I want to write a good detective novel: Ruskin Bond


Ever since he came out with his first book at the age of 17, Ruskin Bond has uncountable works to his name, be it short stories, novels, poems and essays and the octogenarian author now wishes to try his hand at something he hasn't done till now a detective novel.

Bond says he read a lot of Agatha Christie and detective stories of other writers since the age of 10. "Occasionally I have written about stories related to crime but I have never attempted a traditional detective story. So I want to write a true detective story," he told PTI in an interview.

Bond has written a number of novellas, essays, poems and children's books. He has also written over 500 short stories and articles that have appeared in magazines and anthologies.

On his 84th birthday on May 19, he came out with his latest book "Ranji and the Music Maker". Published by Penguin Random House imprint Puffin India, the book is about young Ranji who once in the middle of his languid holiday, stumbles upon assorted musical instruments in the storeroom was first a shrill flute, then a blaring little trumpet and, finally, a too-big drum that may have once sounded a battle march.

Ranji stages impromptu concerts down the road, not sparing his neighbours, the cats around his porch, or the peace-loving inhabitants of the zoo. "The book was set off, inspired you might say, by the photograph of a small boy playing his flute for a kitten sent to me by a reader in Sri Lanka. I imagined the little boy as Ranji," says Bond.

On his writing journey, Bond says, "When I ventured into writing at the age of 17, I wanted to be a good and successful writer. I just wanted to write good stuff - poems, prose, stories, essays, everything." Reading is also very important for Bond. "My first book was a big one of nursery rhymes." As a boy he wanted to emulate his favourite authors and be one of them himself.

On children's books of today, he says he is happy that more and more publishers are now coming out with books for kids. "Now you have books for different ages. There are good illustrators too," he says.

On graphic novels, he says he doesn't get absorbed into them. "I liked the old comic books, especially the funny ones like Popeye and Beetle Bailey." Bond also says he is a good typist but he stopped using the typewriter 10 years ago as he had some stiffness in his hand.

"My publishers now have the task to type my manuscripts and send me the printouts. I still prefer a pen, a decent and simple ballpoint pen," he says.

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.

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