His name is Bond. Ruskin Bond.
Setting aside the unfortunate yet irresistible cliche with which I've opened the post, I am both curious and concerned about the effect that Ruskin Bond has had on me in recent months.
Having lived in Dehradun for about 4yrs. now, I've had more than my share of people asking me, "So, you met Ruskin Bond?" "Oh! Dehradun! how lovely. All the writers live there right? Like Ruskin Bond?". Firstly, I have met him. Just not in Dehradun. It was at the Delhi airport. Second, he doesn't live in Dehradun, he lives in Landour, which is roughly 6km north of Mussoorie, and Mussoorie happens to be 34km north of Dehradun.
Now, with that geographical inaccuracy corrected, I can move on with what I have to say: I have read only one short-story written by Ruskin Bond. Just the one (courtesy of @khepiari ). And he annoys me. He annoys me because he makes it look easy, so easy in fact that I sometimes think he writes books to stave-off boredom, and that chafes at me as an aspiring writer who can barely punch out 200 words. He also annoys me because he plucks the strings of the heart that I prefer to not pluck (or have plucked). The image above is the perfect example of the kind of places his words take me. Places in my mind that are untouched by time and unpolluted by emotional mucus. Places I am afraid to visit, lest I spoil them somehow. And that is to me perhaps his greatest skill, and his most annoying trait.
To me, he will always be the Old Man of the Mountains. A character archetype of Wisdom used in fantasy novels. And to paraphrase Gandalf the Grey, "His wisdom arrives not early or late, but precisely when it's meant to." So, for now, I'll simply love to hate him, or maybe hate to love him. Until the day I don't. And perhaps then, I'll be ready to receive his wisdom.
Many happy returns of the day Mr. Bond.
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