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Up above the hills, where a forest of nodding flowers and an endless valley of Himalayan mountains paint the sky, lives one of India’s most-loved writers — Ruskin Bond.
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. And even as he turns 84, he shows no signs of slowing down. “In fact, I think I am writing more now,” he revealed in an exclusive interview to IANS at his residence ahead of his 84th birthday.
Bond’s vivid tales from the Ivy Cottage, and his descriptions of the view from the window at the foot of his bed, can often be deceiving for what one imagines to be some sort of a mansion of a celebrated writer is actually a humble first-floor flat of “an ordinary man”.
“I’ve never cared for riches; what will I do with them?” he asks.
And yet, when Rusty, as his readers lovingly call him, looks back at his writerly life, memories of several consecutive years when his love for writing plunged him into financial depths come flashing by. There were very few resources and opportunities for writers when he set out with his literary career. Multinational publishers were yet to find a footing in India and so, as his longtime friend and publisher David Davidar puts it, “our would be man of letters set sail for England”.
In England, he found a home for “The Room on the Roof,” his very first novel that won him the prestigious John Llewellyn Rhys Prize in 1957 at the mere age of 23. But contrary to the prevailing notion, Bond contended, that his time in England was not very fruitful.
” ‘The Room on the Roof’ was what I carried with myself from India. I wrote very less there; or even in Delhi, there was no writing at all,” he said. And thus from the royalty advance that he was paid for his first novel, he sailed back to India. Stopping by in Karachi, he went looking for the names and contacts of editors whom he could “bombard” with his stories and articles. The then young man wanted to make a living by freelancing his writings.
The Illustrated Weekly of India and The Statesman were the main sources of income for Bond during the 1950s to the 1970s and even the 1980s, paying about Rs 35-Rs 50 per write-up. He constantly churned out stories and articles because they were his “bread and butter”. And when things went really bad, he even did some odd jobs.
Things changed for the struggling writer when publishing houses began to find a footing in India.
Penguin India came in 1985 — and the publishing space would change forever. It started publishing in 1987 with only six books. Five years later, in 1992, HarperCollins arrived and other major publishing houses followed. Even though Rupa was founded way back in 1936, its publishing gained a lot more momentum after their arrival. So did the rise of other home-grown publishers.
While the search for authentic stories from India was just beginning, here was Bond, with his tonnes and tonnes of stories and articles, ready to be compiled in anthologies and collections. The freelancer soon became an adored figure — loved and revered by generations of readers.
“Of course I want the royalty checks, but my desires are very simple. I did not have a very happy childhood so I want to ensure that my grandchildren have a secured life, so should Rakesh and Bina (his adopted family),” he noted.
For the last 37 years, he has lived on the top floor of “this windswept, somewhat shaky house on the edge of a spur” in Landour. His bedroom window (in picture) opens “on to the sky, clouds, the Doon valley and the Suswa river — silver in the setting sun — and range upon range of mountains striding away into the distance”. But thousands of others living nearby too have a similar view, so what is it that strikes a chord with Bond and perhaps not so much with others?
A child at heart, Bond leads this visiting IANS correspondent to the legendary window and says that “nobody, nobody has this view”. At night, “the sky is tremendous with stars”, the sparrows come at noon “to squabble on the windowsill” and clouds are “passers-by” during the day. “Here I sit,” he says, pointing to a small bed, tucked in the far end corner of the room, “and write”.
There are occasional visitors, trekking all the way from Mussoorie to see his house. “Yesterday, someone was clicking pictures of my staircase and I thought this is the worst staircase in all of Mussoorie, why would someone want its pictures? Then he saw me looking out of the window and the camera immediately turned towards me, I quietly disappeared,” he laughed.
The postman comes four to five times a week, bringing letters and gifts from readers. And in these calm and serene, undisturbed and solitary surroundings, Bond sets his pen to paper — everyday without fail.
Jammu and Journey: Return to Jammu- A Novel About a Journey
A chronicler of his life, almost everything that Bond has written comes from his own experiences. He maintained that he is writing more than ever before because, apart from his memory growing stronger with age, he has a much broader and larger range of people and experiences to write about. In his latest book “Stumbling Through Life” (Rupa), releasing on his birthday, he weaves together a selection of his essays and writings to bring to the reader the rich tapestry of his life, peppered as it is with delightful eccentricities and a geniality rarely found.
“If some day I am to be remembered at all, it should be for the stories and tales I have written. I am a very simple man, always believed in the beauty of small things, I am grateful to the readers for loving me so much. My stories belong to them as much as they belong to me,” he says, his voice soft and emotional.
Happy birthday, Rusty! (IANS)
Amitabh Bachchan is adored by the public for his unforgettable on-screen performances as well as his magnetic demeanour. Not only do fans love Amitabh Bachchan's outstanding performance, but the actor's heartwarming words are also highly regarded. A much moved Amitabh Bachchan, during his speech to the crowd of over 80,000 people at the Reliance Industries' annual event, said that the legacy left by Dhirubhai has had a positive impact on millions of people's lives worldwide.
When Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan became bankrupt in the late 1990s, Dhirubhai Ambani stepped forward to give him financial assistance. In his speech, Bachchan remembered that Dhirubhai had sent Anil Ambani to offer him financial assistance during the crisis, which he had respectfully declined. Lenders began knocking on his door, losses mounted, and his bank account dwindled to nothing. He said, "Dhirubhai's money might have gotten me out of the problem quickly. However, I respectfully declined his offer and gradually began to find work again, which let me pay off my debt."
