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From the Publisher
Conversation with Ruskin Bond
I was going through the romantic poets, looking for a quote to head this little introduction, but somehow the right sentiments eluded me. I guess I’ve grown too old and jaded to go into raptures over Romeo and Juliet or Laila and Majnu and their tragic ends; all too depressing! So I turned to my old friend P.G. Wodehouse and came up with the following line, which I felt was just right for me:
‘You know, the way love can change a fellow, is truly frightful to contemplate.’
Wodehouse’s heroes usually make asses of themselves when they fall in love, and so do most of us. Certainly I made an ass of myself time and again (and still do), but when, in my twenties and thirties I sat down to write about my broken heart, I took myself very seriously.
Falling in love is probably the best thing that can happen to a young writer; it gives a certain spontaneity and intensity to his writing. Stories such as ‘”The Night Train at Deoli’, ‘”Eyes Have It’ and ‘Time Stops at Shamli’, were written when I was in my early twenties, and have stood the test of time quite well. Fifty years after they were written they still turn up in anthologies aimed at both the young and the old.
In my thirties I came to live in the hills, and my love stories were now greatly influenced by the world of nature. Thus, ‘Binya Passes By’ and ‘On Fairy Hill’ have a magical, other-worldly feeling about them.
The supernatural element also turns up occasionally in a lighter vein, there is ‘”The Girl from Copenhagen’ and ‘Who Kissed Me in the Dark?’