Was off on a trip to different places up north in January & what a deadly weather it was this time! Chilling cold with dense fog leading to almost zero visibility on roads, did not see sunlight for the whole of 18 days during my trip and traveling to different cities was just so painful. Either flights / trains were canceled or were running abnormally late. One such trip was my return to Delhi from Varanasi via train. Though the train was running quite late but since I was traveling by train after a long time, I was sort of excited at the prospect of eating those station foods (esp. hot omelets & boiled eggs) and buying books from the station stalls. There is something very different about train journeys & buying books from railway strand stalls, it somehow makes me nostalgic about my childhood, hostel life, vacations when I used to go home by train and definitely – definitely used to buy books from station hawkers –comics, magazines, novels (of course only those which were affordable in my very limited budget then ;)) …aha loads of them which I used to devour on whole journey. And so when the train stopped at a small station during this trip in the morning, the first thing which my eyes started to search for was a magazine stall. Even with dense fog, it was not difficult to spot a vendor just outside my window and guess what! He was having Billoo! And Pinki! And Chacha Chowdhary too
! Oh wow…ultimate delight I must say. After how long, I got to see those comics. I do get to buy Archies & Tintin while book browsing on Airports or during my occasional book shopping in Bangalore but then Billoo, Pinki and that too hindi versions are almost extinct from these big city book stores. If I’m not wrong today’s generation kids must not be even aware of these iconic Indian comic characters. In fact these kids esp. the ones from bigger cities are so Archified or Tintinised that they can’t even relate to the simple existence of a character like Billoo or Pinki
. I remember few months back, one of my cousin’s son reading English Billoo and saying, “ yeh kya bakwaas hai,yeh bhi koi comic hai”! When my cousin tried to explain the fun part of it, the kiddoo replied, “Mom, I can’t laugh at these stupid jokes”. Slamming the book on table, that 9 year old kid logged onto his Orkut account and started chatting with his friends.
But for me reading those comics after soooo long was great fun. Read it at a stretch & then after seeing a Billoo in my hand, even pati ji got out of his deep sleep and grabbed the book immediately :-). Even after all these years, I didn’t get bored of even one single page. Yeah, at times did get the feeling of “did we actually read all these silly stuffs” but then honestly speaking I love such silliness till now. Long live Indian comic characters – Billoo Rocks, Pinki Rules & Chacha Chowdhary ka dimag abhi bhi computer se tez chalta hai 😛