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Ruskin Bond

Ruskin Bond
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For the well-known author, staying in Mussoorie is like being on a permanent holiday

Prachi Raturi Misra
November 19 , 2014
03 Min Read

OT: What is your idea of a holiday?
Ruskin Bond:
I haven’t really taken a holiday in a long time. Life in Mussoorie, where I live, in a way is a permanent holiday, because I can work when I want to. I don’t have to keep regular hours or report to a boss. So you can say I have been on holiday for at least 50 years.

OT: What is your most memorable holiday?
Ruskin Bond:
This would be when I was working at a photo equipment shop in London. I had fallen in love with a Vietnamese girl who was studying in London. I would try to see her often. Once I took two weeks off to spend time with her, but suddenly realised she was missing. She had taken off to the English countryside to pick strawberries for some pocket money. I decided to follow her, and took a train to this small village in the countryside, where I stayed at a country inn. I came back with a basketful of strawberries.

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Another holiday was when I lived and worked in Delhi. I went to Sardhana in Meerut, which has one of the oldest churches built by Begum Samru, a very colourful character, who I later wrote about.

OT:  What do you like about holidays?
Ruskin Bond:
A change in scene. You can come back fresh if you have been to a new place. The very fact that a travel has given you a change is interesting.

OT: What do you buy during your travels?
Ruskin Bond: If there is a book that I’ve been looking for that I happen to find, or an interesting book that I come across. But I am not one for getting souvenirs or mementos. When I usually get back, people ask me what I’ve got them. But I am hopeless at this, and always come back with nothing.

OT: Do you like to travel alone?
Ruskin Bond: Depends. But, yes, as I am getting older, I prefer to take my grandson Rakesh along. I am horrible at airports and stations. Once I was to travel to Delhi. I settled myself comfortably in the night train and slept off. I woke up in Lucknow. Thankfully, the station master knew me, so he promptly put me back on a train to Delhi.

OT: And how do you like to travel?
Ruskin Bond: I am happiest going by road, when it’s possible. I take in the sights and smells during the travel. You can stop where you want to, stretch your legs, and eat at a roadside eatery. Also, I enjoy dhaba food. I am not a fussy eater. So a parantha and pickle, or an omelette, will do well for me.

OT: Which place is on your travel wish list?
Ruskin Bond:
Well, since I have lived in the mountains most of my life, maybe the sea would provide some difference. Talking of the sea, since I grew up near the sea in Jamnagar and I haven’t visited it in years, I’d like to go back and see how the place looks. Also, I’d like to explore some unknown little village in Andhra Pradesh or Kerala. I like going to out-of-the-way places where tourists don’t usually go.


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