If not for ‘Chandamama’, my generation may have never realised age-old Indian tales

#1 Dec 11th, 2017, 21:45
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The year was 1952. Babu, my father, was posted in Shahjehanpur, a small town in western Uttar Pradesh. We – my parents and their three daughters – lived in a large, derelict redbrick house with a wild garden, and it served as both Babu’s office and residential quarters for his family.

Having been sent to school very young, I was in class three at the age of seven, a precocious child and a voracious reader of Hindi children’s magazines. It was at Shahjehanpur that Chandamama, a Telugu magazine printed in faraway Chennai, which we knew as Madras, in an almost brand-new Hindi avatar appeared magically in our house one day. (The Hindi version had been launched in August 1949.) The copy of this priceless treasure trove of stories was picked up by my mother from the AH Wheeler kiosk at the local railway station where she had gone to see off or receive a relative. It never occurred to her to buy us toys or sweets like most mothers and aunts we had. She spent whatever little she could save from household money, to buy us books and magazines.

After mother, my older sister and I – in that order – raced through the magazine and pronounced it to be the best we had read so far, my mother sat down with my father to mull over the feasibility of sending a large sum of Rs 8 for a two-year subscription. Finally, they decided to send Rs 4.50 to the Madras offices of Chandamama for a one-year subscription.

Window to the world

Books and magazines were hard to come by in our town normally. Within a year, my older sister and I ran a lending library of Chandamama and sundry Hindi books for children and I remember it included a wonderful compilation of children’s Bengali rhymes translated from Bangla to Hindi by Harindra Kumar Chattopadhyaya. The school we attended was run by missionaries and taught children of the poor, who were greater in number and who studied for free, and the not-so-poor who paid a negligible fee. The school, which was Hindi medium, was thus truly egalitarian but clean and well-run. Mother said that what we saved by way of tuition fee was best spent on books and magazines like Chandamama. She also encouraged us to loan copies of our storybooks and zealously-protected magazines freely to our classmates. These were carefully stacked in a battered old tin trunk and Abdulla, one of my closest friends and a fellow reader of Chandamama, whose father ran a small eatery by the wayside, helped create and maintain a register of sorts. Abdulla was a vigilant librarian and so defaulters were few and easily chastised.
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#2 Dec 11th, 2017, 22:14
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Originally Posted by aarosh View Post Scroll
Bringing back happy memories, i was a regular reader of the bengali version of it , most enjoyable was the simplified greek mythologies and Vikram-betal
#3 Dec 11th, 2017, 22:33
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Did anyone here read "Bal Bharati" or "Parag" too?
#4 Dec 12th, 2017, 05:08
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Originally Posted by sindabad View Post Bringing back happy memories, i was a regular reader of the bengali version of it , most enjoyable was the simplified greek mythologies and Vikram-betal
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Originally Posted by Golghar View Post Did anyone here read "Bal Bharati" or "Parag" too?
I grew up on Chandamama, Bal Bharti, Parag and Sarita and Dharamyug.

We were all avid readers in our household and used to fight over any magazine that got delivered.
#5 Dec 12th, 2017, 14:31
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We devoured champak, nandan too
#6 Dec 12th, 2017, 23:52
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#6
Champak, Tinkle, Chandamama, Target, Amar Chitra Katha and Indrajal Comics (Bahadur, Phantom, Mandrake, Flash Gordon, Rip Kirby).

A few available online at https://indrajal-online.blogspot.in/.../label/English

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