Rabindranath Tagore’s writings had convinced him to return to India and pursue his literary career here, author Ruskin Bond told readers in Kolkata during the inaugural session of Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet at the Victoria Memorial Hall premises on Friday.
“I do owe a lot to Kolkata and Bengali literature because when I was a boy and when I was stranded in an island between England and France for three years, with great difficulty I caught hold of the collected plays and poems of Rabindranath Tagore. I read them one by one, ‘The Post Office’, ‘Red Oleanders’ etc. and they all brought me to India, and in a way convinced me that I had to come back and make my writing career here itself and that’s why I am here today,” the octogenarian writer said.
A crowd of students and youngsters had thronged the Victoria Memorial Hall venue on Friday afternoon to listen to their favourite writer, who is otherwise rarely accessible because he lives a recluse life, away from media glare, in Mussoorie.
The Padma Bhushan and Sahitya Academy awardee said that by the time he had completed school, he was sure that he would pursue literature as his career.
However, he advised young and aspiring writers not to fall for “vanity publishers”.
“You can reasonably expect you will get something for your work, although when I see the number of vanity publishers that have sprung and are taking large sums of money from aspiring young kids who want to see their name on a book, I am not sure if they are doing a service to literature,” Bond said. He advised aspiring writers to be patient and not to rush for fame and fortune. According to him, those who plan to be a writer should be prepared for disappointments and discouragements and must continue writing despite that. Writers need discipline, he said, suggesting aspirants to write everyday without bothering about whether those are getting published.
Despite being primarily known for his works for the children, Bond said he never deliberately wrote anything for children or adults. “I write for myself. I won’t write if I’m not connected to the subject or if it is not literature. It’s a different thing that some people who prepare students’ curriculum find some of my pieces suitable for students. But I have no role in any compartmentalisation,” he said.