Saturday, November 16, 2013

Indian author Ruskin Bond appeared for the second time at the Sharjah International Book Fair on Monday, 11th November 2013, to speak to an audience of school students. Mr. Bond first appeared at the 30th anniversary of the fair in 2011. He has made a significant contribution to children's literature throughout his career, and a number of his works have been adopted by Indian and international education boards and institutions. 

Two of his works, the novel The Blue Umbrella and the short story Susanna's Seven Husbands, were adopted for Bollywood by prominent filmmaker and director Vishal Bhardwaj.  He was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1992 for his short story collection, and the Padma Shri, India's fourth highest civilian honour in 1999. The session was moderated by Kapish G. Mehra, who is the CEO of Rupa Books, an Indian publishing company.

L-R: Author Ruskin Bond and Rupa Books owner Kapish G. Mehra
Photo Credit: Lavanya Narayan
Manipal Dubai Blog caught up with the acclaimed author to talk about his writing, passion and lessons learnt. 

1. Why does Nature play a great and significant role in your work?
Ruskin Bond: As you may be aware, I grew in places like Kasauli, Dehradun, and Shimla, which are most well known as hill stations. These are places where you become very close to nature, and it was an important part of my upbringing. I feel we should not take nature for granted or destroy it for personal and material gain.

2. Do your stories have a specific moral or lesson to be learnt?
RB: I do not attach morals to my stories. I try my best to show the positive aspects of growing up. There are no specific morals, but I would like the story to have a meaningful outcome. At the end of the day, what I really want is to tell a good story.

3. As a writer, how do you perceive the cultural divide and impact of current events on Indian literature?
RB: I do not target or specify any demographic in my work. If you bring in a demographic or a current event into a story, it may be forgotten in 5 to 10 years. My stories focus on relationships between people, not events. For example, my story 'The Girl on the Train' was one of the first works I had written, many years ago. But it's something that could have taken place in real life even yesterday.

4. Do you see a change in writers from when you first started out, to the current time period?
RB: Yes, nowadays it is easier for young people to write stories. Back in that time, there were very few people who could publish their work. With the rise of technology and publishing online, a lot of writers are reaching out to audiences through e-books.