Himachal: Students meet their much-loved author Ruskin Bond

Himachal: Students meet their  much-loved author Ruskin Bond

Shimla: For young students of British era popular boarding school, Bishop Cotton School (BCS), Shimla meeting their grand old senior and much-loved children’s author Ruskin Bond as he approaches his 89th birthday on May 19 in Mussoorie was a delightful moment and also a dream come true.

Born at Kasauli in Ruskin Bond in 1934, an eminent contemporary Indian writer of British descent has to his credit some of the inspiring children’s books. He is also the winner of the Sahitya Akademi Award as an honour for his work of literature.

Ruskin Bond has written fondly of his times when he was a student at the BCS for eight years from 1943-1950.

A representative from the Junior, Middle and Senior sections of the school travelled to Ruskin Bond’s home town to meet the famous author and film an interview with him.

Ruskin has written many famous children’s books about his time in the British boarding school along with his friends who were from all over the world, from Pakistan, German, Britain, Thailand and from all over India.

Interacting with students the old Cottonian Ruskin Bond said: ”I owe a lot to BCS, this is where I started my love of books and reading in the library and where I wrote my first short story. BCS grooms a boy with the routines to be polite and have manners. This has got me and many other Cottonians far in life, it is a secret weapon.”

As a traditional heritage school, many of the old routines have been kept alive since its foundation in 1859, 165 years ago. The students still get up early for physical training (PT) every day and have sports like shooting, boxing and swimming which Ruskin has written many books about.

His time at school was set during an especially historical era, during the political turbulence of the 1940s, during the ‘Quit India’ movement. Seniors would patrol the dorms with rifles to protect students due to the unrest and riots at the time in Shimla (then Simla).

He went on to become the Ibbetson House Captain and his books are filled with charming stories from his school days and the funny characters who worked at BCS. One teacher kept a pigeon in the classroom, a feisty teacher who used to cane the boys for their misdemeanours.

The school boys were very grateful to meet him and hear the stories first-hand and give him his birthday presents for his upcoming birthday. The whole session has been recorded and will be played to the rest of the school at the weekend.

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