For this student of Bishop Cotton Girls School, Tulsi Chaitanya, whose favourite book is The Adventures of Rusty, it was a dream come true when she got a chance to meet Ruskin Bond, the literary legend a week ago.
Tulsi, along with four other children across the country, visited Ruskin Bond at his Mussoorie house, amidst the rolling hills and the mists that often form Bond’s literary universe. Having spent two days there, she has learnt the art of storytelling and a lot about the man who has redefined children’s literature in India. She reminisces, “He is a very simple and fun-loving man. He made us feel at ease in the house. The five of us spent time with him in his room which overlooks the vast hills. The view from there was amazing. No wonder he writes so much about nature.”
A class five student, Tulsi took part in a story-telling competition held at Landmark a few months ago, which helped her travel to Mussorie to meet the man himself. Her mother, Vidya Chaitanya recalls, “When we visited the store, we saw a huge poster that read ‘Who wants to be the next big storyteller?’ But what caught Tulsi’s interest was the prize — the winner would get a chance to meet Ruskin Bond. That’s when she made up her mind. It is rarely that one gets to meet a living legend!” For the competition Tulsi narrated Diary of a Wimpy Kid and believes her hard work and confidence helped her win the contest. Vidya adds, “Right from kindergarten, Tulsi was always up there on the stage. Her school gave her many opportunities to take part in singing and elocution competitions. That instilled confidence in her. So for the competition, she only had to practise reading aloud and work on her pace and voice modulation. And it helped that she loves reading books.”
Tulsi’s love for books started very young. Even when she had not started reading and writing, she would always sit with a book and flip through the pages. Vidya used to also read to her tales of Cinderella, Snow White and others which got her hooked early on. Tulsi adds, “I started reading books on my own when I was five years old.” Apart from reading, this Junior School Captain now takes part in dramatics, singing, dancing and anchoring activities in her school. Growing up, Tulsi says that she may want to become an author. “But I might change my mind. All I know is I want to excel in whatever I do,” she smiles.
Questions Tulsi asked Ruskin Bond
Who and what has been the inspiration for your writing?
I always wanted to write because it made me happy. I was inspired by everything around me — animals, trees, nature.
Your favourite books and authors?
I enjoy reading all kinds of books.
What books did you enjoy writing? Which of your books is the closest to your heart?
When I was young, I loved writing romantic books. But my first book, The Room on the Roof, will always be close to my heart.
Published on July 24 in The New Indian Express