Have a window in your room, it will let in air and ideas too: Ruskin Bond

One of the most popular authors of our times, Ruskin Bond was recently at the Indore Litfest in Madhya Pradesh. The Peeper Times joined his admirers there to understand the secret of his popularity and creativity.

As you listen to eminent author Ruskin Bond interact with his readers, especially the young ones, you realise the ‘secret’ of his popularity, the ‘secret’ of how he has managed to transcend the generation gap effortlessly.

His stories about his childhood, his teen life still find instant connect with youngsters today, some three decades after they were written. And he tells you why it is so.

“Children don’t really change. It’s just that when we grow older, we start getting diverse. I get an honest appraisal about my writings from children. Once, at a public gathering, a child told me that my ghost stories were not scary enough. The other time, a teacher asked her young student (in my presence) that how was I as a writer. The child looked at me and after some time said, ‘you are not a bad writer.’”

At Indore, where  he had gone recently to attend a literature festival, the author had an interactive session with audience, majority of which comprised children. Most of them were seen carrying his books, to get them signed once the session was over.

“A lot of children these days want to write. They may not read much but they want to write. Many of them come to me and say, ‘sir, I have written a book. My parents have spend a huge amount to get it published’. I encourage them to write and express themselves. But I tell them that they should not pay to get published, instead they must be paid (for their work).”

He started writing in his teens and has been doing so for over 70 years now.

Ask him about the effect of digital era on books and writing styles and he is quick to point out that it hasn’t bothered him much personally. “ I still write with pen. My books are being published and major part of my royalties come from printed books. But yes, the way of writing has changed. People want quick reading as they are in hurry.”

And what is the mantra for writing a good story? “Identify with your character. Also, your language skills are important, how you make a dull subject sound interesting matters. You will never run out of ideas if you have a good memory,” he says, adding, “You need a window in your room, it will let in air and ideas too.”

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