Meeting Ruskin Bond

This Bond did not step out of a convertible dressed in a dapper suit and a pistol in hand. Instead he has a pot belly, a happy gait and looks more like a clean shaven Santa Claus in casuals. The name is Ruskin Bond. And I was one among many who got a chance to listen to this witty and amiable author. It is no surprise that he is well-known in India but even then it was awe-inspiring to see the huge audience waiting in rapt attention to listen to this prolific writer at the Sharjah Book fair.

As he entered the hall the audience reaction was no less dramatic. Armed with cameras and mobile phones they made a beeline to click him. What followed thereafter was a session full of anecdotes from his life revealing a witty and youthful persona. His reminisced his school days a time when he was making early inroads into writing. The main characters of young Ruskin’s stories were his school teachers and the principal’s wife. Unfortunately the teachers got wind of this story, which was soon confiscated and trashed. So, Ruskin Bond’s advice to aspiring writers was to not include their teachers as characters in their stories if they wanted to be published soon.

The writer who is based in Landour, India, also talked about the days when he was less well-known. Once he ventured into a bookstore only to find one of his books stacked at the end of a pile. He tried to quietly put his book on top of the pile and heard the store keeper say that the book does not sell. That made him quickly buy a copy of the book and leave the store.

The audience was soon in splits as he shared an incident that happened during his foray as an actor. Bollywood director Vishal Bharadwaj made Priyanka Chopra starrer 7 Khoon Maaf based on Ruskin Bond’s story Sussanna’ seven husbands. Ruskin Bond was offered a small cameo that required him to kiss Priyanka Chopra. It took him 12 retakes and made director Vishal Bharadwaj say aloud, “Mr Bond you are doing this on purpose.”

To new writers he advised to be sincere to the language and to write every day. He is an early riser who writes for hours every morning and then sleeps for a few hours in between. The talk ended with a book signing session, which can be a post in itself. As I watched the long queue of young admirers armed with books for Ruskin Bond to sign I realised that I had brought none of his books. A frantic sprint to the bookstalls and a long while later I came back with two of his books — Landour Days and Susanna’s seven husbands (it includes the screenplay of 7 Khoon Maaf). Hoping madly that the signing session had not ended I entered the hall only to join the last few admirers waiting for their turn. With a wide grin I opened the pages for a slice of that famous Bond signature.


9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. debamitracTWB
    Dec 15, 2011 @ 09:40:46

    Its been my dream to meet Ruskin Bond and I hope to realise it soon enought. Infact on reading your post I realised that he is in Sharjah and I was happily planning a trip to Mussoorie this weekend !


  2. Tessy
    Dec 18, 2011 @ 11:17:07

    Thanks Deba for visiting middleeastmasala. Ruskin Bond visited Sharjah at the end of November during the Sharjah Book Fair. So, go ahead with your trip 🙂


  3. Richa
    Dec 29, 2011 @ 15:24:38

    Very nice read.

    And an award waiting for you on my blog. Please do check out.

    Hope you accept it. 🙂


  4. Tessy
    Jan 04, 2012 @ 11:34:05

    Thanks Richa


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  7. sapana
    Feb 21, 2012 @ 14:19:04

    Tess, it’s great fun reading this!!!


  8. Tessy
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:49:02

    Thanks Sapana, I enjoyed writing it as well.


  9. Trackback: Kolkata Book Fair 2012 Timing | Kolkata Information | About Kolkata

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