In Conversation With Ruskin Bond: Going Back To The Foothills Of Himalayas

Ruskin Bond Interview
The short narrative is Ruskin Bond’s forte. This flawless anthology puts together the best stories he’s written in the twenty-first century. The collection begins with the previously unpublished title tale, Song of the Forest, and includes outstanding works of fiction such as A Man Called Brain, Rhododendrons in the Mist, and Miracle at Happy Bazaar. In an interview with SheThePeople, he spoke about how nature is an integral part of his writing process, adding, “It’s better to be on top of the hills instead of the bottom of it.” 

In Conversation With Ruskin Bond

The hill stations at the foothills of the Himalayas, where he spent his boyhood, have impacted the majority of his works. His debut novel, The Room on the Roof, was written at the age of sixteen and published at the age of twenty-one. It was inspired in part by his experiences in Dehradun when he lived in a small leased room on the roof with his pals. His previous works were written with no intention of being read by a specific audience. On a publisher’s request for a children’s story, his first children’s book, Angry River, released in the 1970s, had its prose toned down.

Suggested Reading: Ruskin Bond: Life Lessons From His Stories

Anglo-Indian author Ruskin Bond was born in the United Kingdom. The Room on the Roof, his first novel, was published in 1956 and won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize in 1957. Bond has written over 500 short stories, articles, and novels, as well as 50 children’s books. Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra won him the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1992. In 1999, he received the Padma Shri, and in 2014, the Padma Bhushan. In Landour, Mussoorie lives with his adopted family. 

His Favourite Women Writers

Recalling American novelist and short story writer, Patricia Highsmith, he said that she happens to be one of his favourite women crime writers. Not so keen on Sherlock Holmes, he has been fond of psychopath horror stories for as long as he can remember. 

Growing up reading Emile Bronte, he said that during his time, it was difficult to buy books on the internet. “The library was my greatest escape,” he said, adding, “I used to frantically read everything from Bernard Shaw to Charles Dickens, the Bronte sisters and even Jane Austen, although I was not a fan of hers.”

Ruskin Bond also said that the best detective writers are women, recalling his collection of gothic writings by Anglo-Irish writer, Maria Edgeworth. He found Virginia Woolf’s works a little dense and laughed, “Maybe that’s why we have Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?” In regular discussions as well as in his journals, particularly in Landour Days, he breaks the monotony by adding humour. 

Bond’s Writing Corner

Opening up to us about his writing corner, Ruskin Bond described that he begins writing in the morning after having his early morning tea, with no one ringing the bell or knocking at the door. Although he used to type earlier, his musings are at their best when he pens them down by hand in his notebook. “I enjoy the rest of the day with books,” he said, not considering writing to be a task but simply enjoying the process as it is. As he grows older, he composes nonsensical verses which are also known as limericks. Avid readers associate them with the likes of Edward Lear and Sukumar Ray.

We ask him has English as a language changed? Bond says, “My style has not changed very much.” While the Victorian novels are archaic with descriptions of scenery, releasing serialised volumes, shorter novels were unlikely to be published, he says. The Joycean knack of storytelling and experimental writing is not out there to entertain readers but it is to be read by academics, Bond comments.

Happy to know that there are more readers nowadays with the spread of education from one industry to the next and as individuals have more ability to read English better, his books sell out more as several other young writers are getting published in a healthy shape. For Bond, the language keeps absorbing new words, modern slang and pop words. The words keep coming and going and the new words also do not last as long as language keeps changing gradually. 

You can watch the Ruskin Bond Interview here: