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Ruskin Bond

Ruskin Bond (born 19 May 1934) is an Indian author of British descent. He was born in Kasauli (Himachal Pradesh) and has lived in Landour since the 1960s, having previously also lived, as a child and young man, in Shimla, Jamnagar, Mussoorie, Dehradun, and London. Most of his writings show a strong influence from the social life in the hill stations at foothills of the Himalayas, where he spent his childhood. He is considered to be an icon among Indian writers and children's authors and a top novelist earlier. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1999 for contributions to children's literature.

Life History

Ruskin Bond was born in the dying days of the British Raj, . a somewhat lonely childhood, marked by his parents' divorce and his mother's remarriage. His father had died in 1944 during World War II, when Ruskin was 10, and he was raised by his mother, stepfather (an Indian businessman) and other relatives. For a while, he attended Hampton Court School. He completed his schooling at Bishop Cotton School in Shimla, Given his childhood in various hill stations, most of his writings revolve around the foothills of the Himalayas, especially the greater Doon Valley, including Landour, Mussoorie, Dehradun and points nearby in southwestern Uttarakhand.
As a young man, he spent four years in the Channel Islands and London. He has lived in Mussoorie-Landour since 1962. Among blood relatives, Bond has two sisters, one living in England and one in India (the latter with her stepfather's daughter by his first marriage). His brother first left India for England, then England for Canada, where he has resided since 1967. He also has two half-brothers from his mother's remarriage after his father's death.

An icon of Indian literature

As a writer, he is as productive as ever in his early seventies, and gets many of his ideas by reminiscing while gazing out of the windows of his apartment towards the Lower Western Himalaya, the Pauri Hills and the Doon Valley from his perch atop Mullingar Hill in Landour Cantonment. He can always reach into his rich life experience, especially his childhood and early adulthood, for yet another story line or another evocative character.

Over the course of a writing career spanning forty years, he has written over a hundred short stories, essays, novels, and more than thirty books for children.

The Room on the Roof was his first novel, written when he was seventeen and it received the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial prize in 1957. Vagrants in the Valley was also written in his teens and picked up from where The Room on the Roof left off. These two novellas were published in one volume by Penguin India in 1993 as was a much-acclaimed collection of his non-fiction writing, Rain in the Mountains, Delhi is Not Far : The Best of Ruskin Bond, published by Penguin India the following year.

Ruskin Bond received the Sahitya Akademi Award for English writing in India for 1992, for Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra. Of his autobiography, Scenes From a Writer's Life, published in 1997, V.S. Naipaul said: "I have read nothing like that from India or anywhere else. It's very simple. Everything is underplayed, and the truths of the book come rather slowly at you. He is writing about solitude, tremendous solitude. He himself doesn't say it. He leaves it all to you to pick up. I haven't read another book about solitude from India. In a way, from this great Subcontinent so full of people, to write a book about solitude is quite an achievement."

His interest in the paranormal led him to edit and write popular titles like 'Ghost Stories from the Raj', 'A Season of Ghosts', 'A Face in the Dark and Other Hauntings'.

The Rusty stories, about his alter-ego Rusty and his adventures, were adapted into a popular serial "Ek Tha Rusty" (There Was One Rusty)on Doordarshan . Bond's story, 'A Flight of Pigeons', set in pre-independence India was also made into a movie, Junoon (1978) by director Shyam Benegal. Recently, another one of his short stories was adapted by director Vishal Bhardwaj into a critically acclaimed Bollywood movie called The Blue Umbrella(2005) (also credited as Chatri Chor).



 

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