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Ruskin Bond, whose stories have shaped many chidhoods, today said that storytelling is a "blend of factual fiction" and all his stories have been "genuine lies". "All my stories are genuine lies. A story is often a blend of fiction and non-fiction. In order to tell an interesting story, you have to churn things around, like change time sequences. So, storytelling becomes a blend of factual fiction," he said. For Bond, who was speaking at the Times LitFest here, no subject is as intriguing as a living person and his surroundings, vindicating the recurrence of both in nearly all his stories. "People are the stories. People and nature give me beautiful thoughts and I put those thoughts in my work. If you look for 'beautiful' in life you will find it very often," he said. Bond was also felicitated with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the literary event. Having spent most of his life in the lap of the Himalayas in a quaint cottage in Landour, the 82-year-old writer has been in close proximity with nature, which he said has been rapidly degrading, thanks to the development drives carried out by human beings. "Nature has always inspired me to write, and I have responded to it in my stories.
God has created beautiful things but has put human beings in-charge. But, unfortunately we have not done a really good job in preserving it.
"The urban spaces are apparent everywhere and all this combines to take away the charm of the surroundings," he said.
According to Bond, who recently came out with a series of eight murder mysteries, social media has changed the way people read, even though reading continues to remain a "minority past-time".
"Social media is changing the way people read. Even though a vast majority still prefers the natural book, younger people are also reading e-books. And as far as number of readers go, I think they are far more today.
"In my schooldays, though we had a very good library, there were just two or three boys who were fond of reading. Reading has always been a minority past-time and it still is, but since the minority has grown, the number of readers has also increased," he said.
For all aspiring writers, Bond suggests that they must inculcate a habit of reading early in their lives, because "any boy or girl who becomes a reader at an early age wants to start writing too." As a child, he said, he wanted to emulate the writers he was fond of. Bond's first story was written in school on one of his exercise books and featured his headmaster. "When I was in school I wrote a little novel and put my headmaster in the story. I was writing in the exercise books which found way to his office," he quipped. The author, who admits that he loves taking naps, is extremely disciplined when it comes to writing, and feels early morning is the best time of the day to pen one's thoughts. "As a writer you have to be fairly disciplined and put in a certain amount of work preferably everyday. "I get out of bed at 8 and write for an hour or two whether it is summer or winter. Early morning time is the best to write when there is nobody banging at your door," he said.