He starts with a pause. There is a window that lives on the wall of his writing room. He looks out often to take in the mist enveloped mountains of Garhwal embracing Landour.
For decades, this setting has remained unchanged for writer Ruskin Bond, who recently celebrated his 86th birthday. Of course, he does miss the time when the many buildings did not eclipse his view. The yellow-painted room, where he spends most of his time is about his desk -- filled with sheets of white paper and a bed which also doubles up as his writing chair.
The pause breaks with him talking about how the first floor of his house is occupied by ghosts from the era in-between the two World Wars. "But they are quite harmless," he smiles, almost reassuringly. For someone who has been a writer for more than half a century now, working across genres -- fiction, short stories, non-fiction, romance and books for children, the fact that he is still writing is something he looks at with "gratitude". "I am extremely happy that I found the time and made the opportunity to write so much. I can say without hesitation that it has given me absolute happiness," he tells IANS.
Not really fanatical about penning down a set number of words each day, this Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan recipient, on whose works several films like 'Junoon', 'The Blue Umbrella' and '7 Khoon Maaf' have been made says that there is always something to write everyday -- "In short, I really don't run out of ideas or subjects."
Talk to him about what is keeping him busy nowadays, and he asserts, "Currently, I am working on a novella, a memoir and a short school story."
Will several novels, non-fiction and anthologies to his credit including 'Koki's Song' and 'These are a Few of My Favourite Things' (Harper Collins), Bond, who can be seen signing autographs and posing with fans at the Cambridge Book Shop in Mussoorie once a week stresses that he shares a unique connection with children. "During younger days , I wrote a lot of stories from my own childhood. Now, I find other lives just as interesting."
Pleased that over the years, major Indian publishers have started giving importance to children's literature, he adds, "Of course, it would be wonderful if we witnessed even more books for children," says the writer who wrote his first short-story at the age of sixteen.