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Ruskin Bond

The writer on receiving the Padma Bhushan and why children are a recurrent theme in his work

Ruskin Bond
Ruskin Bond

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!

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