Legendary author Ruskin Bond turns 88

Birthday is a "day in the year we do sometimes realise how lucky we are to be alive", says legendary author Ruskin Bond who turned 88 on Thursday

Indian author Ruskin Bond (Photo Courtesy: IANS)
Indian author Ruskin Bond (Photo Courtesy: IANS)


Birthday is a "day in the year we do sometimes realise how lucky we are to be alive", says legendary author Ruskin Bond who turned 88 on Thursday.

On this occasion, HarperCollins India has brought out a book by the author titled "How To Live Your Life".

"Be whatever you want to be Give it your heart and soul, and you will have made something of your life, my friend," says Bond.

The book is packed with all the good advice anyone, any age, would love and benefit from because it is sound wisdom distilled from the wonderful life and times of the inimitable Ruskin Bond, the publisher says.

Before the pandemic, Bond, on his birthday, used to spend time in the evening at his favourite bookstore, Cambridge in Mussoorie, with his fans and cut a cake.

"My dream birthday party would be one in which I am joined by hundreds of my young readers, all enjoying cakes, jalebis, samosas, etc, the bill to be paid by my publishers," Bond told PTI.

"I have, on the whole, had a wonderful life, and I will tell you more about it as we go along," he writes at the beginning of his book.

He goes on to describe how he loves writing with a pen, basking in the sun, having a good breakfast and reading letters written by his well-wishers and fans.

"There's something special you can do, even if you are not yet quite sure what it could be. It's lurking there somewhere in the back of your mind. It will come to the fore one of these days. And then you can forge ahead. And don't look back," he advises.

Bond also asks children not to look back at failure.

"Our past is full of regrets, of things that bother us from time to time. As you get older, you will look back at your boyhood, girlhood, teens, and wish that you had done things differently at certain times. Don't let these memories stand in your way."

On birthdays, he writes, "Once a year we celebrate our individual birthdays. On that day in the year we sometimes realise how lucky we are to be alive.

"And yet, surely, every day is a birthday - a birthday for you and me..."

Tina Narang, publisher at HarperCollins India, says at 88, with a life well lived or rather wonderfully lived, Bond is right there on top among the people most suited to tell us how to live our lives.

"Told in true Bond style, each piece of advice will ring true with everyone who reads the book as you'll discover true wisdom on its pages, again and yet again," she says about the book.

Bond was born in Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh, and grew up in Jamnagar, Dehradun, New Delhi and Shimla. As a young man, he spent four years in the Channel Islands and London. He returned to India in 1955. He now lives in Landour, Mussoorie with his adopted family.

At the age of eight, Bond escaped his jail-like boarding school in the hills and went on to live with his father in Delhi. His time in the capital was filled with books, visits to the cinema, music, and walks and conversations with his father - a dream life for a curious and wildly imaginative boy, which turns tragic all too soon.

His first novel "The Room on the Roof", written when he was 17, received the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize in 1957. Since then, Bond has written a number of novellas, essays, poems and children's books.

Bond has also written over 500 short stories and articles that have appeared in magazines and anthologies. He received the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1993, the Padma Shri in 1999 and the Padma Bhushan in 2014.

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