Project 365: Day 12 — Happy Birthday Ruskin!

Today is Ruskin Bond’s birthday. To those who don’t know, Ruskin Bond is one of India’s finest writers (long before times like today when anything sells in the name of writing). He writes supposedly for children but is known to have fans across ages. Unlike other friends, I can’t claim to be inspired by Enid Blyton or any of the other well-known writers in my early years. My childhood reading mostly consisted of comics and fairy tales (Tinkle, Panchatantra, Aesop Fables, Hans Christian Andersen and mythological books were a huge part of my growing up years). I discovered Mr. Bond’s writing very late; I must’ve been 14 or 15 when I first read ‘The Cherry Tree’.

He’s one of my favourite writers because he gets details, he gets feelings, his writing drips of wisdom, and though he may claim that this wisdom comes from the nature he’s surrounded by through the year (he lives in Mussoorie), his words sing to you! I know for certain that when I have kids, his will be among the first few books they will be exposed to.

One of the other smaller reasons why I love Ruskin is because he champions my favourite form of writing. I truly believe that the best writing happens when you put pen to paper. Sure, your thoughts may be garbled, and to be honest, it’s a much easier option editing if you type it out, but pen and paper bring a different kind of joy. It may be one of the reasons I so deeply cherish handwritten letters.

One day, I hope to meet Ruskin and on that day, it may be a mixture of smiles, joy, tears, hugs and other forms of fangirling (incidentally, I have heard him speak at a Litfest a few years ago and I remember clapping excitedly until my palms were sore).

There simply aren’t enough words to express my feelings for Ruskin Bond and I’m always running short of them when it comes to him. So I will leave you with one of his many, many words that have left their mark on me.

“Love is as mysterious as happiness — no telling when it may visit us; when it will look in at the door and walk on, or come in and decide to stay. I won’t even hazard to say that love is always fleeting, a bird on the wing. I have known couples who grew old together and seemed reasonably happy.
There are few comforts greater than the notch of a loving hand when your hopes have been dashed. Of course things don’t turn out that way for all of us. When I was young, I fell in love with someone, someone fell in love with me, and both loves were unrequited. But life carried on.
Nothing really ends happily ever after, but if you come to terms with your own isolation, then, paradoxically, it becomes immediately possible, to find a friend. And friendship is also love.”

Happy 82nd Birthday to you, Rusty! May you have a long, long life! I love you!

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