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Pooja Gupta

He is 87, but a child at heart, he has fans all over the world ranging from 7 to 97, he was read by your grandfather, my father, you and me both and he is someone who would give today’s writers a run for their money! Ladies and gentlemen, he is the living legend, the joyous, the effervescent, Ruskin Bond!

It is my pleasure to share with you the excerpts of a beautiful conversation I had with him!                                 

Qs-You turned 87 on 19th May 2021. You are always so full of life and fun! How do you always manage to stay so young?

Ans- Oh I am a very lazy person! Don’t get the impression that I am dashing around burning the mid night oil. I have always lived my life at a very casual pace and done my best not to hurry at any time which is probably why I have survived, but of course in the process since I have lived so long, certain amount of work has been done, books and stories have come out and I am still writing them. So I have been very fortunate!

Qs –You say you have been fortunate and I say that we readers have been fortunate…

Ans- I am lucky that over the years, my readership particularly here in India has grown and till today, I have never had so many readers before! Some people get old and may be they get forgotten but I have loyal readers and new readers. Well, they keep me going!


Qs- You have written books that were read by my grandfather, my father and even myself. How do you stay so relevant and connected to all age groups?

Ans- I think it’s because, whether it’s a grandfather or a little boy, I try to appeal to the boy in grandfather, that little part in him that doesn’t want to grow up! I try to cling to what’s young in our lives, rather than to what is getting old! Sometimes physically we are not what we used to be as we get older. If your mind is young and your outlook is still that of a young person, that makes a lot of difference!


Qs- You have so many fans throughout the world, can you tell me about one crazy fan incident?

Ans- I think, a good 90 percent of my readers are here in India, and also in the different parts of the world. As for crazy fans, but I haven't come across many, but some funny things have happened! There was a lady who brought her little boy to see me, and she said my son reads your story and your book in class. I said, that’s very nice. When I asked him the name of the book, he stood to attention and said  Tom Sawyer!          

So I autographed Mark Twain in his autograph book and he seemed quite pleased with that!

Another incident I remember is when I was signing books in a book shop and a little girl came along with her mother. The mother said, would you like Mr Bond’s autograph and the girl said, no I don’t want Mr Bond’s autograph, I want Shakespeare’s autograph! Everyone tried to explain to her that it was very difficult to get Shakespeare and his autograph that day, but she could have had Ruskin Bond’s autograph. She got very angry. She stamped her foot and marched off saying - I want Shakespeare’s autograph and nobody else’s. I hope she gets it one day!


Qs – Have you ever approached anyone for an autograph?

Ans- The other day I was going through my trunk of old things and I found an old autograph album there, which I hadn’t looked at for about 30 years! In it were some autographs from some famous artists like Hussain,Yamini Roy and others, and then I came across a signature, it was by Talat Mehmood! Now, going back, he was a famous playback singer in the 1940s. I had forgotten I had his autograph and there it was! So it is nice collecting autographs and then going back over the years,they bring back memories and they are part history in a way.


Qs- Do you have a message for the aspiring writers?

Ans- Surely! There is a very strong desire in young people to write, to get published and even to make a profession out of it. My advice is firstly, be fluent in the language in which you are going to write. Take the language seriously whether it’s English or Hindi or Swahili or whatever, because you are going to have to use it for a long time or throughout your life.

Secondly, have something to be original, try to be different from others, because I think the successful writers are ones who are very often different, who write about something unusual or have a different way of doing things.

Thirdly, you have to be regular, fairly disciplined, you don’t have to overdo it, I am always happy if I have done couple of pages every morning. You don’t have to finish a book in a day.

So, take your time, take care with your language, read a lot, read as much as you can, because all great writers have been great readers when they were young. Read well, right well, that’s my motto and I would suggest to any young writer to make it yours too.

PS- If you are a Ruskin Bond fan, here is a treat for you! Get access to Limited-Edition releases and Merchandise inspired by his life and memorable moments on www.ruskinbond.in

This article has been written by Pooja Gupta. Currently a freelance writer and an anchor, she is also a former Radio Jockey. She hosts all kinds of shows and writes everything from ads, promos, articles, dialogues, short films, screenplays, feature films and even web series. For work, she can be contacted on pooja.gupta2178@yahoo.com.



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