Sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory.
Yesterday I was in a local newspaper/magazine store near my home. While I was waiting for the shopkeeper to return me my change, my eyes fell on a copy of TINKLE. The once familiar name brought in a flow of memories. Sometime you come across an old picture or an old piece of clothing or an old greeting card or the like, and the memories start tumbling out. And the same happened to me. From my childhood days, till I was in the XII standard, I read TINKLE regularly & religiously, very rarely missing an issue. However, after moving out of my home in pursuit of higher studies and maybe finding other things to do, this habit of mine vanished and I did not even realize when.
During my TINKLE-touched childhood days, not having been even aware of the presence of Internet, Uncle Pai (Mr Anant Pai, editor – founder of TINKLE) was one of my sources of information for my curiosities about the world around me. The tagline of the comics was – ‘where learning meets fun’. And it was indeed fun & informative. There used to be a section called “Tinkle Tells you Why” and Uncle Pai used to reply to queries from the readers. I remember sending a lot of questions to him for that section. In every issue, only about 5-6 questions, along with their answers, were published. I was once lucky enough to get my query replied and published and that day was one of my happiest days. I remember writing a ‘Thank you’ letter to Uncle Pai. 🙂 And the other times, when my questions were not published, I received letters signed by Uncle Pai with answer to my question along with two TINKLE labels. How I showed off those labels to my schoolmates!! 😛
I remember fondly those days when I used to eagerly wait for the fortnightly issue to be delivered by our newspaper hawker. After I was done reading the whole issue, I felt sad for I had to wait 15 more days for the next issue. Even my cousin brother, about 10 years elder to me, read them and he had the issues starting from No. 1. He used to hard bind around 10-15 copies together and arrange them neatly on his book racks. I used to look forward going to their place during the vacations, so that I could read them and live in the company of always lucky fellow Shikari Shambhu, the foolish Suppandi, the forever-plotting Tantri the Mantri, the cunning Kalia the Crow, etc.
TINKLE started in 1980 & till now more than 600 issues have come out. TINKLE came at a time when there were no other comics with Indian content. Kids were reading foreign comics like – Archies, Phantom, TinTin, etc. Some of them were even translated into Indian languages. But TINKLE became hugely popular because it offered folktales from all over the world as well as stories around the regular characters, many of them evolving into icons. It also had pages devoted to educative non-fiction articles, DIYs, puzzles to solve, contests with prizes, etc. Also the feedback system and the option for readers to send in their stories was another plus point.
TINKLE is translated & published in many regional languages which increase its reach and popularity to almost every part of the country. It seems to be an integral part of growing up in India. Mr Anant Pai had also launched the Amar Katha Series in 1967 which was one of the largest series of comic books and was crafted to teach the Indian kids about the rich cultural heritage of India. Uncle Pai’s effort of combining education and entertainment has made Tinkle largely accepted by kids, parents & teachers alike. Last year, Uncle Pai left for his heavenly abode and the responsibility to carry forward the legacy was given to Ms. Rajani Thindinath.
TINKLE, for me, was my first access to the world outside my textbooks. It developed my habit of reading. The memories of my TINKLE days are some of my fondest ones and I shall cherish them for my life. 🙂
Do share your TINKLE experience with me!