Meeting The Giants In World Of Writing: My Precious Moments With Ruskin Bond And Gulzar

Ruskin Bond: From His Writings I Learnt The Art Of Writing Simply!

Ruskin Bond: From His Writings I Learnt The Art Of Writing Simply!

The world of writing is marred by strange twists and turns. It’s never easy for a writer, whether established or novice, to keep pace with time in an easy-going manner in world dominated by materialistic principles, which treats nurturing aesthetic pleasures as some sort of waste of time. When selling rose becomes more worthwhile task than to appreciate its scent, it’s quite certain that one would not gain much by falling in love with creative pursuits. I faced extremely tough conditions with humiliating episodes taking place quite frequently, but I always tried not to take them to heart, remembering that great writers of previous eras also received similar treatment. Pain and humiliation do not break a writer ( unless destiny has predestined such a fate) but make him gain more insights, not available to ordinary mortals. The other thing that really kept me going ahead with ease despite huge setbacks was constant support of extremely talented souls, who appeared at various stages of my life as friends and colleagues. Apart from them, I feel really privileged that I also got an opportunity to spent some precious moments with towering figures in world of literature. These very special moments still keep me spirited and cheerful in depressing times even as memories related with those meetings have been clouded by the affairs of time.

I met Ruskin Bond and Gulzar at a time when my bonhomie with the writing world was gaining depth. However, after meeting them, I became certain that being a writer was no crime! I always met people who stupidly asked me( and thereby revealing the actual worth of their grey cells) about my work sphere even as I told them that I write! ” It’s okay that you write but what work you do?” That’s the sort of queries which always chased me. Thank God such queries today neither appear nor they have any relevance left in my life. The sight of Gulzar and Ruskin had left me spellbound, although I had met them separately, but exhibition of feelings remained the same.

I became the fan of Ruskin Bond at the very moment when in one of the boring literature classes of my school, I first came to read his story “The Eyes Have It”. The intensity of emotions expressed in this story fascinated my young heart to great extent. Though my class teacher, the other school mates and the old-fashioned academic standards, compelled me to anticipate the story in a given way, I came to visualize many other things as I read this story. And that’s why I met Ruskin Bond not only as reader but also as a writer! It’s the writings of Ruskin which taught me that how you say is equally important as what you come to say! However, the greatest lesson Ruskin taught me was that great writing is simple writing! Never use bundle of complicated expressions, which make a reader be involved more in picking up a dictionary than being lost in the content of the post! It’s one of the reasons why I avoid reading Arundhati Roy unless I have to sleep early!

The impressions left by Ruskin can also be traced in my being!

The impressions left by Ruskin can also be traced in my being!

Ruskin Bond, the Sahitya Akademi and Padma Shri awards winner, visited Allahabad, circa 2003. He had come here to attend promotional event organised by a leading publisher Rupa & Co. I wasn’t prepared for this meeting, but the moment I heard news of his arrival, I got prepared my manuscript related with my first unpublished anthology- The Petals Of Life.  When I met him, I saw him surrounded by his well-wishers. I waited for my turn, and fortunately when my turn came he had some spare moments. He gave a fabulous smile when I introduced myself as a writer and informed him about my literary pursuits. When I handed him my poems, he seemed to be very pleased by this gesture. He patted my back and asked me to keep writing. Though he was tired but he still obliged me by giving me his autograph at number of places. Our conversations lasted for few minutes but the undercurrents still remain alive. And so I refuse to leave the company of pen!

