Someone with lots of sex appeal should play me on screen, says author Ruskin Bond

At the recently concluded New Delhi World Book Fair, Ruskin Bond launched his new book, Till The Clouds Roll By and interacted with readers. He remembered his days of childhood, his days in Delhi with his father, and the loneliness that followed after his untimely demise.

books Updated: Jan 17, 2018 18:27 IST
Nabanita Das
Nabanita Das
Hindustan Tmes
Ruskin Bond,New Delhi World Book Fair,Lone Fox Dancing
Author Ruskin Bond was in the city to launch his new book, Till The Clouds Roll By.(Subrata Biswas/HT Photo)

There is no bigger champion of the utility of books, than novelist Ruskin Bond. “Once, while travelling alone, a mugger approached me, threatening to hand him over all the money I had. I was carrying a book in my hand, and used it to bang it on his head, poke it in his abdomen, and saved myself from getting robbed. So, you see, there are many benefits of reading books.” This is the kind of wit and ingenuity, both in life and art, that makes Rusty, everyone’s favourite.

Bond was in the Capital to launch his new book, Till The Clouds Roll By — a narrative that marks the days of his solitude following his father’s premature demise and his reacquaintance with his mother, as he travels to Dehradun to spend time with his family. The book is reminiscent of his novel The Room On The Roof (1956), where the protagonist, Rusty, the author’s alter ego, also loses his parents and tries to adjust to a life of solitude.

Even though book lovers may wonder what, after his tell-all autobiography, Lone Fox Dancing came out last year, remains to be said of his life, Bond says, “Most of my writings have primarily been autobiographical in nature. While Lone Fox Dancing is a longer narrative for mature readers, and covers my entire life, this book and Looking for the Rainbow: My Years with Daddy (2017) are memoirs meant for children. Kids will identify with these stories.”

Successfully resisting a rapidly digitising world with tech-savvy authors, Bond, indeed the Lone Fox, still writes using pen and paper, and sends handwritten manuscripts to publishers. As opposed to those who believe that book-reading is losing its charm, he says, “Thirty-forty years back, there were only three among thirty who tool interest in reading. It has always been a minority pastime. Yes, it’s true that the distractions then were less, but the number [of readers] was the same. There are so many authors and publishers now. Delhi has a world book fair. In the 1970s, when I was young, the book fair had about 20 stalls.”

Having been a best-selling author for decades, his stories have not only stood the test of time, but have been adapted for film and TV. Filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj’s 7 Khoon Maaf is the screen adaptation of Bond’s Susanna’s Seven Husbands. So, if his autobiography is adapted for the screen, who does he think would do justice to his role? “I don’t know, but someone with lots of sex appeal should do it (laughs). Vishal can direct it. It should be a funny one. He is also doing another film based on one of my children’s books, Mr Oliver’s Diary,” he says, laughing.

Top three
  • Currently reading: Agatha Christie’s novels
  • Favourite place in Delhi: Wenger’s
  • Writer’s block remedy: Keep the waste paper basket handy

First Published: Jan 17, 2018 18:27 IST