Today is Ruskin Bond's birthday and we came across this lovely interview of him by Swati Daftuar.
Via The Hindu
He started writing in school, and today, Bond remembers a time long ago, when things were very different for authors. “There has been a lot of change, of course. For one thing, 50 years ago, a writer wasn’t a face. You were known by your writing, by your by-line, or by your books. There was no television those days; the visual medium didn’t exist. You weren’t even interviewed.” In fact, Bond's first interview took place almost 20 years after his first novel, The Room on the Roof, was published in 1956. “It had been serialised in the Illustrated Weekly and I got a couple of reviews here and there, but that's all.” Laughingly, he adds that it was even later that he became a face as well as a name for readers. “I wish it had been then, when I had had a better face.”
While Bond started writing when books were not being published in India, he was still determined to make a living as an author. “And I was basically a fiction writer. Fortunately in those days, lots of magazines and newspapers carried fiction, so I would bombard them with my writing.” The Hindu, he says, was one such paper. “I wrote a lot of articles and stories for Sport and Pastime, Hindu's weekly sports magazine, way back in the 1950s and ’60s. I don’t know if they are still preserved in your archives.” For each story, Bond would be paid around Rs.50. Apart from the money he made from his work, he also built up quite a collection of ready work. “When books started being published in India, in the ’80s, I had all that material I could go into collections with.”
It was his love for reading that led Bond towards writing. “My early writing might have been very literary. I was trying to emulate my favourite authors. As I grew older, it changed, and living in the mountains, I came closer to nature. The more people I met, the more experiences I had, the bigger my canvas grew.”