The Bond of books

Ruskin Bond was born in Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh, in 1934. Though his parents were British, Bond spent his early childhood in Jamnagar (Gujarat). His father served as a tutor guardian to the royal children in Dehradun, where his grandparents lived, and at Bishop Cotton School in Simla, the summer capital of the Raj.

He later returned to England with his relatives, but he sorely missed the Himalayan Mountains and longed to return to India. While just seventeen, Bond wrote his first novel, ‘Room On The Roof’, which won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize awarded to a British Commonwealth writer under thirty. The book was an attempt to capture the beauty and mystery of the Himalayas, and quite literally to earn his passage home to India.

‘Lamp Is Lit: Leaves From A Journal’
In thsi book, Bond tells us that when he came back to Dehradun after a three year stint in London, he had just eight hundred rupees to start a new life. In a career spanning four decades, Ruskin Bond has mapped out and peopled a unique literary landscape. He prefers to be known as a storywriter for children, which he acknowledges is a difficult job.

Bond has written over a hundred short stories, essays, novels, and more than thirty books of children. Three collections of short stories, Night Train At Deoli, Time Stops At Shamli, and Our Trees Still Grow In Dehra have been published by Penguin India. He has also edited two anthologies, Indian Ghost Stories, and Indian Railway Stories.

In his writings, one comes across passionate descriptions about the pine and deodar trees in the hilly environs of Northern India, and stories weaved close to a tantalized depiction of nature. Bond’s love for the mountains and walking about in mountain towns is a very important part of his amiable personality.

He is very much our Indian Wordsworth, as he finds endless material for stories in the trees and wild flowers, birds and animals, rocks and rivers, and simple Hill-folk who are an integral part of the Himalayas.

Media-shy and reclusive by nature, Bond prefers the quiet life of the hills to the hustle-bustle and pollution of the towns and cities. He feels that the majority of those who live in the cities miss out on the mystique and freedom that nature lends.

Ruskin Bond recieved the Sahitya Akademi Award for English writing in India for 1992 and has also been honoured with the Padmashri. His books have found mass appeal as both children and adults find echoes of their thoughts and feelings in Bond’s writings, replete with simplicity, warmth, humour, delight, chills and thrills – all centred round his deep love for nature and people.


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