Meeting Ruskin Bond

Travel / Thursday, March 23rd, 2023

“Happiness is a mysterious thing, to be found somewhere between too little and too much.” – Ruskin Bond

If you are a book lover, you can’t really visit Mussoorie without realizing that this is Ruskin Bond territory.

You see it in the winding roads and rolling hills. You hear it in a chirp or a caw. You smell it in the sturdiness of the oak tree. You feel the presence of the life that inspired one of India’s greatest writers.

I read Ruskin Bond fairly late in life but was drawn to the simple joys that Bond delights in. Last year, for my birthday, I wanted to see Mussoorie like Bond might – with gentleness, slow moods, and languid walks.

And I so hoped to meet him.

So, I went to the Cambridge Book Depot on Mall Road, a bookshop that Bond is known to haunt, especially on Saturdays when he chuckles and jokes around with children and adults alike. I waited, peering into what surely must have been the most narrow bookstore I had ever visited, books hanging precariously on their aged spines.

He didn’t turn up. I moved on down the road to the Mussoorie Library – another favorite of Bond. This was pulsing with chaos, pushing me away. I gasped. The crowds were too much. This wasn’t the Mussoorie that Bond writes about with such love. This was a chaotic den of trippers coming here to snap selfies and jostle for chaat. Where was the calm? I walked away.

The next day, I walked over to Landour, lost in trails winding and straight. Here was Ruskin Bond’s home – not an idyllic cottage – but a simple whitewashed house overlooking the hills.

ruskin bond's house

It’s calmer here, and I see what the writer sees: a sweeping view of the hills. But a noisy restaurant next door intrudes into the peace. I found a bench in front of the writer’s house and read.

I read for hours. At some point, the noise quieted. Should I go and knock on his door? I wondered. But it seemed rude, an atrocious invasion of his privacy. So, I stayed there, content to just lose myself in the same landscape as a beloved writer.

At some point, a window slammed shut even as the sun started to set sleepily. I shut my book too, and walked away. I never did get to meet Ruskin Bond. But you know what? It felt like I did.

16 Replies to “Meeting Ruskin Bond”

  1. I had been to Mussoorie in 2021. Since Mr. Bond had stopped visiting the Cambridge book store, I very courageously came up with a plan to go to his house and knock on his door. This is not me at all, and I don’t know what came over me! I bought a few egg puffs and made up a small gift bag of a couple books I felt he would enjoy reading. One was a collection of supernatural folk tales from South India. I knocked at his door, despite a sign saying they don’t accept visitors. Someone from his family opened the door, and looking annoyed, took the bag from me. I said my thanks and left, without a glimpse of the man himself. I was not too disappointed, as I really couldn’t hope for more. At another time and frame of mind, I would not have gathered the courage. It’s good to see from your post and above comments that this is something that most visitors to Mussoorie desire and struggle with. πŸ™‚

    1. Awww, he does seem to want his privacy to be respected, I guess. I understand our ardent need to meet him. That place is so populated already now with that restaurant. It must be hell for him who seeks solitude.

  2. I visited Mussorie in Dec 2023, hoping to see Ruskin Bond. I visited the Cambridge book shop twice, but I was told he doesn’t visit anymore. It was disappointing but I was happy too, that I was there. His simple writings are such a pleasure to read.

  3. Hello ma’am,
    It was a such a lovely read about Bond’s Mussoorie. I’m in Mussorie right now and wish to see Mr.Bond’s home. Can you throw some light on where is it in Landour? May be the name of the restaurant beside his home might be helpful. Kindly let me know.

    1. Sorry, I didn’t get to this in time. It’s known to anyone – on the main road. Please ask around. It’s next to a Tibetan restaurant.

  4. Hello, Ma’am.

    I’m an ardent fan of Sir Bond. I desire to meet Ruskin Bond. Infact, I have tried writing like him, and I would admire if I get to meet him and show him my entries.
    Are there any advices you would like to share with me regarding the visit to mussoorie and meeting Mr. Bond?
    Thank You Ma’am πŸ™‚

  5. Hey Dear Srushthi D,
    My niece (7years old) has come to Mussoorie to see Mr. Ruskin Bond, recently she had played Binya role from his Famous Novel: The Blue Umbrella. Now she is too affectionate Mr. Bond. can she have glimpse of Mr. Bond, Just tell me time so that she can come to see / meet Mr. Bond.

    1. I am sorry – I don’t really have a personal connection with Ruskin Bond. I so hope your niece got to meet him, however.

    1. I hope you enjoyed your trip? πŸ™‚ Did you see his house? On another note, how did you land on this page? I get a lot of visits to this page, and I am curious how people are coming here – I mean I run a non-SEO-optimized site…curious. πŸ˜€

  6. Mussorie as you rightly mentioned is definitely a Ruskin Bond’s territory! Bond’s writings celebrate simple moments. I am glad that you got to experience that and felt like you met him.
    The photographs are lovely. Specially the narrow bookstore one. Captured it beautifully.
    Lovely post as always SM

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