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A Literary Night to Bookmark! 14th Raymond Crossword Book Award in Mumbai celebrates Indian Writing

Lyricist Gulzar bestowed the Lifetime Achievement award to author Ruskin Bond

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Raymond Cross Book Award 2014, Youtube

Mumbai, November 30, 2016: It was a literary night at the National Centre for the Performing Arts when authors of all genres arrived at the 14th Raymond Crossword Book Award here.

Lyricist Gulzar bestowed the Lifetime Achievement award to author Ruskin Bond at the 14th Raymond Crossword Book Award on Tuesday.

In fiction category, it was ‘Scion of Ikshvaku’ by Amish Tripathi which won the award in the popular fiction category. Twinkle Khanna’s ‘Mrs Funnybones’ took the popular non-fiction award.

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‘Playing It My Way’ by Sachin Tendulkar (co-author Boria Majumdar) was given the award for best biography while Radhakrishnan Pillai bagged the popular award in Business and Management category for his book ‘Chanakya in You’.

Health and fitness book ‘Body Goddess’ written by Payal Gidwani got the award in the health and wellness category while it was Roopa Pai who was awarded for children’s writing for her book ‘Gita for Children’.

Amitav Ghosh was awarded the Crossword Book Award – jury in the fiction for his ‘Flood of Fire’ while in the non-fiction category it was ‘Gita Press and the Making of Hindu India’ by Akshaya Mukul which bagged the jury award for best non-fiction.

‘The Sun That Rose From the Earth’ by Shamsur Rahman Faruqi was given the jury award for the best translated book and Ranjit Lal won the jury award in the children’s book category for his writing ‘Our Nana was a Nutcase’.

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The evening also saw the launch of the coffee table book, ‘The Benevolent Narmada’, featuring photographs by Hari Mahidhar and script by Vithal Nadkarni.

Accepting the award, author Ruskin Bond, addressing the event through a video conference, said: “I’m told, Gulzar is coming to give me the award. I’m 82 years old now, and don’t travel around much. But it is great to receive this award from him and from Crossword Bookstores.”

Author Ranjit Lal, after receiving the award, said: “This recognition is special because ‘Our Nana was a Nutcase’ is not an ordinary story. Nana is actually bringing up his daughter’s four children. There is a brilliant role reversal, when the children witness their Nana’s gradual decline with Alzheimer’s, come to terms with it and slowly realise that it is they who have to be the caregivers for their Nana.”

“It feels wonderful to win the Popular Award because it means the book has truly resonated with young readers, which is what every writer truly wishes for her book. Children’s literature, in India as everywhere, needs all the help it can get to reach a wider audience,” author Roopa Pai said, after winning the award in children’s book category.

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Author Amish Tripathi said: “It is an honour to receive the popular Crossword Book Award in the fiction category for the book ‘Scion of Ikshvaku’. It is an award decided by the readers. It is the job of a writer to write a book but it is only when it’s picked by readers, liked by readers that makes its true purpose.” (IANS)

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Ruskin Bond Talks On Children Losing Their Innocence

The books they read sometimes maybe talk of love and love making in a bold manner which might border on crudity

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He's lived in this humble Ivy Cottage since 1981 and has penned numerous tales to traverse a 68-year-long journey exclusively spent in writing
Ruskin Bond is one of the most celebrated Indian writers across the globe. Wikimedia commons

A wordsmith who has always celebrated love, author Ruskin Bond says he cringes at times seeing the “crudity” with which women are written or spoken about now, also stressing that children today have lost their innocence.

Hot on the heels of young cricketers, who are treated as icons by children in the Indian households, Hardik Pandya and Lokesh Rahul bandying about sexist remarks in a television show and making all the wrong noises for that, Bond said he is aware that the general tone when talking about women has gone hoarse.

“Children are losing their innocence or have already lost it because of the climate they are exposed to,” Bond, 84, told IANS in an interview on the sidelines of the TATA Steel Kolkata Literary Meet.

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Children are losing their innocence or have already lost it because of the climate they are exposed to,   Pixabay

“The books they read sometimes maybe talk of love and love making in a bold manner which might border on crudity,” he said.

“You see 12-year olds watching hard porn on the streets and that was unthinkable during our time. We did not have easy access to so many things during our day.

“So I think too much exposure to a lot of things early on and not seeing or reading the right kinds of things has lead to this,” said the creator of “The Room on the Roof” (1956), “Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra” (1992), “The Blue Umbrella” (1974) and “A Flight of Pigeons” (2003).

Bond also chose to speak specifically on the Pandya-Rahul issue, underlining that they should think twice before going to such talk shows and that they should be given a second chance.

“I think they did make a mistake and such talk shows should be avoided as I feel it is also responsible for the way they behaved. They got carried away. Anyway, I read what all is going on and I feel we should not be too hard on them.”

stories with realistic characters
Children increasingly identify with stories having human characters. Pixabay

Bond, whose supernatural stories have been made into a web series, said it is a way to stay relevant in today’s times, adding that ghosts are not out to scare or harm people all the time and it’s a “safe fear” that people like to indulge in.

“You can think of it that way (web series helps in staying relevant). It might help because in any case, those people, people who read, young people, many of them do enjoy reading ghost stories and tales of the supernatural as I did when I was a boy.

Also Read: Proud Of Spreading Chills And Thrills Among Children: ‘Goosebumps’ Author R.L. Stine

“And, of course, it’s only a part of my writing output, but I enjoy doing the ghost story or spooky story and particularly when I run out of other ideas because I can cook them up quite easily.

“Especially your hill stations are reputed to be full of them,” said Bond who lives in Landour, Mussoorie, with his adopted family.

The first episode of “Parchayee: Ghost Stories by Ruskin Bond” premiered earlier this month and the subsequent parts will unfold till June. (IANS)