Celebrating 86th birthday of Ruskin Bond

The author of numerous novellas, short-story collections and non-fiction books, many of them classics. Among them are When I Was a Boy, Lone Fox Dancing, The Room on the Roof, A Flight of Pigeons and A Book of Simple Living. In 1993, he received Sahitya Akademi Award, in 1999 the Padma Shri and in 2014 the Padma Bhushan.

Ruskin Bond, born in Kausali, Punjab had a rough childhood. When he was eight years old, his mother separated from his father and married a Punjabi guy. Bond, was very close to his father and loved him a lot, he describes the period with his father as “the happiest times of his life.”

But, life had stored bitter plans for Ruskin, and he lost his father to Malaria at the age of 10.

The Padma Bhushan Awardee, on his 86th birthday today launches a new book ‘Hop On:  My Adventures on Boats, Trains and Planes, by Talking Club (the children’s imprint of Speaking Tiger). The book will be released in an e-book format, which will be available on Amazon from 20th May onwards.

Talking about his recent book ‘Hop On:  My Adventures on Boats, Trains and Planes’, the synopsis reads:

‘Last night I dreamt I was an engine driver. I was in a smart blue uniform, and I was driving a toy train up the hills. Toot-toot! I pressed the merry whistle…’

A little boy goes riding on a boat. He has been told many fearful stories of sea monsters and strange sea creatures. But what really happens on the boat? Then he is taken high up, far above the land in a tiny plane. The pilot loves to take his plane up and down, diving and swooping. Is that fun? On a train, the boy goes slowly up a hill, amidst piles of snow, through an amazing winter land. But this is no ordinary train, for it is taking a whole load of schoolboys to their boarding school. Can such a train ride really be exciting?

Find out in this set of stories where a young Ruskin Bond travels by train, plane and boat, and tells us all the marvellous adventures from his childhood days. Charmingly illustrated, written in simple language that will delight younger readers, Hop On is the perfect introduction to the wonderful world of Ruskin Bond’s stories.

When talking about his work and the characters of his work, you must have come across his fictional character Rusty, if you religiously follow Ruskin Bond. For the uninitiated, the character of Rusty is very much similar to Ruskin Bond’s life. This fictional character of Ruskin Bond, offers a teenager’s perspective who is battling with his confusion about life, relationship, happiness and love.

The inspiration of the character Rusty, came when Ruskin Bond decided to write stories about his own past. ‘The Room on the Roof’, his first book which he wrote at the age of 17 is considered to his semi-autobiographical with Rusty being the protagonist.

On the eve of his 86th birthday, in a telephonic interview with Hindustan Times he said “Recently one kid asked me when I die, what I would like to be reborn as. I told him that I want to be reborn as a parrot on a mango tree…” he further shared with the Hindustan Times that as busy as ever he is writing his next book, this time amidst lockdown when the entire nation is complaining about something or the other, his lockdown diary, may likely be titled as ‘It is a Wonderful Life’. In his another Interview with The Indian Express, talking about the hard times going at the moment he said “It may also be a time to connect to ourselves. Maybe people will also get a chance to discover themselves in this enforced solitude, to become more thoughtful because we can’t rush around as we used to, and we must try and make life as simple as possible to be reasonably happy and avoid complications. To live within one’s means and not be overambitious, that’s the road to contentment, if not happiness. Of course, it may be tougher to make a living now for some time.” He further shared, “I have written some 10,000 words during the lockdown. They are partly philosophical, thoughts and observations. So far the title is, ‘Where have all the people gone?’ But that sounds rather pessimistic. I will perhaps change it to ‘Have a Wonderful Life’

The man who shaped the children literature and who ideologies are still loved by young adults. The man who hasn’t stopped loving and spreading love at the age of 86 and we wish he never stops.

By Rajrita Chattopadhyay

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