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Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Meeting with The Bond oh not that Bond

Ruskin Bond the eighty year old author is known for his homely mostly autobiographical fiction based mostly on Indian hill stations where he has lived a major part of his life.
Born in 1934 Ruskins father was a royal Airforce officer ,his mother had  later divorced and remarried and Ruskin spent much of his time with his grandmother and later in a boarding school ,
he went back to London at 17 years by then a budding writer and went on to write
" Room with a view "which won many awards and with the prize money he  returned to his beloved India worked a journalist and later as a free lance writer and settled down in Mussorie since 1964  ,
he now lives with an adopted Indian family where he is the loving Grandpa for them .
Years back when we went to Mussorie I desperately wanted to meet him as I adored his style of writing which reminded me both of P.G.wodehouse and R.K.Narayanan both my favourites .
Musssorie is hill station and one goes up from Dehradoon in the foothills .
We had hired a car to go up and  we sped past the busy Dehara doon streets ,capital of Himachal Pradesh state the roads were full of vehicles in the afternoon .
 slowly we left the city to wind our way up a road lined with  rhododendron trees swaying in the chilling winds the bright flowers nodded at our progress and the waning sunlight smiled its way out to dusk ,the hills and cloud covered peaks beckoned us to their warmth and the twinkling lights of Mussoorie ahead was inviting .
we reached the Sterling resorts our usual haunt those days in layers of winter clothes as it was late December and it was expected to snow at any moment .
A warm dinner in their  hotel with a roaring fireplace brought back the warmth to our souls and we retired into a deep slumber of happiness .
waking up in a hill station has always been a treat  to me and my dream of a retired existence has always been the high mountains but this day Mussoorie was resplendent in white like a bride she shone in purity adorned by the ample snow that had fallen when we slept
Everyone was in high spirits because of the snow with children throwing snowballs even the staff were grinning a lot ,when I went and enquired about Ruskin bond
Oh he lives in Landour we can try to call him and fix an appointment
please do so
within minutes I was talking to a very genial gentleman I informed him about my being his fan and the books of his I adored and wished to see him he was cool and just said sure come along I am here
So we went to Landour in a Maruthi van .
Every one knew Ruskin there ,he was  a local walked up to the market and bought things and mingled with all .
The road was really steep specially where Ruskin stayed the particular street it  was literally vertical the Maruti managed to stop while we gingerly got down and huffed our way to his small nondescript but neat little cottage on the street
Ruskin was in an upstairs room where we were asked to wait, it was cosy and what else full of books
Ruskin Bond came around and shook his hand with all of us
he was very informal and pleasant chitchatted with us stood for a photograph with my children both young those days commented on my handwriting as a typical doctors one !
offered us tea and then we were on our way back after the memorable meet
I remember the Indian express published the article I wrote then on this meeting and we had lot of feedback too but I think I lost that clipping
I suddenly remembered Ruskin when I saw his book in my collection in Cochin .
He is one man I would love to have as a friend !

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