Happy 90 Mr. Ruskin Bonds

"When World War 2 broke out, my Dad, who was in the Air Force, went to war. He sent me to live with my maternal grandparents in Dehradun; I was 6. It was tough–I missed Dad terribly. A year later, Mum and Dad got divorced; then just before the end of the war, we got a letter saying that Dad had died of a bullet; I was shattered.

I grew very lonely. A few years later, Mum remarried, but I couldn't accept another man in Dad's place–as a child, I resented my step-dad. So, I tried to create my own little world–after school, I'd curl up with a book and forget about everything else.
In a way, books were my escape–at the age of 12, I used to read more than 5 books a week. All I wanted was to emulate my favourite authors, so I started writing short stories.

And in 1951, my first story was published in a local magazine; I was 16! Thrilled, I told Mum, 'I want to be a writer.' But she didn't take me seriously–I was shipped off to England for college.

The next 4 years taught me how difficult it was to sustain as a writer. After college, I'd juggle 4 part-time jobs and chores. At the end of the day, I'd be exhausted, still I'd write at night. On weekends, I'd go from one publishing house to another, but my work was rejected everywhere.

So, after college, I decided to move back to India. But just as I boarded the ship, I got a postcard saying that one of my stories was selected by a publisher; they'd sent me a cheque of £50!
In India, mum and my step-dad had moved to Delhi and my grandparents had passed. So, I rented a small apartment in Mussoorie and lived by myself. Every day, I'd bombard newspapers–one published story used to earn me about Rs.50; I was content with that.

And in 1956, I wrote the Night Train at Deoli, which became a bestseller. I was 24 and wrote a lot about falling in love with girls at train stations. But in reality, none of those girls reciprocated. I mean, here I am, at 87, still a bachelor! So in the 1960s, I adopted my grandson— now he and his kids are my family.

But being a writer meant living hand to mouth, so I'd often go to Delhi and do odd jobs. And when I had enough money, I'd come up to the hills to write.

It was only in the 1990s that I realised I was popular. I was at a station when 3 kids pointed at me and exclaimed, 'Ruskin Bond, Ruskin Bond!' Relieved, I thought, 'At least someone knows me!'
In the past 30 years, my routine hasn't changed much–I enjoy my morning hikes, watch TV and munch on my favourite mutton cutlets while writing. With age, I've started enjoying my naps a lot more. On weekends, I go to the one bookstore here and talk to people.

And now, my godsons have put me on Instagram–they keep teaching me how to use it. But I've given up! I chuckle and tell them, 'I'm very happy with my books, don't make me a part of this online world"

'To the man who eternalized our childhood with his spirited and youthful stories, a very Happy belated 90th Birthday!'

Write Up Courtesy : Humans of Bombay !!