On his birthday, let’s see the world through Ruskin Bond’s window

Ruskin Bond Birthday Interview
Sitting at an altitude of 7,000 ft, a tiny space has become home to India’s celebrated author Ruskin Bond who’s turning 86 today (May 19). | Illustration - Immayabharathi K | All photos by Prabhu Mallikarjunan

“To me as a writer, the mountains have been kind. They were kind from the beginning, when I left a job in Delhi and rented a small cottage on the outskirts of the hill station. Today, most hill-stations are rich men’s playgrounds, but twenty-five years ago, they were places where people of modest means would live quite cheaply.”

– Ruskin Bond, Rain in the Mountains: Notes from the Himalayas

A small 6ft by 15ft room with big windows opens to the forests on its left, the hills of Mussoorie and its quaint lodges in the middle and, on days when the sky is clear, one can see the city of Dehradun at the far end on its right. The road beneath the windows leads to the town’s commercial hub in Landour, a cantonment area in the foothills of Garhwal range of Himalayas.

The maple trees, the Himalayan rhododendrons, the pine and walnut trees, the macaques, the wildflowers, the changing skyline, the clouds that encompass the surroundings offering misty views, changing every few seconds, are all part of the narrative he builds in his books.

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