Ruskin Bond is one of the biggest names when it comes to the world of Indian storytelling. He is perhaps the most popular residents of Mussoorie, and has been in the town since the year 1963. When I visited Mussoorie for the first time, when I looked at the misty valleys and the lush green trees, I felt like I am walking through a chapter in one of his books. I remember when I first set foot on Mussoorie, I just couldn’t stop looking around and relating every bit of his writing to the life in Mussoorie. This was around the time I started hearing tales on how easy it is to meet Ruskin Bond! Keep reading to find out about the time I met him, and how you can meet him too!
My introduction to Ruskin Bond was with some book I read while I was young, in Kanpur. However, I truly began appreciating his writing when I read ‘Night Train to Deoli’ as a part of my high school curriculum. This story changed my life forever, as I was now on a constant lookout for more and more Ruskin Bond books. I first saw Mr. Bond when I moved to Delhi, and he was present at the book fair. However, little did I know, that I was going to meet Ruskin Bond, more than once, in the next 12 months.
I met him on his birthday in 2016, during the birthday celebrations at the Cambridge Book Depot in Mussoorie. This was perhaps the most satisfying moment I’ve had all year. Interesting thing happened when I finally got to meet Ruskin Bond –
Over the years, I had heard this one story that he used to tell people time and again. There have been kids who meet him, but have no idea who he is, and one of them, in his innocence, asked him to sign a copy of Huckleberry Finn, mistaking him to be Mark Twain. Mr. Bond then proceeded to sign his book as Mark Twain. I asked him when I met him, that could he sign my book as Mark Twain too, to which he laughed, and happily obliged. Here’s my copy of a book autographed by Ruskin Bond as Mark Twain:
How to Meet Ruskin Bond in Mussoorie:
One of the most popular questions that I get asked time and again – how to meet Ruskin Bond in Mussoorie. The answer to this is quite simple. Go to the Cambridge Book Store, which is right opposite Kalsang restaurant, just before the Mall Road begins. It is here that you can get to meet Ruskin Bond, on every Saturday afternoon, around 3:00PM.
However, we do recommend you to go to the store/call them and confirm if he would be there. On most Saturday afternoons, he is present there, signing books and meeting fans. However, this is all under the condition that his health and the city’s weather remain good.
Even in his 80s, Ruskin Bond is one of the friendliest, most openly approachable writers in India. There are writers like Khushwant Singh (who I deeply admire), who used to hang a signboard in front of his door which read ‘do not ring the bell if you do not have an appointment’, and then there’s my other favourite, Ruskin Bond, who is one of the most approachable people in the Indian writers community. Based on many peoples’ accounts, as well as my personal experience, meeting him is as easy as ringing his doorbell.
In July this year, I dared to walk up the pink flight of stairs next to Doma’s Inn, and ring the bell of the Ivy Cottage. It was raining that weekend, and we were not able to meet Mr. Bond at the bookstore. However, as I rang the doorbell, the door was opened by none other than Mr. Bond himself! I got to spend 15 minutes with him at the Ivy Cottage! This is how approachable he is, and this is the answer to the question of how to meet Ruskin Bond. However as approachable and friendly as he is, I’d recommend not to disturb him at the privacy of his residence, even though he loves having people over.