Ruskin Bond

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Ruskin Bond
Ruskin Bond in Bangalore, India (Jim Ankan Deka photography).jpg
Ruskin Bond at a book release function in Bangalore (June 6, 2012)
Born (1934-05-19) 19 May 1934 (age 81)
British India
Occupation Writer
Nationality Indian
Period 1951 – present

Ruskin Bond (born 19 May 1934) is an Indian author of British descent. He lives with his adopted family in Landour, in Mussoorie. The Indian Council for Child Education has recognized his role in the growth of children's literature in India. He got the Sahitya Academy Award in 1992 for Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra, for his published work in English. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1999 and Padma Bhushan in 2014.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Ruskin Bond was born on 19 May 1934[2][3] in a military hospital, to Edith Clarke and Aubrey Bond, in Kasauli, Punjab, British India. His siblings were Ellen and William. Ruskin's father was with the Royal Air Force from 1939 till 1944. When Bond was seven years old, his mother separated from his father and married a Punjabi Hindu, Hari. Ellen lived in Ludhiana until she died in 2014.

Bond spent his early childhood in Jamnagar (Gujarat) and Shimla. At the age of ten, Ruskin went to live at his grandmother's house in Dehradun after his father's death that year from jaundice. Ruskin was raised by his mother and stepfather. He did his schooling from Bishop Cotton School in Shimla, from where he graduated in 1950 after winning several writing competitions in the school including the Irwin Divinity Prize and the Hailey Literature Prize. He wrote one of his first short stories, "Untouchable", at the age of sixteen in 1951.

Following his high school education he went to his aunt's house in Channel Islands in the U.K. in 1951 for better prospects and stayed there for two years. In London, he started writing his first novel, The Room on the Roof, the semi-autobiographical story of the orphaned Anglo-Indian boy named Rusty; he did various jobs for a living. It won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, (1957) awarded to a British Commonwealth writer under 30. He moved to London and worked in a photo studio while searching for a publisher. After getting it published, Bond used the advance money to pay the sea passage to Bombay and settle in Dehradun.[4]

He worked for a few years freelancing from Delhi and Dehradun.[5] He sustained himself financially by writing short stories and poems for newspapers and magazines. On his youth, he said, "Sometimes I got lucky and some [work] got selected and I earned a few hundred rupees. Since I was in my 20s and didn’t have any responsibilities I was just happy to be doing what I loved doing best."[4] In 1963, he went to live in Mussoorie because besides liking the place, it was close to the editors and publishers in Delhi. He edited a magazine for four years. In the 1980s, Penguin setup in India and approached him for writing a few books. He had written Vagrants in the Valley in 1956, as a sequel to The Room on the Roof. These two novels were published in one volume by Penguin India in 1993. The following year a collection of his non-fiction writings, The Best Of Ruskin Bond was published by Penguin India. His interest in supernatural fiction led him to write popular titles such as Ghost Stories from the Raj, A Season of Ghosts, and A Face in the Dark and other Hauntings. Since then he has written over five hundred short stories, essays and novels, including The Blue Umbrella, Funny Side Up, A Flight of Pigeons and more than 50 books for children. He has also published two volumes of autobiography. Scenes from a Writer's Life describes his formative years growing up in Anglo-India; The Lamp is Lit is a collection of essays and episodes from his journal.

Since 1963 he has lived as a freelance writer in Mussoorie, a town in the Himalayan foothills in Uttarakhand and lives with his adoptive family in Landour, Mussoorie's Ivy Cottage, which has been his house since 1980.[6] About what he likes the most about his life, he said, "That I have been able to write for so long. I started at the age of 17 or 18 and I am still writing. If I were not a professional writer who was getting published I would still write."[7] In his essay, "On being an Indian", he explains his Indian identity, "Race did not make me one. Religion did not make me one. But history did. And in the long run, it's history that counts."[2]

Literary style[edit]

Most of his works are influenced by life in the hill stations at the foothills of the Himalayas, where he spent his childhood. His first novel, The Room On the Roof, was written when he was 17 and published when he was 21. It was partly based on his experiences at Dehradun, in his small rented room on the roof, and his friends. His earlier works were written without being meant for any particular readership.[7] His first children's book, "The Angry River" in the 1970s (second being The Blue Umbrella), had its writing toned down on a publisher's request for a children's story.[7] On writing for children, he said, "I had a pretty lonely childhood and it helps me to understand a child better."[8] Bond's work reflects his Anglo-Indian experiences and the changing political, social and cultural aspects of India, having been through colonial, postcolonial and post-independence phases of India.[2]

