The 70’s and 80’s were days of pre-satellite era and kids of this era either played games indoors / sunny outdoors or picked up a book or craft to while away their time. I was no exception Those were also the days of independent houses and so friends were few unlike today’s condomoniums, I had only 5 friends in my colony who were my age and most of them would be engaged in their own house in the afternoons . My noon time engagement was to pick up a comic book and get lost in it .
One of my favorite places to read the book was under the shade of the gooseberry tree of my house. It was in the corner of the compound and under that was a granite stone , the one used for building foundation. I had formed my own book club in which i was the lone member. I would take a fallen gooseberry and write TINKLE BOOK CLUB (TBC), the acidic berry would leave its mark on the compound wall. I would then sit under the tree and open my comic book bag which was labelled Tinkle book club and enjoy my comics. Most of them were my own collection of Amar chitra kathas which I had gathered over the years and I had even subscribed to tinkle comic which used to come home every fortnight. I would stamp them as TBC with ink and then I would travel through various kingdoms, jungles , countries or to unravel a mystery with them as companions.
I still remember the day I picked up my first comic book at The IBH exhibition in glass house, LAlbagh. My parents got me my first Amar chitra katha Lord Ganesha and it costed just rs 2 then and I must say my love affair with the strung words started there. From then on the collection of ACK’s grew, whenever I passed by the book store near my house or while travelling when I found them in Higginbothams at Railway station, I would buy them and add it to my personal collection. Even the gift money that I got from family elders would be spent on buying ACKs . Among comics ACK’s are still my first love , although I hear from my friends, the English in ACK’s are not of good standard, I believe, ACK’s are windows to our culture and our Indian kids must be brought up on this pictorial and word diet.
My love for ACK is followed by Tinkle. Tinkle which comes from the same stable was a total package. It had a few folk tales, moral tales, info on everyday science, history, GK and a tinkle tricks and treats which had quiz, puzzles and DIY treats. What I loved the most was the folk tales , Kalia the crow and Suppandi. I still love this book and the last comic book I personally bought for myself some 4 years back ( not for my kids) while travelling was Suppandi ( a book of just suppandi stories). Tinkle Tricks treats(TTT) were my first engagement with participating in contests. I would get lovely Tinkle stickers of the characters and I would go around pasting them in suitcases, almirahs etc.
Next followed Disney comics, I loved mickey, Minnie, uncle scrooge,winnie the pooh and other Disney stories like ChipNdale. They were my inspiration for drawing too. Most of them have found their way into post cards as New year greetings for my relatives during school days.
I was not a great fan of Phantom, Tarzan and so did’nt have them in my personal collection but I would read them when I got a chance. I would read the DC comics and Indrajal comics which had Bahadur who was India’s answer to the international heroes of Phantom, tarzan and their like. I would also love reading the comical strips that appeared in newspapers like peanuts and dennis the menace.
I still enjoy reading comics and even today I have my daily dose through Calvin & Hobbes in the Hindu, I think some of these comics have profound messages.
Comics are something we all loved during our childhood, in today's digital age many have closed down, which ones were the ones you loved or if you got a chance would love to read again?