December 7, 2006
Jolly Grant, Dehra (India)
On a day when I failed to make it to the ‘hardly-known’ Pari Tibba (the infamous burnt/haunted hill), the day ended with a pleasant meeting with one of my all-time favorite authors, Ruskin Bond.
On our way to Lal Tibba, we saw Ruskin standing on the narrow lane outside his Ivy Cottage in Landour area. He greeted us with a heart-warming smile and invited us (me and my father) upstairs. My father was very much surprised by how humble such a famous person can be. We sat and talked for a while in his sitting room. As expected it was full of books, old photographs, and the aroma that is ever present in his stories.
Although my main purpose of visiting Mussoorie was to meet Ruskin, I almost would have missed by him if his lunch company hadn’t been late. He was enjoying the Himalayan peaks from the narrow road when we drove up and stopped by the roadside. He said that someone was supposed to pick him up for lunch, but was running late. And lo! Before I could say another word, he invited us to come up for a while to have a chat. I told him that I have been reading his stories for almost 15 years and how I’d always wanted to meet the person whose pen could churn out words so simple, yet heartfelt.
We sat and chatted for a while before a magazine called him from Bombay, wanting to know his 5 favorite Authors. At the end, I asked him to recite a poem and autograph his book, “The Rupa Book of Ruskin Bond’s Himalayan Tales”. I knew that he loved the old American Opera music of Eddy Nelson and Jeanette McDonald, so I had taken their music collection with me from the States, which I presented to him.
To view the photos from my visit, click here
Here is his address: http://www.flickr.com/photos/shayargautam/341188051/in/set-72157601720375012.