Twelve-year-old Shlok Sand says confidently, “Reading is my first hobby. And, telling stories is my second one.” Thanks to these two hobbies, the Std VII student got a chance to meet his ‘favourite author’ Ruskin Bond.
The boy won the final round in the Landmark ‘Child reading to Child’ contest and soon after he went to Mussoorie to meet Bond. Says Shlok, “Two years ago, I was the first runner-up at the competition. And, since I am also a member of Landmark, I learnt about the competition this year too. For both the qualifying and final rounds, I read out two stories from Ruskin Bond’s book — The Road to the Bazaar. Bond’s writing is very simple. I have been reading his stories from the age of four.”
The student of The Bishop’s School, Camp likes reading stories with a twist.
“I am a storyteller, so I like stories which allow me to express myself. Normal stories don’t appeal to me that much. Bond’s stories have a dramatic twist. They are very interesting to read and narrate,” he adds.
When he went to meet Bond, Shlok handed over a letter which he had written to the author. “He didn’t read the letter immediately because we were busy talking. We were with him for two and half hours. Ruskin Bond is an excellent person. He told us to ‘work hard, and never give up’. He said that it took him almost 50-60 years to become a household name. He said, ‘we shouldn’t be disheartened if we don’t become overnight stars, because the mental satisfaction in becoming something is much greater than success’.”
The boy also garnered a few writing tips from the author. Says he, “Bond told us to listen to things around us if we wanted to become a good author. He said that he likes to listen to the sounds around him when he is writing. All his books on nature were written when he was living in a cottage in the midst of a forest. Bond could hear the animals and birds talking and chattering and he used to listen to them for hours. Then he used to sit and write stories.”
Shlok, who attends story-telling sessions, at The Jackfruit Tree and Gyaan Adab, wants to read more books and tell more stories.