Gulzar- the Oscar Award winner lyricist-also visited Allahabad, at the invitation of same publisher, during the same period. My meeting with him was once again a hurried affair than a pre-planned affair. When I reached the place where he was about to arrive after couple of hours, I was apprehensive about the meeting. However, call it my luck, despite presence of huge crowd, I created space for my meeting with this amazing man. It was hard for my eyes to acknowledge the fact that maker of landmark movies like Aandhi, Ijaazat, Kitaab, Parichay and Achanak, to name a few, was sitting right before my eyes. Like always, this time, too, he was clad in white kurta-pajama. And like always donned his lips a typical smile, which any Gulzar fan would easily recognize had he/she been noticing photographs of him quite sincerely. To be honest, I had not read enough literature penned by him but I had watched his movies and heard his songs with exceptional zeal and abnormal seriousness. And that’s why his “surrealism” permeated in my writings as well. Anyway, he remained seated in relaxed way. When I informed him about my credentials, his faced remained expressionless yet I noticed that he was pretty conscious! And as I finished saying what I had to say, he gave a very deep look at me. A stare that refused to leave me and became part of my being. I left the space after spending couple of minutes with him but as I came out of that place and headed towards my home these particular lines from this immortal song “Aknhon Mein Humne Aapke” kept appearing and disappearing within mind’s chamber-

              “नज़रे उठाई आपने तो  वक्त रुक गया

               ठहरे हुए पलो में जमाने बिताये है “

         – When you looked at me, the time stopped
         And in those moments I came to live many lives.

Many thanks to these gentlemen who appeared at a very important juncture in my life. I needed some genuine encouragement and their generosity in display of emotions proved to be a tonic for my spirit chased by uncertainties. The uncertainties remain the same but my spirit attained the required evolution and so my writings. And so I am still writing! Pervert critics remain the same and situation remains hopeless like always and yet I am above all these negative concerns. A proof that meeting such enlightened gentlemen did not go in vain.

Gulzar: I still remember that I met you!

Gulzar: I still remember that I met you!


Excerpts from the story ” The Eyes Have It” :

“I wondered if I would be able to prevent her from discovering that I was blind. Provided I keep to my seat, I thought, it shouldn’t be too difficult.”


“The man who had entered the compartment broke into my reverie.

‘You must be dissapointed,’ he said. ‘I’m not nearly as attractive a traveling companion as the one who just left.’

‘She was an interesting girl,’ I said. ‘Can you tell me – did she keep her hair long or short?’

‘I don’t remember,’ he said, sounding puzzled. ‘It was her eyes I noticed, not her hair. She had beautiful eyes – but they were of no use to her. She was completely blind. Didn’t you notice?’”


Song: Ankhon Mein Humne Aapke..

Movie: Thodi Si Bewafai

Singers: Lata and Kishore

Lyricist: Gulzar

Music: Khayyam

Gulzar: That's The Way He Smiles!

Gulzar: That’s The Way He Smiles!


Rupa & Co.

Penguin’s List Of Books Written By Ruskin Bond

Poems Of Gulzar-Kavita Kosh

Pics Credit:

Gulzar’s Image

8 responses

  1. Many thanks to these readers for making their presence felt on this post:

    Ravi Hooda, Canada; Shankhdhar Dubey,Parliament of India (Rajya Sabha Secretariat),New Delhi; Anjeev Pandey,Journalist, Nagpur,Maharashtra; Bharati Bhattacharyyaji, Calcutta, West Bengal; Himanshu Sharma,Hindi Advicer & Writer, United Art Fair, New Delhi; Gautam Jain; Kartik Jain, Pune, Maharashtra; Rajshree Sharma; Dipender Kaur; Swami Prabhu Chaitanya, Patna, Bihar; Dilip Kawathekar, Indore, Madhya Pradesh; Shashikant R.Pandey, Ahmedabad, Gujarat; Navendu Singh; Sonam Gupta, Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra; Zoya Ahmed; Rajesh Pandey,Jalandhar, Punjab; Sanjeev Joshi; Kusuam Upadhyaya, Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh; Rekha Pandey, Mumbai; Krishan Lal Sachdeva; Rakesh Pandey, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh; Manish Tripathi; Mukul Srivastava, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh; Sanjiv Nigam,Mumbai, Maharashtra; Prathvipal Singh, Bulandsahar, Uttar Pradesh; Akhilesh Kumar Jha; Ashwani Sinha; Harish Sheth, Ausa, Maharashtra; Himanshu B.Pandey, Siwan, Bihar, and Radiodost Snd, Ranchi, Jharkhand.

