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Ruskin Bond’s treasure trove – People, places, forests, hills

Tuesday, Dec 15, 2015,14:51 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi | The name is Bond, Ruskin Bond. The 81-year-old much loved author dismissed an early advice by his mother to join the Army and instead went on to bring out with military discipline a treasure trove of writings, keeping entertained readers both the old and the young.

Yes, I enjoy being an author and writing stories, probably because that is what I have been doing best besides playing football. Except that at 81, I can still write but football, Bond said while delivering this year’s Penguin Annual Lecture here last evening.

Although he is largely known as a children’s writer, the Mussourie-based author has had a vibrant literary career spanning 65 years in which he has penned nearly 500 short stories, essays and novellas.

The great storyteller that he is, Bond kept aside the unopened envelope containing the text of his deliberation on topic The Joy of Writing, and relied on his memory to share his journey as a writer. With his child like smile the author regaled the audience with humorous anecdotes from his life.

While readers are familiar with his fondness for nature in nearly all his writings did they stop to think why? Bond who lives in a solitary cottage amidst the mountains in Landour said, Window is most important and that is why I have big windows through which I can look outside.

So, nature became a great part of my writing. In what may seem hilarious today the author recounted an incident early in his career where he had to purchase his own book.

Not long after his first book The Room on the Roof was published in 1956, he visited a bookshop to check on how it was doing in the market. To his disappointment he found the book tucked deep beneath a pile of bestsellers.

Heartbroken, he discreetly pulled it out and placed it on top of the pile. Unaware that he was addressing the book’s author, the shopkeeper pushed it back towards the bottom saying, Yeh nahi chalta hai (this does not sell), which prompted a furious Bond to purchase his own book!

The author, who has been the recipient of many prestigious awards including the Padma Shri and the Padma Bhushan besides the Sahitya Akademi, said he had been a prolific reader all his life and stressed on the importance of reading to be able to write well.

It is very important that you be a good reader, because you learn so much from books and also because you emulate your favourite writers, he said. Bond said books for him turned into companions and reading was like a therapy.

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