A representative from the junior, Middle, and senior sections of Bishop Cotton School, Shimla (BCS) school boys recently travelled to Ruskin Bond’s hometown, Mussoorie, to meet the much-loved Indian children’s author Ruskin Bond as he approaches his 89th birthday. The boys shot an interview with him and the whole session was recorded. It was played to the rest of the school after their return. The school boys were very grateful to meet him and hear the stories firsthand and give him his birthday presents for his upcoming birthday.
Ruskin Bond attended the boarding school for 8 years from 1943-1950. He went on to become the Ibbetson House Captain and his books are filled with charming stories from his school days and the funny characters who worked at BCS. One teacher kept a pigeon in the classroom, a feisty teacher who used to cane the boys for their misdemeanors.
Ruskin Bond said;”I owe a lot to BCS, this is where I started my love of books and reading in the library and where I wrote my first short story. BCS grooms a boy with the routines to be polite and have manners. This has got me and many other Cottonians far in life, it is a secret weapon.”
Ruskin has written many famous children’s books about his time in the British boarding school along with his friends who were from all over the world, from Pakistan, German, Britain, Thailand, and from all over India. He has written fondly of his times when he went to the boarding school in Shimla in the 1940s. His time at school was set during an especially historical era, during the political turbulence of the 1940s, during the ‘Quit India’ movement. Seniors would patrol the dorms with rifles to protect students due to the unrest and riots at the time in Shimla (then Simla).
As a traditional heritage school, many of the old routines have been kept alive since its foundation in 1859, 165 years ago. The students still get up early for physical training (PT) every day and have sports like shooting, boxing, and swimming which Ruskin has written many books about.