Good to receive such a high honour from the land I love.
You’ve said that your writing reflects a lonely childhood. Is that why children are a recurrent theme in your work?
Perhaps a lonely childhood has helped me to understand the difficulties of children; a lot of my writing is autobiographical.
From your first novel, The Room on the Roof, how has the five-decade long career as a writer been?
Full of ups and downs, but it has been a great journey. I have no regrets.
There’s soon to be a compilation of the best of Ruskin Bond. Which one is your favourite?
The work in hand is usually my favourite.
Has Rusty broken away from the past in some ways?
Today, Rusty is less sentimental. As he gets older, he sees the funny side of life.
What do you think about the crop of new writers today?
It’s good to see so many young writers making a mark, even money. Publishing in India has come of age.
What are you working on now?
Right now, I’m writing about writing! Some personal essays.
If not a writer, what would you have been?
A sumo wrestler. Or maybe a forest official, a botanist. Then I could have lived even closer to nature.
What’s the perfect day in the life of a writer?
A fat cheque from a publisher.
How did you celebrate your 80th?
For me, every day is a new awakening. On my 80th, I greeted the early morning sun, watered my plants, wrote a page or two, saluted the world from my window, and treated myself to two eggs instead of the usual one!
I loved the 10Q with Ruskin Bond (June 2). My favourite book by Bond is The Hidden Pool. I had won it as a prize in school in Bombay. I lost it later, but when I wanted to buy a copy, found that it was out of print. Now that it is available again, I can relive a bit of my childhood.
Bond is my favourite author and my idea of what every writer should be! India's diversity is best represented by those who stay rooted to the soil. My other favourite writer, R.K. Narayan, also sounds equally authentic. Strongly rooted, they don't seem to be writing about the wide world!
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
My favorite book by Shri Bond from so long ago is "The Hidden Pool" that I'd won as a prize at school in Bombay. I lost it and when I tried to buy it again, found that it was no longer published. Luckily it was republished a few years ago and I could get my hands on it again and relive a bit of my childhood!
My favourite author and an idea of what every writer should be, Ruskin Bond!
India's diversity is best represented by those who stay rooted to the soil. My other favourite writer, R. K. Narayan sounds so authentic. That is the same feeling when you read Ruskin Bond too. And they dont seem to be writing about the same world!
Ruskin Bond has always stayed close to the reader. Sixty years in writing which means a whole generation could have passed an entire lifetime reading his works. Such a deep and abiding engagement with literature is something that needs to be celebrated. And Padma award is just an occassion for it.
Our salutations to you, Sir, and instead of regular wishes to live to hundred, I wish you live and write one hundred and sixty years!
Ramachandran, well said. Both among my favourite authors too. Not many whose writings i can keep revisiting, but these two are among the exceptions -- Dahl is another, especially his short stories.
How both RB and RKN manage to get their characters so right has never ceased to amaze me -- and, yes, you are spot on about that rootedness factor.
Not very sure if RB would be pleased about your wish for him. Talking of myself, feels a bit too long. Regards.
We at Outlookindia.com welcome feedback and your comments, including scathing criticism
1. Scathing, passionate, even angry critiques are welcome, but please do not indulge in abuse and invective. Our Primary concern is to keep the debate civil. We urge our users to try and express their disagreements without being disagreeable. Personal attacks are not welcome. No ad hominem please.
2. Please do not post the same message again and again in the same or different threads
3. Please keep your responses confined to the subject matter of the article you are responding to. Please note that our comments section is not a general free-for-all but for feedback to articles/blogs posted on the site
4. Our endeavour is to keep these forums unmoderated and unexpurgated. But if any of the above three conditions are violated, we reserve the right to delete any comment that we deem objectionable and also to withdraw posting privileges from the abuser. Please also note that hate-speech is punishable by law and in extreme circumstances, we may be forced to take legal action by tracing the IP addresses of the poster.
5. If someone is being abusive or personal, or generally being a troll or a flame-baiter, please do not descend to their level. The best response to such posters is to ignore them and send us a message at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT
6. Please do not copy and paste copyrighted material. If you do think that an article elsewhere has relevance to the point you wish to make, please only quote what is considered fair-use and provide a link to the article under question.
7. There is no particular outlookindia.com line on any subject. The views expressed in our opinion section are those of the author concerned and not that of all of outlookindia.com or all its authors.
8. Please also note that you are solely responsible for the comments posted by you on the site. The comments could be deleted or edited entirely at our discretion if we find them objectionable. However, the mere fact of their existence on our site does not mean that we necessarily approve of their contents. In short, the onus of responsibility for the comments remains solely with the authors thereof. Outlookindia.com or any of its group publications, may, however, retains the right to publish any of these comments, with or without editing, in any medium whatsoever. It is therefore in your own interest to be careful before posting.
9.Outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for how any search engine -- such as Google, Bing etc -- caches or displays these comments. Please note that you are solely responsible for posting these comments and it is a privilege being granted to our registered users which can be withdrawn in case of abuse. To reiterate:
a. Comments once posted can only be deleted at the discretion of outlookindia.com
b. The comments reflect the views of the authors and not of outlookindia.com
c. outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for the way search engines cache or display these comments
d. Please therefore take due caution before you post any comments as your words could potentially be used against you
10. We have an online thread for our comments policy:
You are welcome to post your suggestions here or in case you have a specific issue, to directly email us at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT