This leaf, so complete in itself,
Is only part of the tree.
And this tree, so complete in itself,
Is only part of the forest.
And the forest runs down from the hill to the sea,
And the sea, so complete in itself,
Rests like a raindrop
In the hand of God.
– Ruskin Bond
Remembering one’s childhood and their school days with the memories of recalling that English Lecture where the teacher used to come and ask to open our books and recite the poem called “Raindrop“. The simplicity of this poem and the ingenuity of imagination is what one can recall and feel as that was the essence, which was left after the poem recitation was done.
Such is the writer named Ruskin Bond. The name which is enough to summarize the childhood of the children through his simple yet sober contributions to the world of literature through his various literary works of the times and to the present. Creating utopia through his poems, short stories, novels, essays and various contributions.
Born in a military hospital to Edith Clarke and Aubrey Bond, in Kasauli, Punjab States Agency, British India, Ruskin was brought up by his mother and stepfather, he spent his early days with his grandmother after his father’s death at Dehradun. His initial days of upbringing were in Jamnagar (Gujarat), and Shimla. His involvement in Literature grew during his school days back there in Bishop Cotton School in Shimla, from where he graduated and won many awards including the “Irwin Divinity Prize” and the “Hailey Literature Prize”, which inspired him to produce his very own first short story “Untouchable” at the age of 16.
His literary style is commendable. Something which is so ecstatic where you are far away from the complexities the best example for that is the poem which started this article, a simple eight lines poem which when ends, leaves it impression so powerful that lasts for long. Any literature lover can define the experience of reading Bond. It is an experience of unhindered reading with no diversions to the dictionary again and again.
Ruskin Bond has been awarded John Llewellyn Rhys Prize in 1957, Sahitya Academic Award in 1992, Padma Shri in 1999, Padma Bhushan in 2014. Since 1963, he has lived as a Freelance Writer in Mussoorie, a town in the Himalayan foothills in Uttarakhand and lives with his adoptive family in Landour, Mussoorie’s Ivy Cottage, which has been his house since 1980.
About what he likes the most about his life, he once said, “That I have been able to write for so long. I started at the age of 17 or 18 and I am still writing. If I were not a professional writer who was getting published I would still write.” In his essay, “On being an Indian”, he explains his Indian identity, “Race did not make me one. Religion did not make me one. But history did. And in the long run, it’s history that counts.”
Happy Birthday to Ruskin Bond, the Creator of the Childhood Utopia!