It is the fifth of the month. As I get back from school, I eagerly open the post box to check if we’ve got mail. Sure enough, I see the familiar package with the translucent plastic cover. Slipping off the covering, my eyes light up, on seeing what’s inside.
The glossy cover page brings a smile across my face. I grin and prance around. “Yes! This month’s issue of Tinkle has arrived!!” The next few minutes go about in an argument between my brother and me as to who will read it first. Sometimes he gets it, and sometimes I.
The awaited moment finally arrives as I make way to my favourite sofa spot, prop up my legs, curl up and flip open the comic. The next hour goes by. Engrossed in the world of Suppandi, Butterfingers, Pyarelal, Tantri The Mantri, Shikari Shambu, Anu Club and the others. As I turn to the last page, I wistfully gaze out of the window. “Oh no! I should wait for another month for the next issue of Tinkle to arrive!”
The Childhood Series is a new series of blog posts about all things childhood. Read the first part here: Nostalgia (The Childhood Series #1).
If there is one habit that I’m grateful for having cultivated since a child, it has to undoubtedly be reading. My tryst with books began as early as when I was the tender age of 6. Wholeheartedly accept that it is solely due to Tinkle that I’ve become a reader for life today.
As a six-year-old, I would only understand Suppandi and his funny antics. Yet, I read all of them and even proudly own a collector’s edition of Suppandi tales. With age, I started reading the rest of the stories in Tinkle and fell in love with reading them. As I mentioned in the first part of this series, my brother and I needed (and still need) a copy of Tinkle by our side while having food.
Vacations and long train journeys meant having a set of Tinkle comics in our bags. I even remember once where my mother purchased a Holiday Edition of Tinkle and presented it to me just before we were to go on a long road journey to my native town. I was ecstatic! I would count moments before I could lay my hands on that copy and delve deep into the stories.
Tinkle has been a friend to me. A lot of what I have learnt today is due to Tinkle. A lot of my vocabulary has improved solely by reading Tinkle. There are so many lessons to learn from the stories in them. Not just the stories, but the additional pages such as “It Happened To Me” (a selection of incidents that happened with the readers of Tinkle), “Tinkle Tells You Why” (an insightful addition about why things happen), puzzles, riddles, “You Be The Detective” (one of the newer additions to the comic, where you solve a mystery), have all been incredibly useful.
Most importantly, the life lessons they impart remain imprinted in my memory. There is this story which remains one of my favourites.
Once there was a boy who lived with his mother. They were struggling to make ends meet. Despite it all, the boy was a very bright and intelligent student.
One day, there is an essay writing competition in his school and the boy is keen to participate in it. He eagerly rushes home and excitedly tells his mother that he wants to participate in it. The mother is in a dilemma as she does not have the money to pay the fees. She quietly sneaks out of the house in the mid of the night and sells her only necklace to the jeweller. She pays her son’s fees with the money.
Oblivious to it all, the son prepares for the competition with full gusto. On the D-day, as he confidently starts writing his essay, he witnesses something wrong in the classroom. The supervisor, one of his teachers, was openly helping another student in cheating. The boy raises his voice against it. The teacher reprimands him and tells him that the student he is helping cheat is the school founder’s son. Feeling angry and cheated, the poor boy slumps back into his seat and somehow completes his essay.
The next day, the results are announced and the boy wins the competition and earns a cash prize. The founder of the school then comes up on the dais and lauds the young boy for standing against what was wrong. He goes one to narrate the unfortunate incident which he witnessed through the window on the day of the competition. He feels ashamed of his son and assures the young boy that strict action will be taken against the student and the teacher for indulging in cheating.
As the boy happily makes his way back home, he decides to buy a bangle for his mother using the cash prize. When he arrives at the jeweller’s, he is stunned to see his mother’s necklace there and realises how she had arranged the money to pay his fees. He buys back the necklace and gifts it back to his mother.
Honesty always prevails.
This is just one of the many stories which remain fresh in my mind. But each of them remains etched in my memory. Tinkle has been my teacher and guide ever since my childhood days.
Today I am all grown-up. Yet, I still read Tinkle. In fact, we got the whole of our collection hard-bounded and preserved. Let me boast for a moment, we have approximately 500 copies of Tinkle in our collection. This includes Tinkle Digests and a few other issues dating back to the late 1980s, thanks to one of my cousins who gave them away to us. My brother and I consider our collection as a prized possession and never lend them out to anyone. We hold on to them dearly.
Even to this day, we always turn to Tinkle and re-read all the older issues. The peace and contentment that washes over is pure bliss.
It is disheartening to see that the newer generation seldom shares the same enthusiasm for reading. We see children these days with gadgets in their hands instead of books. The art of reading good comics and stories is slowly diminishing. Reading comics is slowly losing its charm. A pity.
I urge you to encourage the young minds in your house to read comics and storybooks. Introduce them to reading at a young age. That is the best investment you could possibly make.
And for the older generations who have been Tinkle lovers in their childhood days, there is some good news! If you cannot get access to the physical copies of your beloved comics, you can buy the ebook versions of Tinkle Digests and Amar Chitra Katha Collection on Amazon now! Relive your childhood and let the nostalgia wash over you. 🙂
This blog post is a part of ‘The Childhood Series’. A string of blog posts about childhood. This Children’s Day, reminisce about your own childhood, the things you loved and enjoyed, the school days, the carefree holidays, the silly quarrels, and a lot more.
Watch out for the upcoming blog posts!
Until next time, stay blessed. And keep reading. 🙂