In an interview with The Indian Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta on NDTV 24x7’s Walk the Talk, author Ruskin Bond talks of writing, finding god in the hills, his uncle James Bond and kissing Priyanka Chopra.
Hello and welcome to Walk the Talk from Landour. Our guest this week is an eminent member of a creative community which has made this hill station its home. Ruskin Bond, welcome to Walk the Talk.
Welcome to Landour.
So hills and trains are the two threads that run through your stories.
Trains, you see, were in the early stories, because in the ’50s and early ’60s, I travelled quite a bit by train and spent a lot of time at railway stations. If you sit down on a railway platform for an hour or two, you’ll have a story.
I know it’s an unfair question to ask a writer. But can you describe the process of a story brewing in your mind?
It’s a fair question. Before I write a story, I really got to see it happening in my mind, almost like a film. And that helps me when I sit down to write it. And I then think of the right words, the right sentences, the dialogue. I don’t get a writer’s block, because I have already written it in my head. I’m a very visual writer.
Can you give me an example.
The Night Train at Deoli — a very early one. This train used to come from Delhi to Dehradun, and very early morning, it would pass through this tiny station which was called Deoli. In reality, it had another name. And I used to see a girl on the platform with a basket selling fruits and she was very attractive. I wove this little story into it of how I would deliberately make the journey sometimes just to see her. I always wanted to know her but never had the guts to get off the train and do anything about it. So, very often stories emerge from little incidents. Sometimes, they are partly autobiographical, but when I sit down to write them, they run away from me and become fiction.
You had an unusual life, an unusual childhood.
Well, a lonely one at times. My father died when I was eight or nine, and my parents were already separated. I did have to adjust quite a bit. But in a way, that made me turn to books,