RECOLLECTION [My Best Teacher RUSKIN BOND]


‘As a boy, reading was my religon. It helped me
to discover my soul. Later, writing
helped me to record its journey.’

‘As a boy, reading was my religon. It helped me
to discover my soul. Later, writing
helped me to record its journey.’

I finished my schooling in 1950 from Bishop Cotton  where I studied for eight years. That was my only formal education. There were a couple of very good teachers, but my pick is Whitmarsh Knight (Tubby). He got  his nickname because he was short and pleasantly plump, yet was a good sportsman.

He was my class teacher for three years. What is unusual is that thought he was not my housemaster, he took a lot of interest in me. A Cambridge University product, he used to teach English. He became my favourite because he was most  helpful and encouraging, specially to me. Most probably he realised I was interested in writing and also saw some talent. He made me the incharge of the school library, which meant that not only would I have the keys to the “den of books” put a place to my-self. In boarding schools privacy is at a premium. He even lend me books from his personal library.

Knight would invite me over to his house. He was married but he did not have any children, so maybe that is one of the reasons why he  would invite his talented students over to his house.

This scholar-teacher was also our football coach and because of him I got interested in sports and was made the custodian of the school  football team for three years. And had I not been a writer, I would have been a sportsman. But I think I made the right decision  because at the age of 71 I can still write, but I can’t play football.

A year after I graduated from Bishop Cotton, Knight left for West Indies. We were in touch for a couiple of years and he would write to me about the school he was teaching in Jamaica and about cricket there. He loved cricket. In between I wrote my first book The room at the roof. He read the book and said.”You could have done better.” After his retirement he left for England. Last time I met him was in 1995. He was 75 years old then. He came down to Mussoorie to meet me and we chatted for an hour or so. He was very happy at my success as a writer. He didn’t say anything in particular, but he complimented me on my personal library, a trait I picked up from him as a student. Even though he was strict, Knight was very popular. He had that special ability to take a personal interest in his students, and pick and nurture the strengths of his students. After school, I decided to write books instead of pursuing higher studies. Knig-ht respected my decision and encouraged me, which helped me immensely.

After school, I decided to write books instead of pursuing
higher studies.
Whitmarsh Knight respected my decision and encouraged me,  which helped me immensely-Ruskin Bond
– Ruskin Bond.

Ruskin Bond was born in Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh, in 1934, and grew up in Jamnagar (Gujrat), Dehradun, and Shimla. In course of a writing career spanning forty years, he has written over a hundred short stories, essays, novels, and more than thirty books of children. Three collections of short stories, The Night Train at Deoli, Time Stops At Shamli, and Our Trees Still Grow In Dehra have been published by Penguin India. he has also edited two anthologies, The Penguin Book Of Indian Ghost Stories, and The Penguin Book Of Indian Railway Stories. The Room On The Roof was his first novel, written when he was seventeen and it recieved the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial prize in 1957. Vagrants In The Valley was also written in his teens and picked up from where The Room On TheRoof leaves off. These two novellas were published in one volume by Penguin India in 1993 as was a much-acclaimed collection of his non-fiction writing, Rain In The Mountain, Delhi Is Not Far : The Best Of Ruskin Bond was published by Penguin India the following year.
To know Ruskin better, let us read this poem that he wrote :
RAINDROP
This leaf, so complete in itself,
Is only part of the tree.
And this tree, so complete in itself,
Is only part of the forest.
And the forest runs down from the hill to the sea,
And the sea, so complete in itself,
Rests like a raindrop
In the hand of God.
MILESTONES……..

*     May 19,1934-Born in Kasauli.
*     1950-Completed his schooling.
*     1951-Went to England. Took up odd jobs and          started writing.
*     1953-Published his first novel The room at the         roof.
*     1955-Returned to India.
*     1992-Received the Sahitya Akademi Award for         English      writing in India.
*     Over 40 years dedicated to writing.

Courtesy Pushkin Passey

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s