A Song of India
Nominated | Book Awards 2021 | Writings for Young Adults
A Song of India
A gorgeously illustrated HB edition, that throws light on the life and times of a master storyteller.
Sixteen-year-old Ruskin, after having finally finished his school, is living with his stepfather and mother at the Old Station Canteen in Dehradun. Struggling to begin his writing journey, he tries to make a passage to England to chase his true calling. But as he prepares for his long voyage, the prospect of saying goodbye to the warm, sunny shores of India looms large.
Brought straight from his past, Ruskin Bond recalls the longing for familiarity, the joys of receiving his first money order, publishing his stories and finding new friends.
Following the trail of Looking for the Rainbow, Till the Clouds Roll By and Coming Round the Mountain, A Song of India is another year from the life of a fiery teenager as he embarks on a journey to an unfamiliar land.
Born in Kasauli (Himachal Pradesh) in 1934, Ruskin Bond grew up in Jamnagar (Gujarat), Dehradun, New Delhi and Shimla. His first novel, The Room on the Roof, which was written when he was seventeen, received the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize in 1957. Since then he has written over 500 short stories, essays and novellas (including Vagrants in the Valley and A Flight of Pigeons) and more than forty books for children. He received the Sahitya Akademi Award for English writing in India in 1992, the Padma Shri in 1999, and the Delhi government's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.
He lives in Landour, Mussoorie, with his extended family.
It was early in 1951, and I was waiting for the results of my Senior Cambridge exams—the equivalent of today’s Indian School Certificate, I think. I knew I would do well in English literature, history and geography, but I wasn’t too sure about maths and physics!
Never mind. I knew what I really wanted to do—write stories, be an author—but no one else seemed to think it was a good idea.
‘Send him to college,’ said Mr Hari, my stepfather.
‘You could join the army,’ said my mother.
‘Send him back to school,’ wrote Mr Fisher, my school headmaster. ‘He can do his higher SC, and then become a teacher.’
A teacher! That was the last thing I wanted to be; I’d had enough of school rules, homework and early morning PT. And I had no wish to inflict it on others. The army? More rules, more PT, heavy boots, route marching—I’d seen it all in a film called The Lives of a Bengal Lancer. ‘I’m going to be a writer,’ I told my mother.
She laughed. ‘Well, you have a good handwriting. You could be a clerk in a lawyer’s office!’
After that, I stopped talking about what I was going to do.