Amitabh Bachchan is adored by the public for his unforgettable on-screen performances as well as his magnetic demeanour. | Flickr
Later, after Bachchan had recovered from the bankruptcy, one day he was invited to an event at Dhirubhai's residence; Bachchan added, "Dhirubhai was standing and having a chat with his industrialist friends when he saw me there, he called me, firstly I felt shy even to present myself in front of such big industrialists but then, I went there, and Dhirubhai declared in front of all of them that 'This young man had fallen but managed to get back up on his own, I have a lot of respect for him because of that.' Those words of his were worth much more to me than any amount of money that he could have offered me."
It was the "Reliance Family Day" event and was attended by members of the Ambani family from all generations. The event commemorated the company's 40-year journey since its inception. It also celebrated the 85th birthday of the late Dhirubhai Ambani, RILs (Reliance Industries Limited) founder.
Keywords: Bollywood, Reliance, Amitabh Bachchan, Dhirubhai Ambani, event
In comparison to adults, children are prone to getting traumatized by troubling events easily, and this makes it important for parents to help their children when the times are tough. It could be a brutal accident, an unprecedented pandemic, a violent crime, or other disasters but with the right parental support, children have a higher chance of coming out stronger from an awful situation.
Anuja Kapur, Psychologist shares few tips wherein you can assist your child when tough times comes calling:
Every child responds differently to disturbing events: What children feel about a current disaster in their life and how they react to it can come and go in waves. Children can act moody and withdrawn at times, struck with sorrow and fear at other times. There's no absolute "right" or "wrong" way to feel after a traumatic event so make sure not to dictate what your child or how your child should feel and react to the event.
Children can act moody and withdrawn at times, struck with sorrow and fear at other times. | Photo by Kat J on Unsplash
Encourage your child to be transparent: Just make sure you let your child know that whatever feelings they're experiencing is normal. The unpleasantness will pass if your child opens up about it and that the phase is temporary. While many teens may be reluctant to talk about their feelings with a parent, encourage them to confide in another trusted adult such as a family friend, relative, or a counselor and teacher. It's important to talkeeven if it's not with you.
Just make sure you let your child know that whatever feelings they're experiencing is normal. | Photo by Sebastián León Prado on Unsplash
Deter your child from reliving the disturbing event: Dwelling over, watching the footage, or imagining the event can be overwhelmingly stressful for children and this stress can even block their nervous system. However, to negate such things from happening encourage activities that keep your child's mind occupied so they're not obsessive about the event. You could encourage your children to read, play games together, or simply watch an uplifting movie.
Dwelling over, watching the footage, or imagining the event can be overwhelmingly stressful for children and this stress can even block their nervous system. | Photo by Юлія Дубина on Unsplash
Cocoon your child with warmth: In order to reassure your child that they are safe with you and feel secure, that the worst is over your physical affection is important in making them feel safe again. Teens may try to be tough through it and avoid being held, but they still need the proximity.
In order to reassure your child that they are safe with you and feel secure, that the worst is over your physical affection is important in making them feel safe again. | Photo by adrianna geo on Unsplash
Maintain routines. Establishing a predictable structure and schedule for your child's life can help to make the world seem more stable again. Try to maintain regular times for meals, homework, and family activities. Make sure your child accommodates time and space for rest, play, and fun. Keeping up with a schedule can help countercheck the obnoxious feeling of stress and worry in children about the future being dark, hopeless, and unpredictable.
Try to maintain regular times for meals, homework, and family activities. | Photo by Paico Oficial on Unsplash
Acknowledge and validate your child's concerns. The disastrous events in life may give place to unrelated fright and concerns in your child. However, understanding and accepting your child's present state is a comfort for the child. If at any point the child blames himself for the event make sure to make it clear and crisp the event was not their fault, you love them, and it's okay for them to feel upset, angry, or scared but not guilty.
Understanding and accepting your child's present state is a comfort for the child Photo by Jeremiah Lawrence on Unsplash
Irrespective of the age of your child, it is vital for parents to offer that extra support and assistance following an unsettling event. The traumatic event may bring up unrelated fears and issues in your child. However, by accepting their thoughts and replacing their fear with your love and direction, the ominous feelings will start to fade away. Eventually, the child will be able to return to a normal and healthy life. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Kids, Help, stress, cope, routine, warmth, understanding, encourage, psychology, children
The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union (EU), has announced plans for smartphone and other electronics manufacturers to fit a common USB-C charging port on their devices in an effort to reduce waste. In addition to phones, the rules will apply to other devices like tablets, headphones, portable speakers, videogame consoles, and cameras, reports The Verge. The decision will have a huge impact on Apple, as the company still uses its own Lightning connector to charge iPhones. The proposals only cover devices using wired, not wireless and a USB-C port is only mandatory for devices that charge using a cable.
"Chargers power all our most essential electronic devices | Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash
"Chargers power all our most essential electronic devices. With more and more devices, more and more chargers are sold that are not interchangeable or not necessary. We are putting an end to that," the report quoted EU commissioner Thierry Breton as saying.
The Commission also wants to unbundle the sale of chargers from the sale of electronic devices, which it says will improve the consumers' convenience. "With our proposal, European consumers will be able to use a single charger for all their portable electronics - an important step to increase convenience and reduce waste." In addition, the Commission will require manufacturers to provide relevant information about charging performance. (IANS/MBI)
Keywords: Electronic Devices, Chargers, Cable, smartphone, Adapters, Charging Cord