Bond said that while his autobiographical work, Rain in the Mountains, was about his years spent in Mussoorie, Scenes from a Writer's Life described his first 21 years. Scenes from a Writer's Life focuses on Bond's trip to England, his struggle to find a publisher for his first book The Room on the Roof and his yearning to come back to India, particularly to Doon. "It also tells a lot about my parents", said Bond. "The book ends with the publication of my first novel and my decision to make writing my livelihood", Bond said, adding: "Basically, it describes how I became a writer".[citation needed]

Being a writer for over 50 years, Bond experimented with different genres; early works include fiction, short stories, novella with some being autobiographical. Later, he tried out non-fiction, romance[4] and books for children. He said his favourite genres are essays and short stories.[7] He considers himself a "visual writer" because for short stories, he first imagines it like a film and then notes it down. For an essay or travelogue, such planning is not needed for him. He feels the unexpected there makes it more exciting.[7] Bond likes Just William by Richmal Crompton, Billy Bunter by Charles Hamilton and classics such as Alice in Wonderland and works by Charles Dickens and Mark Twain.[7]


The 1978 Hindi film Junoon is based on Bond's historical novella A Flight of Pigeons (about an episode during the Indian Rebellion of 1857). It was produced by Shashi Kapoor and directed by Shyam Benegal. The Rusty stories have been adapted into a DoorDarshan TV series "Ek Tha Rusty". Several stories have been incorporated in the school curriculum in India, including "The Night Train at Deoli", "Time Stops at Shamli" and Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra. In 2007, the Bollywood director Vishal Bhardwaj made a film based on his popular novel for children, The Blue Umbrella. The movie won the National Award for Best Children's film.

Ruskin Bond made his maiden big screen appearance with a cameo in Vishal Bhardwaj's film 7 Khoon Maaf, based on his short story Susanna's Seven Husbands. Bond appears as a Bishop in the movie with Priyanka Chopra playing the title role.[9] Bond had earlier collaborated with him in the The Blue Umbrella which was also based on one of his works.


Collections / Anthologies[edit]

  • The Cherry Tree[10]
  • Garland of Memories
  • Ghost Stories from the Raj
  • Funny Side Up
  • Rain in the Mountains: Notes from the Himalayas
  • Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra
  • Dust on the Mountains
  • A Season of Ghosts
  • Tigers Forever
  • A Town Called Dehra
  • At school with Ruskin Bond
  • An Island of Trees
  • The Night Train at Deoli and Other stories
  • A Face in the Dark and Other Hauntings
  • Potpourri
  • The Adventures of Rusty
  • Crazy times with Uncle Ken
  • The Death Of Trees
  • Tales and Legends from India
  • Time stops at Shamli
  • A Tiger In The House
  • Four Feathers
  • School Days
  • The Tiger In The tunnel
  • Mr. Oliver's diary
  • The Parrot Who Wouldn't Talk
  • The Ruskin Bond Children's Omnibus
  • Rusty - The Boy from Hills
  • The Monkey Trouble
  • Ruskin Bond's Book of Nature
  • Tigers For Dinner: Tall Tales By Jim Corbett's Khansama
  • The Rupa Book of Haunted Houses
  • The Rupa Book of Eerie Stories
  • The Penguin Book of Indian Ghost Stories
  • The Penguin Book of Indian Railway Stories
  • Face in the Dark and Other Haunting Stories (Collection of Bond's ghost stories)
  • Friends in Small Places - Ruskin Bond's Unfogettable People
  • A Crow For All The Seasons
  • Hip Hop Nature Boy and Other Poems[11][12]
  • A Book of Simple Living
  • Love Among the Bookshelves




  1. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c Meena G.. Khorana; Greenwood (January 2009). The Life and Works of Ruskin Bond. IAP. p. 1–10. ISBN 978-1-60752-075-7. 
  3. ^ "At 81, Ruskin Bond's tryst with his tireless pen continues". Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  4. ^ a b c "The name is Bond, Ruskin Bond". Retrieved 2015-10-21. 
  5. ^ Sinha, Arpita (18 May 2010). "The name is Bond, Ruskin Bond". Retrieved 3 March 2011. 
  6. ^ Bond, Ruskin (24 November 2012). Walk the Talk with Ruskin Bond. Interview with Shekhar Gupta. NDTV. Delhi. Retrieved 18 July 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f "A Landour day with Ruskin Bond". The Hindu Business Line. Retrieved 2015-10-20. 
  8. ^ "My writings reflect my lonely childhood: Ruskin Bond - Firstpost". Firstpost. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  9. ^ "Ruskin Bond to do a cameo in 'Saat Khoon..'". The Times Of India. [dead link]
  10. ^ The Cherry Tree - Ruskin Bond - Google Books
  11. ^ Ruskin Bond celebrates 25th anniversary of Penguin in Bangalore EF News International
  12. ^ Two anniversaries and a book launch - International Press Association publication

External links[edit]