I want to be Ruskin Bond
It does sound terribly funny when I say it, I can’t even help laughing at myself. But despite the statement sounding utterly ridiculous, to whom I said it to and to myself, I knew in my heart I meant it.
He writes about places I have never been to and probably never will. About people I long to meet and of a time I can only imagine.
When I write, I write about similar things- memories associated with old photographs, trees I have climbed, places I have been. But the trees have been limited to the few in my own backyard and the smallest town I have been too is Jodhpur which can hardly be classified as ‘small’ anymore. And the people I have known, worth writing about have been terribly long ago… . You see, living in a apartment in new Delhi for the past 6 years where the only view form my window is of a concrete jungle, no trees to climb and meeting people…who leave you a little colder everyday makes me terribly envious of him.
I made this statement while trying to explain to someone why I had decided what to do with my life, I know , to be honest, I didn’t know myself at that time to be sure of what I was saying. I still don’t. But I can never admit that in front of someone, at least not easily. I always have been overtly obstinate.
I was explaining why I want to travel, why I want to work with and meet people and visit places worth visiting, why I love Ruskin Bonds books and why I wasn’t ready to let go of my childhood just yet and I was being laughed at and being told to be practical. That seems to be everybody’s reaction when I tell them of my dreams. That’s just how it – is in a big city and at a time like this, dreaming of something other then big money and big jobs is something drastically different. Dreaming itself is daring.
It was in my frustration at him being unable to understand that this statement unthinkingly burst out of me, at that particular time, it did seem very appropriate.
It just made him laugh louder.
Its not that there is nothing more in this world left in terms of people, places, incidents to write about, but there are fewer and harder to find then before. Most stories have lost their value, the places have lost their beauty and the people have learnt to keep silent, just like most of us have.
I have visited some of the places I have read about in Ruskin Bond’s books and rather then the quite little town with winding roads he writes about and has lived in there are noisy, crowded city’s with roads lined with automobiles.
Am I growing up in the wrong time? If and when I travel will the tiny little glimmer in my heart that yearns to see the world he did, not be stroked and die out?
Will time not stop at Shamili for me?
He’d written once about 1986 and it being a bad time for him and I wonder if he’d known then that in 24 years there would be a girl who would be in awe of his stories because they seemed to have been written about her childhood. Who would grow up reading his stories while sitting on tree tops and when she was 17 and lived in Delhi in an apartment with no more trees left to climb use his books to escape into quite towns to live through those stories..that there was a girl who didn’t want to be a doctor or an engineer when someone asked her, she wanted to be him. Would it have made him feel better?
People can laugh all they want. But as long as I don’t grow up to fast and to soon and I stay the dreamer that I was when I was seven and seventeen, a little part of me will always remember – “I want to be Ruskin Bond”
And hopefully someday, someone, will want to be me.