Recently Sid shared some of his super hero creations with us. And that created a ripple of nostalgic memories, a blast from the past.
Around 15+ years back, I was hooked to some Indian comics when I spent some years of my life in North India. Most of these comics were in Hindi and very few in English. Everyone in school read Raj comics or Diamond comics and even I tried reading a few of them and instantly fell in love with them. I am pretty sure that folks who stay in South India will not be aware of these comics, since most of these were in Hindi.
I gave myself a memory test and tried to remember as many characters from these comics as possible, and to my surprise, I could remember most of them, though I seem to have forgotten some of them. We stayed in a layout called Sonari West layout and there was a market very close (at walking distance) called Kaagal Nagar (I have no idea what that means). We often used to visit this market and get everything we wanted from there. There was a small comic books shop which would lend these books like a library does. I think they charged some 50 paise per book (not sure). I would borrow 2 or 3 of them at a time and then later on, return them for a new set of comics.
I also own some of these comics and everytime I look at them, I become nostalgic. I remember all my old friends and wonder what they would be doing now. I lost touch with all of them atleast 10 years back 🙂 My most favourite super hero in these comics was “Super commando Dhruv” (of Raj comics) who was a resident of Rajnagar. I also loved his extra-ordinary bike. Another super hero that I was crazy about was “Naagraj” (of Raj comics), who was from a place called “Nagadweep“, full of snakes and icchadari naags (snakes which can take a human form whenever they want). Nagaraj and Dhruv often appeared in the same comic book as they fought a villain together. I also remember reading loads of books belonging to another super hero called “Agniputra Abhay” (of Diamond comics). These three happened to be my favourite superheroes who could defeat any enemy; Naagraj could even shoot some snakes at his enemies, the way Spiderman shoots web.
There were other comics which were funny like Bankelal (again Raj comics), who was like a stupid person but I liked his comics too. There was Doga too but I dont remember much about him. Diamond comics had a huge collection of funny stories like Chacha Choudhary, whose brain used to work faster than a computer and his nephew Sabu. Whenever Sabu gets angry, a volcano starts erupting lava somewhere 🙂 There was Raman too, a married man; Shrimatiji who was a married lady; Pinky was a cute girl and Billu a small boy who had a series of books in their name. All these were the creations of a cartoonist named Pran.
Apart from these, I also loved reading Phantom (the ghost who walks) and Mandrake the magician, which were published by Indrajal comics. DC comics published Superman comics which was another favourite of mine. I faintly remember reading Angootelaal‘s adventures too, which were published by Manoj Chitra Katha. There were many other books which did not have a superhero but gave a nice message. Most of them were mythology based and had a moral at the end.
Blondie was one of my favourites (thanks to dad who liked it so much). I never missed reading it in the newspaper. First thing I would do as soon as the newspaper came in the morning was turn to the comics page and read all of them. My other favourites included the lazy cat, Garfield. Amar Chitra Katha publication had these mythology based comics and I make it a point to gift them to the kids these days.
I recently got hold of an old hindi comic of mine and tried to read it. You will not believe me if I say I took 10 mins to read one page and thus lost interest in reading the book. 😦 I guess that’s because it has been ages since I read anything written in hindi. My hindi has deteriorated a lot in these years. But I still love my age old super heroes, even though Spiderman, He-man, Batman, Tintin, Richie rich, Dexter entered into my life.
The good news is that Raj comics still publishes these comics. I found out that my favourite Dhruv and Naagraj are still in demand even now. 🙂