I still have a long way to go: Ruskin Bond
New Delhi: Ruskin Bond, one of the best known English writers in India, once said that `pen, in honest and gifted hands, is mightier than the grave`.
The author, now 77, lives by this philosophy and says he has many more stories to tell.
"By and large I have had a fulfilling life. I am a writer without regrets. But I would say that there is a long way to go. I want to write many more books," Ruskin told reporters.
"Right now I am reading a lot, mostly detective stories like Agatha Chritie. I am doing reasonably well. Although, I get tired easily and can only write two or three pages in a day now," the author said.
A lifelong lover of India, the British origin author has been honoured with a Padma Shri as well as the Sahitya Akademi award for his contribution to children`s literature in India.
"When I started out, I wrote for everyone. I didn`t have children in mind. In my 40s, I started writing specifically for the younger audience. As I started growing old I started writing more for kids. That`s how it all started," he said.
In course of a writing career spanning forty years, Ruskin has written over three hundred short stories, essays, novels, and books for children. He has also edited two anthologies.
And the author never seems to be short of work, especially because of his young fans.
"Yes, I am still busy. People like to keep me busy. I interact with young people because their response is sincere. If they don`t like something about my writings, they will say it was boring and if they liked it they will praise it. I get an honest response from them," Ruskin said.
For a writer, the critical acclaim of his book is often as important as making it a best seller. But not for Ruskin, who maintains that his readers are and have always been his greatest critics.
"Reaction to work is important to every writer, but literary criticisms in magazines are very remote and impersonal. When it comes from a reader directly, it is more personal. It means more to me because there is a connect."
When asked how he copes with criticism, the writer said, "I don`t really take it to heart. Not really. May be for half an hour I feel like strangling the person but later on I don`t really bother much. I forget about it. It has never been a factor for me."
His stories have also been adapted on the silver screen. In 1978, Shyam Benegal made `Junoon`, which was based on Ruskin`s historical novella `A Flight of Pigeons` (about an episode during the Indian Rebellion of 1857). The film was produced by Shashi Kapoor.
Ruskin also made his maiden foray on the big screen with a cameo in Vishal Bhardwaj`s film `7 Khoon Maaf`, based on his short story `Susanna`s Seven Husbands`. He had earlier collaborated with Bhardwaj in the `The Blue Umbrella`.
Another novel named `The Room on the Roof` has been adapted in to a BBC-produced TV series.
"I grew up on films. When I was a boy, there were films that were based on novels of Dickens, Bronte’s, Austen—these films were very well made. I do have certain reservations about my work being adapted but I have been lucky to have good directors adapt my stories into films," Ruskin said.
"But I don`t get down to write with specifically films in mind. That is something that will not happen," he added.
Mussoorie has been his home since 1964, and Ruskin lives a quite, happy life there with his adopted family.