  2. Many thanks to Laurie Buchanan, Holistic Health Practitioner—Board Certified with the American Association of Drugless Practitioners, USA, for liking this post…

  3. Dharmendra Sharma, United Arab Emirates, said:


    Author’s Response:

    Thanks for your appraisal 🙂

  4. Author’s Words For Manish Tripathi:

    The meeting with them was, indeed, a real affair yet mind sometimes sees the whole meeting as some sort of cute dream 🙂


    Author’s Words For Sucheta Singhal:

    A Gulzar’s song for you…I love hearing this often: Raah Pe Rahte Hai….Yaadon Pe Basar Karate Hai…Khush Raho Ahle Watan ..Hum To Safar Karte Hai…


    Author’s words for Kusum Upadhyaya, Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh:

    One of the most glorious moments..Anyway, I have always loved the company of writers , without taking into cognizance their star value..


  5. Arvind Sharma, Indore, Madhya Pradesh, said:

    Dear Arvindji,

    You have raised a very pertinent question about writers. In our society, writers are and were always looked upon as unemployed.

    In my view, when u write, it is such a heavy and taxing work, that most of the office going people cannot imagine.

    When u write on issues which r politically,socially sensitive, you have to put a lot of research to make them exact and correct. Similarly, fiction too require a lot of hard work– elaboration of ideas is no joke.

    Last but not the least u have to have a command of the medium i.e. Language which is the toughest thing.

    You have met Ruskin Bond and Sampuran Sing Kalra ‘Gulzar.’ I am jealous in the sense that despite many attempts, I could not meet them. We– me, my wife,daughter– are great fans of both of them.

    Please do what u are doing– that is keep on writing, and let the fools say whatever they want to against the highest form of work.

    Arvind Sharma


    Author’s Response:

    Thanks for responding in such a thought-provoking way…As I have mentioned somewhere in the article that I was never influenced by the loose talk of the every Tom, Dick, and Harry..However, being owner of extremely sensitive heart, I was sometimes hurt badly…

    Writing is a divine art and I do not expect everybody to be aware of its intricacies but, having said that, a total absence of encouraging words make the life of a writer a gloomy affair…

    Anyway, I consider myself lucky that I am still pretty optimistic, partly because my works got acknowledged in a right way and also because I always found real admirers/well wishers/ honest critics at every stage of my life’s journey as a writer…

    Lastly, thanking you, once again for conveying your good wishes in such a heartfelt manner…

  6. Harish Sheth, Ausa, Maharashtra, said:

    Kalam aur kaagaz ke safar me aapne kayi achchhe bure anubhav kiye..aur aapki is kalamyatra ke kuch pal aapne hamse baante.. hame behad apnapan laga..koi shilp banne se pahle patthar par chhaini aur hatauda chalta hai baad me hi murat ban paati hai,bas isi tarah aapke lekhan ko sone jaisa nikhaar mila hai. kripa banaaye rakhiyega…Thanks.


    Author’s Response:

    हरीश जी आपको इस बात के लिए धन्यवाद कि आपने कलम को और मजबूत किया 🙂

  7. Arvind Sharmaji, Indore, Madhya Pradesh, said:

    Kalam ke yoddhaon ko hamare parivar ka sadar naman.


    Author’s Response:

    Bahut dhanyavad ji..

  8. Chandrapal S. Bhasker, United Kingdom, said:

    Bahut khoob likha hai dost. Padh kar anand aa gaya….

    ( A very well written article..Really enjoyed reading it)

    Author’s Response:

    Are aapne bhi padh liya 🙂 These gentlemen like guiding stars always showed me the way!!

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