Bonding with Bond: A handwritten letter from Mussoorie comes all the way to Kothagudem's Palvoncha students

2 April 2022 is an unforgettable day for the students of Nava Bharat School in Palvoncha in Bhadradri Kothagudem. A letter greeting and thanking them came all the way from Mussoorie to the small, rural area of Palvoncha in the outskirts of Hyderabad. And what was even more exciting was that it came from one of their favourite, most inspiring authors, Ruskin Bond!

By Nimisha S Pradeep  Published on  20 April 2022 11:12 AM GMT
Bonding with Bond: A handwritten letter from Mussoorie comes all the way to Kothagudems Palvoncha students

Hyderabad: "I was totally in shock. I never thought he would send us a handwritten letter. Seeing my name written three times was indeed pleasure unexplainable. This is the best part of my life," says A. Sreedevi, Head of the Department of English, Nava Bharat Public School in Palvoncha in Bhadradri Kothagudem.

2 April 2022 is an unforgettable day for the students of Nava Bharat School in Palvoncha in Bhadradri Kothagudem. A letter greeting and thanking them came all the way from Mussoorie to the small, rural area of Palvoncha in the outskirts of Hyderabad. And what was even more exciting was that it came from one of their favourite, most inspiring authors, Ruskin Bond!

It all started in 2019 when Sreedevi, Head of the Department of English of Nava Bharat School started a programme called 'Bond with bond' where the students were encouraged to read books written by Ruskin Bond and write reviews of the same. From room on the roof to A bond with the mountains, 100 selected students from classes 6 to 10 who were more into reading read different books of Bond.

"Many many thanks for sending all those reviews and expressions from your affectionate students. Your school is full of talented boys and girls. May they prosper and be happy," wrote the author.

In 2019, Ruskin Bond visited Hyderabad and Sreedevi, an avid reader and Bond lover, attended the event. In the event, she met Bond and talked to him about her students who were passionately reading his novels and writing reviews on them. Ruskin Bond, who wanted to hear from the children, asked her to compile all the reviews and send it to him.

An excited Sreedevi booked a ticket for 1 April 2020 to Mussoorie for herself and some students so as to handover the reviews to him directly. But Covid-19 spoiled all their plans. The patiently written reviews all lay unattended to in one corner of the school.

In 2022, Ratnasagar, one of the Hyderabad based publishing houses working with Ruskin Bond came to know about Sreedevi and her students and asked her to compile the reviews and send it to them. They then shared it with the author.

Bonding with Bond

For Sreedevi, it was more of a personal journey that inspired her to take Ruskin Bond to her students. "When I used to read Ruskin Bond stories, I used to live in an illusionary world in Mussoorie and it was very much a part of my life. When I realised that Ruskin Bond interested me so much, I thought why not take it to the students then," says Sreedevi. That's how Ruskin Bond became very much a part of the Palvoncha Nava Bharat School.

Bringing books besides the pillows

Sreedevi has been a teacher in Nava Bharat schools for the last 15 years. She takes pride in saying that in 15 years the school has developed a good library with over 5000 books.

During times when kids are slowly getting estranged to the smell and feel of hardbound books and are being stuck to their cell phone screens, Sreedevi says it was not at all easy to bring the kids closer to books.

She also has arranged a small library at her home where the students and her parents come once in a while to spend their time reading and travelling to far-off, unheard places.

"I do not want my kids to be getting any less exposure than the students in Hyderabad," say Sreedevi.

"When I take students for summer camps, I urge the interested ones to sleep with their books. I also feel that children should keep a book besides their pillows. This will also eventually urge them to take a look at these books later," says Sreedevi.

Nowadays there are Kindle books but she feels that students should read hardbound books. "Reading books is one of those habits that stays with us throughout our life," she says.

With the Covid-19 situation getting better, Sreedevi is once again giving thought to a trip to Mussoorie. "Maybe this October, when the climate is also a little better, I will visit Ruskin Bond in his home with my students," says Sreedevi hopefully.

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