I have been watching TV since the time Doordarshan was the only channel around. Amongst cartoons/comics, the only series available that I read was was Chacha Choudhary and Sabu series, who were perpetually defeating their arch anemy Raaka. And of course, their dog Rocket. [My cousins have even read them in Hindi!] I know he is still around because I saw some of them at the railway station the other day.
Today, when everything including comics and cartoons have a polythene sheen to them , these comics stand out with their ruggedness. I like the pre-globalization non-chic look. There was a certain innocence that I associate with that time. Finishing those comics did not take any time and I would forget about them once I finished reading them. No obsession to collect them haunted me. And mom used to regularly give all the ‘used’ comics to the raddiwala.
It was fun to read them then but I didn’t collect them. I regret doing that because a few years later when satellite TV came into India in the early 90s almost everyone shifted their loyalties to the flying man in blue tights. I wish I had collected the series as we used to collect the Superman series. I don’t know of anyone who does it anymore. Today, I know that they have emotional as well as heritage value.
Diamond comics did us a great service to bring us those Indian superheroes. Sandwiched between Enid Blyton and Fairy Tales, I found my love for comics. Today, I read almost all kinds of comics – from Tinkle to Tintin to The Crow– but looking back, I know that’s where it all started.
PS: Today, I plan to stop at the neighbourhood chai-newspaper ka dukaan and ask for an Indian comic.