Do you know where does noted author Ruskin Bond get his story ideas from? He just lies down on the bed and ideas flow, whether he is awake or sleep catches on, writes Nikhil Agarwal. (#KolkataLiteraryMeet, #RuskinBond, #Siliconeer, @Siliconeer, #EnglishLiterature, #NikhilAgarwal)
“I get my best ideas when I am lying on the bed awake or sleeping. It lets my imagination flow. I have often worked out stories while lying down, but remaining awake. And in sleep, even the dreams can set off a story,” Bond told PTI in an interview.
It was one such dream, a nightmare rather, that helped him build the plot of his latest book ‘Rusty and the Magic Mountain.’
One night, the celebrated author, who was here to participate in the just-concluded Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet, dreamt of encountering a tiger while reading a book on the veranda of a forest bungalow.
Sharing the story, Bond whose stories are part of school textbooks, said that he kept running around closing all doors and windows, but the tiger finally crashed the door and came inside.
“After that I woke up. Just on time,” the 81-year-old said with a laugh.
Giving it a twist, he kept this dream in the book just like what he did with many others.
Besides being bizarre sometimes, the biggest problem with dreams is that we forget most of them, said Bond who has written works like ‘Room on the Roof,’ ‘The Blue Umbrella,’ ‘Funny Side Up,’ ‘Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra’ and ‘A Flight of Pigeons.’
“I therefore write it down. We only remember the waking dream or the last one we had. It often breaks off in the middle or someone wakes you up just when you are beginning to have a nice dream,” he said.
All the love stories, including ‘The Night Train at Deoli’ he has written, are too from the dreams or when he was lying down.
“That’s why they are more convincing because in the dream you can perhaps have a more passionate and torrid love affair than you would do in real life,” Bond explains.
However, a recurring nightmare has been troubling the author for a long time, which he says may be due to a feeling of “insecurity” as a writer.
“I dream that I am staying in a five-star hotel as asked by a company. The days keep on passing and the bill keeps mounting, but nobody turns up to pay. I am staying there for almost a month and they keep asking me how long will I stay.
But, I wake up before the bill is presented,” he says.
Having conferred with prestigious awards like the Padma Bhushan and Sahitya Akademi award, Bond has written over 500 short stories, essays and novels.
A life-long bachelor, he now lives with his adopted family in Landour near the famous hill station of Mussoorie.
Before he started having problems with his knee two years ago, he was regularly spotted going on long walks and even treks.
On whether activities like walking, sipping coffee or having a puff of cigarette, he lets his creative juices flow and says it may be just a habit of some people.
“Certain things set off certain people in different ways,” he signs off.