ran out of topics, ideas, content or people, ghosts came in handy and I could easily bank on them, although ideally there is nothing called ghosts,” he said.
On asking which works of his, the author considers quite close to his heart, Bond said, “In the last few years, I have developed a love for nature and humour and I must confess that in the last couple of years, life has become more ridiculous.”
On the question of youngsters taking up writing as a profession, the septuagenarian author said, “Everyday people send their stories and poems to me seeking my opinion and this indicates that an encouraging trend. I had met young author Chetan Bhagat, a bright chap, who is now focusing on his fourth book. However, I feel that the response from the publishing industry is not so encouraging.”
Commenting on the taste of the Indian readers, Bond said, “It would be difficult to comment on the Indian readers, as it is very difficult to gauge the mood of each and every reader. Reading as such depends and varies from person to person. However, I feel that Indian writing has blossomed over the last six decades. In the 1940s, there were excellent writers like Mulkraj Anand, RK Narayan, but they had to go abroad to get their works published. The scene has changed today thanks to the spread of education and access to English medium of education for most of the children at least in the urban areas.”
The author who was awarded Padma Shri in 1999 for his contribution to children’s literature believes that in order to become a good writer one has to be confident and perseverant as he said, “At times, when the chips are down and you are disappointed, you have to stick to this. I have seen young people who entered this field, but quit after some time and joined other creative streams like advertising or journalism. I stick to writing, since I had no other alternative.”
The Padma awardee author’s work Blue Umbrella has been made into a film by flimmaker Vishal Bharadwaj two years back and Flight of Pigeons, a story set in Shahjahanpur during the revolt of 1857 was made into ‘Junoon’.
“Recently I have written couple of stories for Vishal and he will be making a film on them. Apart from this there was a televised serial on Doordarshan titled ‘Ek thaa Rusty’, based on a character called Rusty, a quiet, sensitive and imaginative boy, who lived in his grandparents’ custody in Dehradun prior to independence.”
Last year, Bond has finished a book titled ‘Diary of the School Master’, which deals with the troubles of a schoolmaster and shows the lighter of a schoolmaster’s life. Recently he completed another book his, which is titled ‘Mr Oliver’s Diary’.
Another story of the Padma awardee, which is being translated into film is Susanna’s Seven Husbands and the title of the film made by Vishal Bharadwaj is Saat Khoon Maaf. The cast of the film includes Priyanka Chopra, Naseeruddin Shah, John Abraham, Irrfan Khan, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Anu Kapoor and Vivaan Shah.
Interestingly, during production, the film underwent two name changes. The project was initially titled ‘Seven’, which was then replaced by ‘Ek Batta Saat’ and finally ‘Saat Khoon Maaf’.
Narrating some interesting moments pertaining to the book, Bond said, “Vishal asked me if I could do another story for him and I saw no reason why I could not. He liked one of my four-page short story, ‘Susanna’s Seven Husbands’. I expanded it into a 200-page piece, which could be filmed. My protagonist is a femme fatale who bumps off her seven husbands. I had to find ingenious ways of bumping seven people off while writing the story. Something, which I cannot generally contemplate.
When asked how he will be celebrating his birthday, Bond who will be completing 76 years on May 19 said, “There will not be any type of special celebrations for this occasion. I will be receiving phone calls from my well wishers and relatives. Apart from this my friends will visit my place and I will have a great time with them, a fiesta you can say.”
Ruskin Bond Profile
Ruskin Bond (born 19 May 1934), is an Indian author of British descent. He is considered to be one of the icons among Indian writers and children’s authors and a top novelist.
In 1992, he received the Sahitya Akademi award for English writing, for his short stories collection, Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra, by the Sahitya Akademi (India’s National Academy of Letters). He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1999 for contributions to children’s literature. He now lives with his adopted family in Mussoorie.
Ruskin Bond was born in Kasauli (Himachal Pradesh). His father was Aubrey Alexander Bond who served in the RAF during World War II. He had one sister and brother – Ellen and William Bond. When the writer was 4, his mother separated from his father and married a Punjabi-Hindu Mr Hari who himself was married once. At the age of 10, Ruskin went to his grandmother’s place in Dehradun. He has been living in Landour since the 1960s, and has previously stayed at Shimla, Jamnagar, Mussoorie, Dehradun, and London.