A blend of early nip in the air, birds chirping in the background, and the lover of nature expressing a Wordsworthian love of nature and goodness of human heart - from Jaipur's pashmina clad socialites to school kids, hippies with dreadlocks to geeky professors, Ruskin Bond's session titled 'Boys will be boys' drew everyone out of bed on a Sunday morning to the Jaipur Literaray fest.
The author who has been read for almost three generations is loved by the readers for his simplicity and genuine affection for readers. I've been writing since I was 17, I feel pretty ancient now. When I was sixty I felt old, now I am seventy-six and I feel much younger again," he says good-humouredly.
Bond has been writing for all kinds of readers, be it the Rusty Runs Away for children or Tales of the open road for adults but he has never explored sexuality in his books. "My writing is true to my nature, and this is how I am; I write about people around me, when I run out then I cook up ghost stories," he explains. But does the author belives in ghost himself, asks a young girl from the audience, "I don't belive in them but I keep seeing them," he jokes.
On being coaxed by Ravi Singh to read one of the rare sensual passages from his book, he says, "Well there're children in the audience but if I don't read these wicked parts, the youngsters will be disappointed," He quips before reading out a hilarious passage about a young boy being seduced by a 'scaly old woman'.
Though an exponent of nature and wildlife, in his books he has mixed feelings about the Save The Tiger campaign. The reason lies in a traumatic encounter with a tiger as a kid. As the audience gasps in astonishment at the near-death escape of the author from the jaws of death, he laughs out aloud, saying, "Well I just cooked up the story, if I had actually seen a tiger, I would surely had died of fright, I am a great liar."
After making a fool of the audience, he excitedly tells about his guest appearance in 7 Khoon Maaf, the Priyanka Chopra starrer which is based on his book, Susanna's Seven Husbands.
After a session filled with laughter, India's most beloved author is hounded by fans who form a mile long queue and are least bothered by the harsh sun as they wait for their one-minute of fame with Mr.Bond.
Says Sohail Rashid, who has come all the way from Kashmir to meet the writer, "I have brought my whole collection of Ruskin Bond books to be signed by him", he reveals, much to agony of other people in the line."