Dear Friends,

Do check our blog every week as we promise to give you a variety of articles, reviews of our publications and information updates on what’s the latest in the field of education.

This week we peek into the life of “Ruskin” Bond who is one of our favourite authors.

We have five books by him in our fiction collection for 9 to 15 year olds: A Bond with the Mountains, Tigers Forever, Nature Omnibus, At School with Ruskin Bond and An Island of Trees. We have also just published a poster featuring a new Ruskin Bond poem about the pleasure of keeping and revering old books.

Ruskin Bond’s life has been like his books – gentle, unassuming yet courageous in a quiet way. Read on to know about his life from the beginning.

Ruskin Bond was born in a military hospital in Kasauli (Himachal Pradesh), on 19 May 1934, to British migrant parents in pre-independence India. His was a solitary childhood, marked by his parent’s divorce and his mother’s remarriage. In 1944, Ruskin’s father passed away, succumbing to malaria when Ruskin was only ten. He was raised by his mother and step-father (an Indian businessman).

For a while young Ruskin attended Hampton Court School in Mussoorie but later he was sent to Bishop Cotton School in Shimla. The school is one of the oldest boarding schools in Asia and has produced several writers. Ruskin Bond completed his schooling from there. He was good in English, History, Geography and the arts but was not great in Maths and Science. He was a good athlete as well and was the team’s goalkeeper. (Stories about his school life can be read in his book, At School with Ruskin Bond, published by Ratna Sagar).

Bond spent his childhood at different places, among which were – Jamnagar, Dehradun and Shimla.

Ruskin Bond developed a love for reading and writing at an early age as his father always surrounded him with books and encouraged him to write. After school he decided to carve a niche for himself as a professional writer. To achieve his goal Ruskin decided to go to England. There he took up odd jobs like working for a travel agency and a photo shop. He lived there for four years, and wrote his first novel Room On The Roof when he was just seventeen. The book won him the prestigious ‘John Llewellyn Rhys’ Prize that is awarded to British Commonwealth Writers who are under the age of 30. His second novel was Vagrants in the Valley. Riding on the success of these two novels, Ruskin took the journey back home as he missed the beauty of the Himalayas. In England he had realized that his home was in India.

Since 1963, Ruskin Bond lives in Ivy Cottage in Landour, Mussoorie, away from the crowds. He lives with his adopted family who takes good care of him. His small little living room has three windows and he says that he gets wonderful ideas simply by gazing out of the window. Other things in the room are his books, pictures and ‘trophies’.

Ruskin Bond has now been writing for more than five decades. He commands adulation and admiration across boundaries, age groups and gender. He has written in almost every genre – short stories, novels, poems, travelogues, essays, and also articles that have appeared in a number of magazines and anthologies.

He shares a unique relationship with nature and his writings celebrate nature’s generosity. He blends fiction with reality and captures the hearts and minds of his readers with his distinct humour and wisdom. His craftsmanship with words has won him tremendous critical and creative acclaim, also a long list of fans throughout the literary world. He received the Sahitya Academy Award in 1992, and the Padma Shri in 1999 for contributions to children’s literature.

Several of Ruskin Bond’s novels and stories have been made into films, for instance, Rusty and his Adventures, was adapted into a popular serial “Ek Tha Rusty” on Doordarshan. A Flight of Pigeons, set in pre-independence India, was made into a movie Junoon (1978) by director Shyam Benegal and it won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi. Another one of his short stories “The Blue Umbrella” was brought to the screen by director Vishal Bharadwaj.

Ruskin Bond is now enjoying his new love of acting in films and getting used to the glamour world. He had a role in the film Saat Khoon Maaf which was based on his story “Sussanna’s Seven Husbands”. Ruskin Bond has also shot a video along with the noted Uttarakhandi singer Meena Rana.

This very disarming writer can be seen obliging his fans who flock for his autograph at the Cambridge Book Store. Sparkling blue eyes, a pink complexion and salt and pepper hair set off a very charismatic smile. We hope Ruskin Bond continues to oblige his readers with his special kind of writing – deceptively simple, very readable and gently humorous.

To read an interview of Ruskin Bond, click here