The mist has obscured the steep lanes of Landour, but finding our destination is not difficult. Every bystander knows Ivy Cottage, a literary pilgrimage spot of sorts. As we climb the fabled 22 red steps to his lair, a lone guinea pig heralds our arrival with gleeful squeals. We are ushered into a room where the walls seem to be made of books; I push aside the Bani Thani-imprinted cushions and take a seat.
It feels inappropriate to have roused one of India’s most popular authors from a nap, but Ruskin Bond is exceedingly gracious. “By nature, I am lazy,” he confesses. That is a quite an astonishing admission for a man who has published more than 130 books over seven decades and fervently hiked the Himalayas. At 85, his strolls have ceased, but his pen is as prodigious as ever.