Ruskin Bond Mistaken for Foreigner and Charged Extra at Konark Sun Temple

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Ruskin Bond Turns 90: Reflects on Life, Writing, and a Memorable Visit to Konark Sun Temple

Celebrated author Ruskin Bond, who turned 90 on Sunday, continues to enchant readers with his timeless stories. Born to British parents and raised in India, Bond’s life has been a rich tapestry of experiences, humorously reflected in his milestone interview.

Ruskin Bond, the beloved storyteller of India, marked his 90th birthday with characteristic wit. “Old writers never die, they simply go out of print,” he quipped, acknowledging the ephemeral nature of literary fame. With over 500 titles to his name, including short stories, essays, and novellas, Bond’s legacy is far from fading.

Spending his days at Ivy Cottage in Landour, Bond enjoys the simple pleasures of life. Drives on the serpentine Landour-Mussoorie route, frothy strawberry milkshakes, and shelves filled with books are among his favorite things. Despite high blood pressure and dwindling eyesight, his enthusiasm remains undimmed.

Reflecting on his journey, Bond revealed he became a writer almost by accident. His initial ambitions were to become an actor or a tap dancer, both of which he humorously admitted to failing at. “I was a great bookworm. I grew up on books. Then I thought this is the best thing to do. Nothing better than a book, then why not write a few,” he said.

Even at 90, Bond remains an avid reader. “I am a newspaper addict. In fact, I get irritated when I don’t get my newspaper early in the day. I read four newspapers a day. Books, I finish two-three of them a week easily,” he shared, listing biographies, history, crime thrillers, and classics among his interests.

Bond also recalled a humorous incident during a visit to Odisha’s Konark Sun Temple. Mistaken for a foreigner, he was charged extra for entry. “I said ‘I am not a foreigner, I am an Indian’, but then to avoid an argument I paid extra,” he laughed. The irony was compounded when a sardar ji with a British passport entered without extra charge.

Bond’s life in Landour is filled with contentment and simple joys. He indulges in his favorite activities, from enjoying strawberry milkshakes to short drives with his grandchildren. Though he has given up his favorite tipple vodka on his doctor’s advice, he still enjoys “chota, chota whiskey pegs.”

With numerous awards, including the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan, Bond’s contribution to literature is significant. Despite spending most of his life in India, he humorously notes that some still mistake him for a foreigner. Yet, his identity as an Indian is unwavering.

Sources By Agencies

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