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The name's Bond

India's best-loved children's writer talks of his forthcoming books and the book scene in India to Sonal Srivastava.

books Updated: Jun 06, 2007 14:27 IST

Seldom does one get to meet a master writer like Ruskin Bond, on a boat in the middle of a lake. The crowd cheers and
teenyboppers chant Bond’s name. The author sits like a profound thinker. And just when you try to indulge him in an intellectual discourse, he lets in, “My only regret is I can’t cook. Recently I found out that I couldn’t go beyond boiling an egg. And that’s bad because it’s difficult to make money then. You see the cookery books are best-sellers,” he beams.

Cooking may not be his forte but the veteran writer has come out with the latest edition of Ruskin Bond Omnibus. There’s no stopping him with two more books in the pipeline.

Says Bond, “One is a collection of different pieces. I put together Funny Side Up earlier. I am also planning a novella based on my journal.”

It’s not just the journal that keeps the inspiration going, ghosts also play a part in the Ruskin Bond genre. Bond proffers, “When I run out of people I resort to ghosts. I keep seeing them in my mind. Once a little girl told me that my ghosts are not scary enough and requested me to make them scarier.”

Does the strain of writing take its toll on him? The septuagenarian admits, “I don’t over work. I am a lazy fellow, I sleep a lot. My favourite is afternoon siesta and if someone wakes me up then I become very grumpy. Often I wake up in the night and I start writing, I enjoy writing short stories.”

On a serious note he adds, “But unfortunately the market for short stories has shrunk and that’s partly because magazines have shrunk. In the 60s and 70s there were magazines, which catered to a general market and that was my target audience. Today TV has taken over. But there’s always some good writing happening.”

On the current writing scene, Bond feels, “There are some serious writers like Vikram Seth and Amitav Ghosh. Then there are authors like Chetan Bhagat catering to a certain section of the society. There is room for everyone. It’s
like a Christmas stocking stuffed with different things.”