Biography of Ruskin Bond: Indian author Ruskin Bond was born on May 19, 18934. Bond has written over 500 short stories, novels, essays, including 64 children’s books. His first novel The Room on the Roof (1956) received the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize in 1957. He was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award for Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra in 1992. Bond received the prestigious Padma Shri in 1999 and Padma Bhushan in 2014. Let’s read more about the life and works of Ruskin Bond.
Personal Life of Ruskin Bond
Ruskin Bond was born to Edith Clarke and Aubrey Alexander Bond in Kasauli, British India. His father taught English to the princesses of Jamnagar palace. Bond and his sister Ellen lived there till he was six-year-old. His father joined the Royal Air Force in 1939 and Bond with his mother and sister went to live at his maternal home in Dehradun. Soon after this, he was sent to boarding school in Mussoorie. When Bond was eight, his parents got separated and his mother got married to a Punjabi Hindu, Hari. When his father got posted in New Delhi he arranged for Ruskin to live with him. Bond was close to his father and he refers to this stay with him as one of the happiest times of his life. When he was ten, his father was posted in Calcutta and he died in the war. Later, he was raised in Dehradun.
Bond did his schooling at Bishop Cotton School, Shimla from where he graduated in 1951. During his schooling period, he won several writing competitions and awards including the Hailey Literature Prize and the Irwin Divinity Prize.
Ruskin Bond wrote “Untouchable”, one of his first short stories when he was 16. After his high school graduation, he went to his aunt’s place in the Channel Islands (U.K.) for a better viewpoint and lived there for two years. When he was 17, he started writing his first novel The Room on the Roof in London. While searching for a publisher, he worked in a photo studio. After getting the book published, he used the advance money to pay for the passage to Bombay and settle in Dehradun. He did freelancing for a few years. Bond sustained himself by writing short stories and poems for magazines and newspapers. In 1963 he went to live in Mussoorie because he liked the place, and especially because it was close to the editors and publishers in Delhi.
Penguin was set up in 1980s India and asked Bond to write for them. He wrote Vagrants Valley as a sequel to his first novel in 1956. In 1993 Penguin published both books in one volume. Following that year Penguin published some of his non-fiction writing in The Best of Ruskin Bond. Some of his popular supernatural fiction writings are Ghost Stories from the Raj. A Season of Ghosts, and A Face in the Dark, and other Hauntings. Bond has also published his autobiography called Scenes from a Writer’s Life describing his early years growing up in Anglo-India. In 2017, a further autobiography was published called Lone Fox Dancing. The Lamp Lit is a collection of episodes and essays from his journal.
Most of Ruskin Bond’s works are about his life in the hills where he spent his childhood. His first novel also talks about his experiences at Dehradun in his rented room and with his friends. About writing children’s stories Bond said “I had a pretty lonely childhood and it helps me to understand a child better.” His works reflect the Anglo-Indian experiences and the alterations of political, cultural, and social aspects of India. His autobiographical work Rain in the Mountains talks about his years in Mussoorie. Scenes from a Writer’s Life is about his 21 years old self it focuses on his trip to England and struggles of finding a publisher, and the longing to come back home. Ruskin Bond likes his works by Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Charles Hamilton, and Richmal Crompton.
Ruskin Bond’s novel A Flight of Pigeons was adapted into the 1978 Bollywood movie Junoon. The movie was directed by Shyam Benegal and produced by Shashi Kapoor. All of Bond’s stories about his semi-autobiographical fictional character Rusty have been adapted into Ek Tha Rusty as a Doordarshan TV series. Several stories by Bond such as Time Stops at Shamli, The Night Train at Deoli, and Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra have been incorporated into the school curriculum. Director Vishal Bhardwaj adapted his popular children’s novel The Blue Umbrella in 2005. The movie won the National Film Award for Best Children’s Film. In 2011, he made his appearance on screen in Vishal Bhardwaj’s 7 Khoon Maaf.