The 75 year-old who tells you to love what you do

Published: Sep 02, 2009, 07:26 IST | Kasmin Fernandes |

Ruskin Bond rediscovers the simple pleasures the world forgets in his latest gem, Notes from a Small Room. Life gets funnier as you get older, the author tells FYI

Ruskin Bond rediscovers the simple pleasures the world forgets in his latest gem, Notes from a Small Room. Life gets funnier as you get older, the author tells FYI

On the cover of Notes from a Small Room, a Siamese cat looks meditatively back at a typewriter next to an open window. Inside, the genial author has assembled a collection of new essays and a few old favourites. They are rounded off with an apt: Thoughts on Reaching 75. In it, Ruskin Bond writes, "Happiness is as elusive as a butterfly, and you must never pursue it... contentment is easier to attain."

Brilliant musings like these is just one of the things in common with these essays, whether written yesterday or years ago. You will find in them a love of books, of kindly people, of the endless fascination of nature, of the wide-eyed wonder of children, of the sights, sounds and scents of a country that never runs out of surprises.

The cat reappears as an example to live by in A Year with Suzie. "I should have called the cat Souza," Bond says over the phone from his home in Mussoorie. "Suzie was five months old when I discovered that he was actually male. But he kept his girl's name for the rest of his time with me. Sometimes, I would find him curled up on my typewriter, reminding me that I have not been working regularly of late." 

Yet, writer's block is something you'll never hear this prolific 75 year-old author complain about. "I never suffer from it. I have only to sit down at my desk for the words to come tumbling onto my writing pad. And if an ant moves across my desk, I shall record its transit," he says.

Notes From a Small Room by Ruskin Bond is published by Penguin and is available for Rs 225 at all major bookstores

Perhaps, it has to do with the work precept he follows:

'Love your art, poor as it may be,' Antonian Emperor Marcus Aurelius recorded in Meditations. "I have tried to use words creatively and lovingly. The gift of putting words and sentences to make stories or essays has carried me through life with a certain serenity and inner harmony which could not have come from any unloved vocation," he writes in the essay Love Your Art.

Or is it his mind that is able to flit from childlike innocence to profound wisdom? "The other day, a friend remarked that I'm still 14. Life seems to get funnier as you get older. Funny things keep happening to me. I took a train to Delhi and woke up in Lucknow. I didn't mind, because I had a friend there too."

My name is Bond
Ruskin bond is an Indian author of British descent. He was born in Kasauli in Himachal Pradesh. His first novel, The Room On the Roof was written when he was 17 and published when he just 21. In 1992, he received the Sahitya Akademi award for English writing. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1999 for his contribution to children's literature.

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