A day with Ruskin Bond

By Amrita Guha and Rikparna Sinha Roy

An interactive session with the renowned author of The Blue Umbrella, Ruskin Bond. The Padma Shri and the Padma Bhushan awardee lighted up the stage with his appearance as he released Arefa Tehsin’s book, Steed of the jungle God. The session, which was organised as a part of Kolkata Literary Meet 2018 started at 12 noon as the children and even the adult fans of the author waited patiently for him to take the mic and discuss about his favourite authors as a child.

Being a voracious reader and a writer at an early age, the author spoke about the books he loved reading as a teenager and who all inspired him to write. The first book he read is perhaps every kid’s childhood favourite, Alice In Wonderland. He shared with the audience how he grew fond of the library and immersed himself in the world of books when he was in charge of the library of the boarding school and escaped things, which he didn’t like. For a book lover like Bond, sitting in the library and reading Geetanjali by Tagore and the classics were much more comforting than running the marathon races for 5 miles.

According to the Author, he had been a great admirer of Emily Bronte and Charles Dickenson and he suggested his young fans to try out some of the works of the two most important Victorian authors. As a child himself, he loved Wuthering Heights, the best-known novel by Emily Bronte. He would often read Dickens’ David Copperfield as he loved the character beautifully portrayed by the author and even as he grew up, he went back to the old books and reread them again.

While interacting with the young children from the various schools, one of the young fans of Ruskin Bond asked him that if the fun of reading a book remains as it is after watching a movie based on the same book which seemed to be an interesting question for the writer. According to him, “sometimes the movies can be disappointing as it cannot include all the visuals and the dialogues while one can go detail in a story” but sometimes the movies are made up from both facts and fictions.

When asked about how to balance between the approaching exams and also reading story books by a little fan a school, he went for story books but then he advised her that its equally important to read text books while in school as everyone is in a rat race to achieve an established career for livelihood.

The session was for around 45 minutes which was not long enough to answer the questions of the quenching hearts of the little readers but the writer whose stories are mostly based upon the true incidents had managed to interact with his excited fans and had also signed several books for which a long queue had been formed as the little ones waited patiently for their turn to greet the author and get an autograph of their favourite writer.