Ruskin Bond at Kalam, Tata Steel Literary Meet 2018
- Hello Ruskin Sir, Greetings for your recent visit to the city of joy. This isn’t the first time you are visiting Calcutta. So what do you like and don’t like the most about the city?
~ This is my 4th visit to Kolkata Literary Meet. I do have strong connection with the city as my father grew up here. And Calcutta is full of writers and people who read a lot. It’s always a literary atmosphere here. This isn’t present everywhere. What I don’t like much is may be the mosquitoes… (laughs)
- And may be the traffic ?
~ Traffic isn’t as bad as Delhi or Mumbai. I think its faster here, more like rally.
- Being from the Mussoorie, does the urban life disturb you in anyway?
~ Not really. Hills are quite urbanized these days. If you are a good walker you can easily get hold of things.
- We find that you chose to write in first person. Is there any particular reason behind that?
~ Yeah, I feel easier to write in first person and mostly I take my stories from personal observation or personal experiences so I prefer to write in first person. Though some of my works have been in third person but their no. is very less.
- Speaking about this, How many of your fictional love interest exist in real life ?
~ (laughs) Take any of my books and I could answer this better. Anyway, like I have been telling my works are mostly personal observations so yes, some of them do exist in real life. Like “Sushila” or the “Vietnamese girl” or the one in “Times stops at Shamli“ .
- Many of your movies have been made into Bollywood films. Do you think that those being in different language, pose any difficulty in expressing your original expressions?
~ That’s a point. But I feel that some of my characters like those in “Flight of Pigeons” which have been made into Junoon, should speak in Pakistani or Hindustani dialects. Also the girl in the “Blue Umbrella” should naturally speak in a hill dialect. But sometimes, yes, it is a problem otherwise it should come naturally.
- We have observed that nowadays, many lesser known books when made into films, shows remained houseful for weeks. What’s your take on this?
~ Not really. I have been a film buff since childhood. And many literary works used to be made into films back then. From Shakespeare to Maugham, and I enjoyed all of those. But sometimes a reader might feel disappointed after watching the film version of a book. It totally depends on the film-makers, you see. But it’s good that literary works continue to inspire films.
- So when a lesser known book is popularized by its film version, does it indicate that we are shifting from the pages to the screens?
~ Not really. In the past, people didn’t start reading until they worked but nowadays children of 5 or 6 years start reading. They take interest in things around them.
- Have you ever been through “writer’s block”?
~ I feel I’m going through one right now.
~ And how do you think you can overcome it?
- I would have some hot cocoa drink and if that too doesn’t help, I would have some whiskey in the evening. Hopefully that would help. (laughs)
- Lastly, any message for LaughaLaughi, Sir?
~ I wish you all the success and hope you get good response from your viewers and followers.
Thus, Mr.Bond, with a smile no less charming than an innocent little child, signed off for the day.