CHANDIGARH: The Chandigarh Literary Society today conferred upon children's author Ruskin Bond its first Lifetime Achievement Award -- comprising a citation and Rs 2 lakh cash.
Children from different schools thronged the sylvan surroundings of Sukhna Lake here which formed the backdrop to the fifth edition of the international literature festival -- 'Literati 2017'.
With the Lake Club venue choc-o-block with avid readers and his fans, the children and parents alike quizzed the author about his different novels and short stories.
Addressing the children, the veteran author's only advice was that "since parents are taking care of you and make you study in good schools, just take care of them when you grow up." Born and brought up in India, Bond was sent to London in the 50s after his schooling, where he worked as well as wrote his first novel -- "Room on the Roof" -- at 17, but as soon as he got the advance of 50 pounds from the publisher, he bought a ticket for India in 1955.
"I could not live anywhere else in the world other than India," Bond said.
"I identify myself with the lone fox I saw once in the Mussoorie hills on a moonlit night, which inspired me to name my autobiography 'Lone Fox Dancing'," he added.
"It is all truth and no fiction, which I might invent in the sequel," he said in a lighter vein.
Sharing his thoughts on writing, in response to a question by a youngster, he said a writer must respect the language and grammar, write regularly, find a space for solitude in a room, read literature and adopt a simple style, so that readers could relate to his writings and enjoy the experience.
Responding to another question from a student as to whether one could make a career in writing, he said he wrote for the joy of it and had never looked for fame or fortune.
Asked what would he have been if not a writer, Bond said, "Either a sumo wrestler or a football player." He said people had mistaken him for someone else at parties, airports and social gatherings, adding that at times, he had even been associated with literary works of others.
"People can relate to my stories because it is about people who are real in their character and emotions, but when I run out of such characters, I choose animals. And, if I run out of animals, I write about ghosts," Bond said.
He implored the budding writers to work for the protection of the environment and setting limits to urbanisation.
Earlier, Sumita Misra, Chairperson of CLS, in her welcome remarks said 'Literati' had gone international with Canada joining as the partner country. Two prominent Canadian authors would be featured tomorrow, she added.
Christopher Gibbins, Consul General of Canada, was present at the venue throughout the day.