Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Yes, I am a great fan of Amar Chitra Katha (pretty good site, btw) comics. We practically grew up on them and learnt stories of history, mythology and adventure through these comics. If it were not for ACK, I am sure we would have never read our history. History books in school were drab and dreary with lines upon lines of text. These comics were a wonderful break - they brought history to life. Tatya Tope (and Yashwanti) was among my favourite history lessons when I was a kid and how these comics brought him and the story to life! I am sure Kathy Sierra would be proud to see how history/mythology seeps in through these comic books without the brain realizing that its "dull history" that we are reading.
When dad came from office (his newspaper vendor got him the latest copies) with an ACK or a Tinkle, he would quietly take it out of the bag and put it on the table. And then we would fight - the two of us. Finally, both of us got to read (though I suspected for a long time that my brother only saw the pictures). Post that it went into a plastic bag and then into a trunk (yes, the old metal one). The first day of vacation, actually the last day of exams, the trunk would be brought down with much fanfare. In it were our comics, games and what not. Each time we took the trunk down, we pretended to have forgotten what was inside. We even knew every single panel from every single comic - that was the number of times we had read it. But, no, we would read it over and over again. And then some exchanges of books with neighbours and friends meant that pretty much we had read through every single issue ever. As we grew older, we bound many issues into a big book so that managing them was easier. And as we went to graduate studies, we gave them away to libraries, cousins and pretty much anybody who asked. Big mistake. They were heirlooms! And out went ACK of our lives.
Only to return. When junior was ready for books, we invested a fair amount into books of various types. But something was missing. And then we "discovered" ACK once again. And since then, we have building our collection slowly but surely. Of all the books we have seen on Indian mythology, history, kings, saints we have ACK to be the best as far as ease of reading, authentic storylines and value for money. One thing, it is far easier to get back issues today from their online site or from various bookstores. And it was heartening to read this...