New Delhi: Many children had their granny as their first storyteller but author Ruskin Bond says neither of his grandmothers told him any tale while he was a kid.
As a boy, the author was very fond of reading and wanted to emulate his favourite authors and be one of them himself. He read everything he could lay his hands on - from Charles Dickens, PG Wodehouse, Somerset Maugham to Graham Greene.
"I read everything from detective stories to the classics. It all made a difference. The books, the authors you read in the formative years are the ones that have the most impact," says Bond, who turned 84 on May 19.
The prolific writer says the love of language and literature has kept him going. And he is also inspired by nature and the streams, hills and trees.
"Many people had their grandmothers to tell them stories but nobody told me any. I started reading early and thus I read my own stories," he says.
"One of my grandmothers was a very silent woman, the other one used to scold me a lot. So I don't recall them telling me any story," Bond told PTI in an interview.
Asked if he would have taken any other profession if not writing, he says, "Even before I finished school, I wanted to be a writer. So any other ambition at that time would have centred around being a football player or a tap dancer that I wouldn't be doing anyway. So I think I probably made the right choice."
On whether he fears that he might run out of ideas, the writer says, "The older you get the more you have to look back upon. Life stretches behind you. So you don't really run out of people, you might run out of places in a way. So you have more to write about as you grow older."
Bond was born in Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh, and grew up in Jamnagar, Dehradun, New Delhi and Shimla. As a young man, he spent four years in the Channel Islands and London. He returned to India in 1955. He now lives in Landour, Mussoorie, with his adopted family.
At the age of eight, Bond escaped his jail-like boarding school in the hills and went on to live with his father in Delhi. His time in the capital is filled with books, visits to the cinema, music, and walks and conversations with his father - a dream life for a curious and wildly imaginative boy, which turns tragic all too soon.
"When I ventured into writing at the age of 17, I just wanted to be a good and successful writer," he says.
His first novel "The Room on the Roof", written when he was 17, received the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize in 1957. Since then, Bond has written a number of novellas, essays, poems and children's books.
Bond has also written over 500 short stories and articles that have appeared in magazines and anthologies. He received the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1993, the Padma Shri in 1999 and the Padma Bhushan in 2014.