In today’s time, where people want to read books and newspaper online, there is one author whose writings can never be called outdated. He is no one other than the very famous author Ruskin Bond. His first novel was The Room on the Roof. Bond went to England shortly after school and, in fact, did not have any idea whether he would ever be returning to India or not.This novel was written in England and won the 1957 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, awarded to a British Commonwealth writer under 30. Then, Bond did something that many thought could have ended his writing career. He decided to return to India and follow his passion of writing in the country he was born in.
Bond was sent off to England by his mother, who thought he could do better for himself if he stayed there but his bonds with India were so strong that very soon he found himself “longing” to come back. When he finally came back from England after a three-year stint, he tells us in The Lamp is Lit, he had just Rs 800 to start a new life with.
Who is unaware of his novels and short stories which have so much of the stuff that it will definitely move your thoughts.“I don’t want to rot like mangoes at the end of the season, or burn out like the sun at the end of the day. I cannot live like the gardener, the cook and water-carrier, doing the same task every day of my life… I want to be either somebody or nobody. I don’t want to be anybody,” he wrote in his very first novel The Room on the Roof.
The most extraordinary feature of his writing life has been the fact that it is divided, unknowingly, into periods of loneliness and solitude. Like most of us, loneliness is something that he did not invite. It was, in his own words, imposed on him due to circumstances. Solitude, on the contrary, was what he was always looking for.
All his readers are known of his love for mountains but few are aware that he lived in Delhi for five years in the 1960s after returning from England and it didn’t impress him much. As he mentions in one of his stories, “In Delhi you grow old. In Deoli (in the hills of North) you are trapped in a time warp and stay young forever.” His heart was always in the mountains. He says there is only one truth about the mountains — once you have lived with them for any length of time, you belong to them. There is no escape.
Coming to his awards,he received the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1992 for Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra, the Padma Shri in 1999 and Padma Bhushan in 2014.
Some of his famous quotes:
- “and when all the wars are over, a butterfly will still be beautiful.”
- “To be able to laugh and to be merciful are the only things that make man better than the beast”
- “People often ask me why my style is so simple. It is, in fact, deceptively simple, for no two sentences are alike. It is clarity that I am striving to attain, not simplicity.Of course, some people want literature to be difficult and there are writers who like to make their readers toil and sweat. They hope to be taken more seriously that way. I have always tried to achieve a prose that is easy and conversational. And those who think this is simple should try it for themselves.”
- “How evanescent those loves and friendships seem at this distance in time…We move on, make new attachments. We grow old. But sometimes, we hanker for old friendships, the old loves. Sometimes I wish I was young again. Or that I could travel back in time and pick up the threads. Absent so long, I may have stopped loving you, friends; but I will never stop loving the Day I loved you.”
Many of us might have the curiosity that as today is his birthday, how old he turned. He turned 83 today. We wish him a very Happy Birthday!!