MUSSOORIE: Ruskin Bond, one of the most loved authors by adults and children alike, turned 83 today and released a memoir in which he reminisces his childhood days and pays a tribute to his father.
A special event was organised at Bond's favourite bookstore, Cambridge, where he often interacts with his fans and spends time with them.
"Looking for the Rainbow: My Years with Daddy" is Bond's first-ever memoir for children and a book which he says is close to his heart.
Published by Penguin Random House, the book is seen as a special one as the author has extensively penned down his memories of the two years he spent with his father and has dedicated it to the latter.
Today's celebrations were no less than a festival with hundreds of kids and adults across the town and beyond waiting in long queues outside the store for their favourite author to come for the cake cutting and signing their books.
The entire Mall Road was thronged by people. The book store was thematically decorated with "Looking for the Rainbow" banners and posters. A cake with the book jacket image was specially made for the occasion.
The author also posed with his fans for selfies.
Hemali Sodhi, Publisher (Children's) at Penguin Random House, said, "Over the last few years, it has become an annual tradition for the Puffin team to travel to Landour for Ruskin Bond’s birthday - and it is an event we look forward to with great anticipation and joy.
"Ruskin Bond is incredibly special - not only as a writer, but also as one of the nicest, kindest people we have ever had the honour of knowing, and we feel incredibly privileged to share his special day with him. For Puffin, it's a dream come true!"
Bond was born in Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh, and grew up in Jamnagar, Dehradun, New Delhi and Shimla. As a young man, he spent four years in the Channel Islands and London. He returned to India in 1955. He now lives in Landour, Mussoorie, with his adopted family.
At the age of eight, Bond escaped his jail-like boarding school in the hills and went on to live with his father in Delhi. His time in the capital is filled with books, visits to the cinema, music, and walks and conversations with his father - a dream life for a curious and wildly imaginative boy, which turns tragic all too soon.
"This little book is a tribute to my father who, over a short period of time, did so much to make my life meaningful for me. I wish all the children could have a father like him," says Bond.
"I have written about him before, but never at length, and I thought it was time to thank him in the best possible way through a story woven around the events of those two memorable years. Once upon a time, in old New Delhi...," he says.
His first novel "The Room on the Roof", written when he was 17, received the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize in 1957. Since then, Bond has written a number of novellas, essays, poems and children's books. He has also written over 500 short stories and articles that have appeared in magazines and anthologies. He received the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1993, the Padma Shri in 1999 and the Padma Bhushan in 2014.