Life and career
Ruskin Bond was born in a military hospital in [Kasauli] to Edith Clerke and Aubrey Bond. His siblings were Ellen and William. Ruskin’s father was with the Royal Air Force. When Bond was four years old, his mother was separated from his father and married a Punjabi-Hindu, Mr. Hari, who himself had been married once. Bond spent his early childhood in Jamnagar and Shimla. At the age of ten Ruskin went to live at his grandmother's house in Dehradun after his father's sudden death in 1944 from malaria. Ruskin was raised by his mother, who remarried an Indian businessman. He completed his schooling at Bishop in Shimla, from where he graduated in 1952 after having been successful in winning several writing competitions in the school like Irwin Divinity Prize, Hailey Literature Prize. Ruskin’s love for books and writing came early to him since his father had surrounded him with books and encouraged him to write little descriptions of nature and he took his son on hikes in the hills.
After his high school education he spent four years in England. In London he started writing his first novel, The Room on the Roof, the semi-autobiographical story of the orphaned Anglo-Indian boy Rusty. It won the 1957 John Llewellyn Rhys prize, awarded to a British Commonwealth writer under 30. Bond used the advance money from the book to pay the sea passage to Bombay. He worked for some years as a journalist in Delhi and Dehradun. Since 1963 he has lived as a freelance writer in Mussoorie, a town in the Himalayan foothills. He wrote Vagrants in the Valley, as a sequel to The Room on the Roof. These two novels were published in one volume by Penguin India in 1993. The following year a collection of his non-fiction writings, The Best of Ruskin Bond was published by Penguin India. His interest in the paranormal led him to write popular titles such as Ghost Stories from the Raj, A Season of Ghosts, A Face in the Dark and other Hauntings.
The Indian Council for Child Education recognized his pioneering role in the growth of children's literature in India, and awarded him the Sahitya Academy Award in 1992 for Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra. He received the Padma Shri in 1999.
Media-shy, he currently lives in Landour, Mussoorie’s Ivy Cottage, which has been his home since 1964
Based on Bond's historical novella A Flight of Pigeons (about an episode during the Indian Rebellion of 1857), the Hindi film Junoon was produced in 1978 by Shashi Kapoor and directed by Shyam Benegal). Ruskin Bond made his maiden big screen appearance with a cameo in Vishal Bhardwaj's film 7 Khoon Maaf, based on his short story Susanna's Seven Husbands. Bond appears as a Bishop in the movie with Priyanka Chopra playing the title role. Bond had earlier collaborated with him in the The Blue Umbrella which was also based on his story.
Most of his works are influenced by life in the hill stations at the foothills of the Himalayas, where he spent his childhood. His first novel, The Room On the Roof, was written when he was 17 and published when he was 21. It was partly based on his experiences at Dehra Dun, in his small rented room on the roof, and his friends. Since then he has written over three hundred short stories, essays and novels, including Vagrants in The Valley, The Blue Umbrella, Funny Side Up, A Flight of Pigeons and more than 30 books for children. He has also published two volumes of autobiography. Scenes from a Writer's Life describes his formative years growing up in Anglo-India; The Lamp is Lit is a collection of essays and episodes from his journal.
Bond said that while his autobiographical work, Rain in the Mountains, was about his years spent in Mussoorie, Scenes from a Writer's Life described his first 21 years. Scenes from a Writer's Life focuses on Bond's trip to England, his struggle to find a publisher for his first book The Room on the Roof and his yearning to come back to India,...
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