Ruskin Bond will be celebrating his 87th birthday tomorrow — writing a new story sitting on his old desk in a picturesque house in Landour which has become a landmark and a must see for tourists visiting that part of Garhwal. It has been a long writing voyage that started with his first story being published at the age of 16.
The ritual of starting a new story or a book will carry on this time too, “I make it a point to start a new story or book every time on my birthday. This year will be no different. Of course, that would not stop me from biting into cake and a hot butter bun,” he told IANS.
Even as Puffin, an imprint of Penguin Random House brings out his ‘All Time Favourites’ for children tomorrow, a keepsake edition with 25 stories, a mixed bag of his most cherished stories like ‘Rusty’s adventures’; ‘Grandfather’s stories’; spooky tales along with a diverse set of new stories like ‘Goldfish Don’t Bark’, ‘Friends from the Forest’, the writer shares the credit with the editor. “Sohini Mitra did all the hard work. I added a few stories to the collection.”
Talking about the heavily illustrated book, Bond says that they are vital for a children’s story book. “I have always been fortunate to have excellent illustrators.” The illustrations in the latest one are by Kashmira Sarode.
This Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan recipient, on whose works several films like ‘Junoon’, ‘The Blue Umbrella’ and ‘7 Khoon Maaf’ have been made had recently told this reporter, “I really don’t run out of ideas or subjects.”
Talk to him about his recently released ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, a book on essays that also takes into account the ongoing pandemic and consequent lockdowns, and he says, “Well, like most writers, I work from home. Although the writing has not stopped, however I am getting a bit restless now. I am definitely missing the sun on my back.”
While his name has been synonymous with short stories, novels and children’s books, Bond says that he has always enjoyed writing essays. “They emerge from my journals. But publishers prefer fiction, especially in the field of children’s books.”
Smiling that he is yet to figure out his ‘process’, the writer says perhaps it is the omnipresent feeling that he always has a story to complete.
As the conversation veers towards mountains and his never ending fascination for them, Bond says they are always there — giving a sense of permanence. “The newness is within ourselves, like new leaves and grass. And we must keep it alive in order to stay alive,” concludes the author who is currently working on new short stories and a book of reflections titles, ‘The Bedside Bond’.