Introducing Ruskin Bond
In the world of Literature, Ruskin Bond is one name whose simplicity of prose and ingenuity of imagination can fascinate the mind of any reader. To begin with, his stories are as simple, vivid and colorful sketching a canvas on the mind as we turn the pages, his descriptions more like a picture in the storybook that at no point gets dull and similar. The beauty of reading Bond is that one doesn’t have to struggle at every line with its vocabulary and as the reading is quite unhindered one can enjoy the story rather than diverting the attention every now and then towards the dictionary.
Born in the summer of 1934, May 19th, to Edith Clerke and Aubrey Bond, in the military hospital in Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh, Ruskin Bond is an author of Anglo-Indian descent. He had two more siblings called Ellen and William. As a child, young Bond spent most of his childhood moving around the foothills of Himalayas that was to leave an indelible impression in the psyche of the young author he was to become. Bond’s urge for writing was perhaps a gift from his father, Mr Edith Clerke, who was with the Royal Air Force of British India and himself a bibliophile. His habit of scribbling notes provided the child Bond with the encouragement to write. Also, young Bond often used to accompany his father on nature trails into the deep woods of the Himalayas, and he grew so much in love with the beauty of the hills, its flora and fauna, that both Ruskin Bond the author and the person became inseparable from it.
Mrs Aubrey Bond’s separation from her husband and her marriage to Mr. Hari, a Punjabi-Hindu, when Bond was only four years old, was a crucial phase in the author’s life. Growing up in his step-father’s house, in Shimla and Jamnagar, young Ruskin became more reticent and shy as a boy and immersed himself in the world of books and found expression in it. With Mr. Clerke’s sudden death in 1944, due to malaria, Mrs Aubrey Bond had to move back to England along with her other two children as was the law of the British Raj. Ruskin, at that time only ten years of age, went to live at his grandmother’s residence in Dehradun and completed his schooling from Bishop Cotton School, Shimla (1952) after which he too had to move back to England. While in school at Shimla, the young Ruskin had already discovered his talent with the pen and won several literary competitions like Irwin Divinity Prize and the Hailey Literature Prize.
During his stay in England, Bond moved on to pursue his higher education, while staying with one of his aunt. At this time a terrible homesickness for his home in the Himalayas gripped him and he found himself desolate and lonely in the forlorn British Iles. This longing for home found expression in his first semi-autobiographical novel, The Room on the Roof, story of an Anglo-Indian orphaned boy name, Rusty. In 1957, the novel owned the John Llewellyn Rhys prize, an award for British Commonwealth writers under the age of 30. He used the advance money of 50 pounds to purchase a ticket to Bombay. For some years, he worked as a journalist in Delhi and Dehradun before deciding to become a freelance writer altogether.
Since 1963, Bond has peacefully settled himself in the picaresque backdrop of Landour and Mussoorie in Uttar Pradesh, living with his adopted family. He is now one of India’s most prolific author who has penned down more than 500 short stories, several novels, essays, and poems, and the only Indian author to contribute so immensely to Children’s Literature in post-independent India. Bond has since received three prestigious awards by Sahitya Akademi for his short story collection, “Our Trees Still Grow in Dhera” (1992) and Padma Shri in 1999 for his contribution Children Literature in India. He was honored with Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award in India, in 2014.
His Literary Style
The best comment that can be made on Bond’s literary style is perhaps that, he never strives to difficult, his forte is his clarity. His children stories are characterized by his vivid and simple use of language without any complex structures and clichés, syncing with the parlance of a child. Most of his stories are based on the backdrop of Himalayas he loves so much, depicting the various essences of Indian life and culture and an innate relationship with nature and animals. His protagonists are mostly seen not only forming an intricate relationship with nature but also in the process shows the adult world their carelessness in their approach towards nature and life.