The Tata Steel Literary Meets’ Curtain Raiser with Ruskin Bond who was in conversation with Malavika Banerjee witnessed a full house of enthusiastic fans of all ages, eager to hear the author talk about “writing and regaling a changing India over 60 years.” The program took place on the 7th of December in Jamshedpur’s Russi Modi Center for Excellence.

The evening began with brief introductions by Mr. Kulvin Suri (Tata Steel’s Chief of Corp. Comm.) and Mr. Chanakya Chaudhary (VP of Corporate Services) regarding the background to Tata Steel’s support for the Kolkata, Bhubhaneshwar and Jharkhand Literary Meets.

Mr. Suri mentioned that as this event was a prelude to the Jharkhand Lit Meet, it was to “give an opportunity to local Hindi authors as well as leading authors and thought leaders from the country” to be able to discuss their writings with an enthusiastic audience from Eastern India. Mr. Chaudhury highlighted the need of the Literary Meet to “engage with the community in art, literature and sport and by doing so to help enrich both, the lives of the communities involved as well as our own lives.”

Once Ruskin Bond took the stage he enthralled the audience with stories about being locked in the school library as a punishment which turned out to be a great blessing, as it sparked his love for reading and writing and provided a great escape from doing homework and from PT. For Ruskin, books were not only read for fun but were also used as a buttress against corporal punishment to protect his rear end against a good old-fashioned caning in school and once against a thief in London, who experienced a good wallop on his head with Dickens’ Great Expectations.

He narrated a couple of humorous incidences in his life where as a character actor in an adaptation of his novel, he had to give Priyanka Chopra a friendly peck on the cheek. After more than a dozen takes (where he kept getting the action wrong) and as many kisses, the director had to point out that: “I think that you are doing this purposely Mr. Bond!”

Whilst filming his novel The Last Tiger, Tom Alter informed him that the producer had procured a tiger from a circus and as soon as it was his meal time, the animal would turn around, forget about everything and promptly return to his cage to be fed. Obviously, they had to scrap the shooting of the film eventually.

The evening concluded with numerous questions from the children which were patiently answered by the author, followed by a book signing for his multitude of fans.