Ruskin Bond is one of India's beloved children author. Over six decades he has written over 500 short stories and novels including the much-acclaimed 'Room on the Roof', and 'Vagrants in the Valley'. His stories 'The Blue Umbrella', 'A Flight of Pigeons' and 'Susanna's Seven Husbands' have been made into films . He received the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1993, the Padma Shri in 1999 and the Padma Bhushan in 2014.
One lazy afternoon we call up a landline number. A voice answers yes and lets us take over the conversation. The voice is happy that we have just read his two books A Little Book of Love and Companionship and A Lone Fox Dancing. Ruskin is happy that Rasa Aur Drama from Pune has called him and invites us to meet him at Mussoorie. Rasa Aur Drama is thankful to the author for this chat.
Rasa Aur Drama: Ruskin does theatre interest you?
Ruskin Bond: Theatre has always interested me but here in small time India [Mussorie] there is no theatre. If there is any theatre it will be in places like Mumbai or Calcutta. In fact, somebody is just producing a play in Chennai based on a story of mine. But I haven't seen it yet. Though I really don't have a lot of experience with theatre.
Q.2) Your book "The Little Book of Love and Companionship" has a lot of proverbs by authors. So, as a reader, as a writer how do proverbs help us in our everyday life? The proverbs still live on!
Ruskin Bond: They do and I do jot down these when I come across an interesting proverb or a line in someone's book or; I put it down in my notebook. It can set off an idea or a story. It can be helpful.
[ There is a quote by Roald Dahl in the book: It doesn't matter who you are or what you look like, so long as somebody loves you.” ]
Ruskin Bond: It helps if you look nice too, ha ha
Q3.) ok...Quotes are a huge source of inspiration! Quotes by writers build up the psychology. Any thoughts?
Ruskin Bond: Different countries have their own proverbs, in a way they reflect the thoughts of the country. So it's interesting. But these little books, I put together , leaving even blank pages so the reader could use them and put down their own thoughts or proverbs or wonderful ideas.
Q4.) Interestingly in your autobiography, you say that once, you were signing books and one little kid came and called you Enid Blyton?
Ruskin Bond: I have been mistaken for Enid Blyton. Somebody also asked me when I would be writing another Moghlee story. Another firm lady came with her little boy and said my son studies your stories in school. So I said, that is good to know. What's it called son? So he stood smartly to attention and said: Tom Sawyer. So when I had to sign his book I autographed it ,Mark Twain.
Q5.) This morning Rasa Aur Drama was just watching the TV series on your life "Ek Tha Rusty?" Do you think films and documentaries are authentic when they portray the life of a literary figure on television?
Ruskin Bond: Ek Tha Rusty was a little up. Some of it was nice and some of it was a bit up. It does get fictionalized I am sure. It's alright otherwise. When I was a boy, I was a big film buff; I would go to films that were sort of based on the lives of famous people like Emile Zola, then on Louis Pasteur and others. Obviously, they would get fictionalized to some extent. At the same time, they gave you an insight into the person. You would want to have read something by that author or know more about him. So, it would take you back to books in a way.
[ The documentary has an amazing texture and charm.]
True, and it was done people who were really not professional, so in a way it has a certain charm.
Rasa Aur Drama would be catching up with author Ruskin again, do keep reading!
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