Thursday, 18 October 2012

Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale its infinite variety

The title, of course is Shakespeare's but I have appropriated it to pay tribute to the evergreen and never failing to entertain, Tinkle. For those who did not grow up in India, Tinkle is our version of comic series that kept us engaged and amused through our summer holidays and other mundane days as well. And one can never be too old for picking a copy of Tinkle and smiling from ear to ear at the antics of Suppandi, Tantri the Mantri, Kalia the Crow, Kapish the Monkey, Shikari Shambu and reading many other tales, jokes and science facts. When I googled Tinkle, I was surprised and happy to find that they also have a website now. But with Tinkle, it was always the stories and not the author. Only later did I know that Anant Pai was the creative editor behind the book.



What is the USP of Tinkle and how did it manage to stay put inspite of the revolution created by the internet, cable TV and many other media? Well, I guess it's a mixture of simplicity and quick-read that manages to hold the reader's attention. Suppandi is a gullible half-wit who never fails to make one smile and sometimes even laugh. Through the entire span of me being a kid and growing into a woman of 33, Suppandi has never disappointed me. The Suppandi tales are not conceived by 'creative' professionals who sit in air-con rooms but children who send their contribution to the book. Sometimes even the name Suppandi makes me laugh out loud. Such is the charm of Suppandi.


I also immensely enjoy reading the folk-tales which are again sent by children across the country. The stories are delightful and always carry a lesson in the end. Most of them are happily ever after stories but still retain a  rustic charm and simplicity. The characters are quintessentially Indian and consist of Indian sensibilities and customs -- mostly characters from rural India which also include kings, queens, princes and lovely princesses.

Anant Pai (1929-2011), the father of Indian comics who started Tinkle
The witty tales of Birbal and Nasserudin Hodja make you nod in admiration for the proper use of common sense. Their prudence stands directly in contrast with Suppandi's folly and dumb mind. Those days, friends who sometimes did not understand what we conveyed were nick-named Suppandi!

Wisdom, ethics for living and answers about the unknown working of the Universe and its mysteries were the staple diet doled out by Tinkle in every one of its issues. Moreover, our parents never objected us reading the comic book and sometimes they themselves enjoyed reading an issue now and then, when time permitted. Parental guidance and regulations were not needed while one indulged in the stories and articles in Tinkle.

Well, I can go on and on about Tinkle and its charm on me but how did I arrive at this topic. I picked up few copies of the book while on the train from a man who was selling them when the train was slowly trudging through West Bengal. Tinkle has always been my faithful travel companion for a very long time now and my sister and I are aficionados of this wholesome treat. Whether I will outgrow Tinkle is a question I have asked myself many times but every time I postpone the answer, perhaps, knowing the answer only too well.

Have you read Tinkle? Is there something  local like Tinkle that you used to read or even read now?

Image 1: Internet
Image 2: Internet
Image 3: Internet

28 comments:

  1. Oh I also used to love Tinkle , Champak and Chandamama!

    You know my mother has got all of them neatly bound together and I still read them sometimes for fun :)

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    1. Ah, even I remember Champak and Chandamama. The Indian comics were best suited for us. Not that I dislike the Western ones but these ones had our flavour.

      And, a thousand likes for your amma.

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  2. smiles...this looks fun...i def love the old comics, the easy humor and art work...the one i like to read here is called get fuzzy....about a man and his cat....

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  3. To liken a comic magazine to Cleopatra! ....Bravo!
    -Portia

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    1. Well, both Tinkle and Cleopatra have no comparisons!

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  4. Shikari Shambhu was my favorite Tinkle character...i wanted to grow those long whiskers he had too (when i gre up)..somehow i have never been able to, or find the right pith hat that shikari shambhu used to wear...some characters remain evergreen with us...

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    1. Sometimes Shambu gets on my nerves but I like him anyway.

      I am planning to popularise this comic to everyone I know ;)

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  5. I dont rememeber Tinkle , maybe i am too old :)

    i do rememebr chandamama, chacha chaudhary. and other comics that i had ..

    ohh the good old days

    Bikram's

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    1. Ah, you might have just forgotten, Bikramji. The old days were definitely good esp when we think of them now.

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  6. Tinkle...loved it then and now too.

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  7. This took me down the memory lane... We used to wait so keenly for the new edition of Tinkle, Champak and Nandan...
    Recently, we bought 10 Amar Chitra Kathas for our son and the first thing I did after reaching home was read all them... Fun, wisdom and wit packed in few pages!! :)

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    1. We grew up in the same time which was rich and wonderful, Shilpa. Hope your children enjoy them as well.

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  8. Aha! Susan, you make me feel nostalgic. Another such source of my childhood reading entertainment was Chandamama. I used to like it sooo very much! Even we used to sniff at its mint-fresh pages!

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    1. Welcome to the Meanderings Nanda and as you have rightly mentioned, this post was born out of nostalgia and the evergreen quality of those magical comics.

      Glad to see you here.

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  9. I have not read Tinkle, but being a child of immigrants, I grew up learning a new language and it was the comic books that helped me doing that.;)
    Hope you are well dear Susan, have a great weekend,
    xoxo

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    1. Glad to have you commenting here, Zuzana. I know. The comic books taught us so many things and I am so very thankful to them.

      I am good and enjoying the rains here, dear Zuzana.
      xoxox

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  10. I have pleasently read Tinkle till I was in 12th. Our school library had their subscription I would go there only to read it *fond memories*

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    1. Welcome Ritika.

      Fond memories and collective memories - Tinkle occupies a place in both memories :)

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  11. That was a nostalgic post Susan . I still love grabbing a copy of Tinkle :) and I liked suppandi and tantri the mantri best of all . If I remember correctly there used to be a series based on science too - a professor kind of character and a bunch of school kids !

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    1. After a long time, J. Good to see you. Yes, Professor Anu and the kids.

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  12. Tinkle, Gokulam, Chandamama and Target when I was about 11 :)

    Shikari Shambhu and Kaalia the clever crow were my favourite characters!

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    1. Mahesh, I do remember Target. It was given to me by a neighbour who used to work in the India Today group. He has become a big man now :)

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  13. I get it regularly at my place, but don't read it. My elder son just loves it. I do remember reading it when I was younger. I especially recall Supandi and Shikari Shambhu. I was more into Chacha Chowdhury, Nandan, Champak and Parag :).

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  14. Oi ma!! You have taken me on a time travel Susan! :) I love Tinkle to bits, though I grew out of Champak and Gokulam, I still read Tinkle.

    I share the stories with my kid cousins and they 'assume' Anni is a great story teller! :D Anant Pai is a genius, he has no idea the number of lives he has touch by bringing smiles!

    Do stop by my blog! I'd love your comments & visits!!

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