When you are 21 and your first book (Nascent Wings) has just come out, the line between reality and dreams seem blurry. You hold that author’s proof in your hand, look at it and wonder if it is real. Meanwhile, fate is not done yet. It has more in store for you and hence you find yourself sipping coffee in a Barista in Dehradun with the man who drove you to Literature in the first place – Mr. Ruskin Bond.
Barista Lavazza Dehradun
I reached the cafe two hours before the designated time (well, obviously!). I was nervous, excited and in disbelief that I was going to meet Mr. Bond. The Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri winning writer who shaped our childhood with his beautiful stories. He reshaped Children’s Literature in India.
Fanciest Thoughts in Simplest Words
Sitting in the cafe holding on to my 15-year-old copy of “Rain in the Mountains”, I was going through these lines
“Yes, I’d love to have a garden of my own–spacious, and full of everything that is fragrant and flowering. But if I don’t succeed, never mind–I’ve still got the dream.”
Such simple words put together to convey something so remarkably beautiful. Isn’t that the beauty of Mr. Bond’s work he says the fanciest thoughts in the simplest words.
When He Arrived
There was a shift in the ambiance the minute his car arrived outside the cafe. Young fans like myself, with dreamy eyes filled with admiration stood up quietly looking outside. The air filled with his humble aura. He entered the cafe with a sweet smile on his radiant face wrinkled with time and experience. He was welcomed with a delicious looking big butterscotch cake.
An Interaction I Will Never Forget
I pulled myself together, went across the table and sat in front of him. He started talking with his ardent fans one by one as we all heard him. He shared about how he loved living in the hills and how Mother Nature was the biggest inspiration in his life. Someone asked if writing could be learnt or was it a gift people were born with. What he said made more sense than college to me –
“No, we don’t become writers in schools of creative writing. We become writers before we learn to write. The rest is simply learning how to put it all together.”
When he was done talking with the Press and other fans, my turn came. Penguin India was kind enough to give me my share of time with Mr. Bond.
Mr. Bond was patient and modest. I told him how his books were the friends that never left my side when I was growing up. I told him about my ambitions and aspirations. He told me to never give up and keep writing.
I asked him his favorite form of storytelling. He said he loved writing short stories and enjoyed essays the most. He explained to me about the importance of visualization in story writing. He said that a writer needs to build a storyboard in mind to be able to develop the minute details of a story.
“Do Not Seek Inspiration, It Will Come to You”
Out of all the things that Mr. Bond said, this one thing stuck with me forever. He said people, especially the creatives, generally get so desperate in the pursuit of their dreams that they start to seek inspiration from things they imagine would motivate them. He said that one must be honest to their craft and keep trying. The right inspiration will seek them out.
This made me curious and I asked that was desperation a bad thing? He said
“Desperation is not a bad thing. In fact, it is a necessity that eventually pushes you to keep going and take the last leap.”
In the end, I gifted him a copy of my book. He was generous enough to read a few poems then and there, and he told me that I could be what I seek one day. That moment has become my secret prize. Whenever, I feel low, I just visit that prized moment and get the push to go on. He readily signed my author’s copy and a few of his books that I had.
His words became my secret guardian. It was a beautiful day in Dehra – a day I will never forget and always cherish. Mr.Bond’s work is a gift for generations and he will continue to inspire millions in India and around the world. So, to all aspirants out there, remember what the man says –
“All Glory Comes From daring To Begin”