What does the grand old man at 80 think about receiving the Padma Bhushan?
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.
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