Wednesday was my private Hell. The dentist visited our colony every Wednesday. I was a perennial victim to his drills . Martyred, bloodied and deeply wounded, I found joy and consolation in the colorful book my Father gently pushed into my hands. And I fell irrevocably in love!
I still remember the tale of the Princess whose petulant whim for a necklace woven of sparkling tears had her indulgent Father putting to death all those who failed, thus creating a deluge of tears in his Kingdom.
And of course Vikram, perseverant King and Vetaal, the smug, know-all corpse. There was a tale with a murky twist at end; which needed a wise solution from Vikram, otherwise ‘his head would be chopped into a hundred slices…’ Every tale ended with Vetal swinging mockingly at Vikram with a promise of ‘Better luck Next time…’
Now that I look back, children’s stories were as gory then as now. But what fun!!!
Then came Anand Pai (our original Enid Blyton) with Amar Chitra Katha (Immortal Pictorial Tales, translated literally). My fav was Padmini, the Rajput Queen whose peerless beauty had Allaudin Khilji lusting for ‘Ek nazar’. She consented him a glimpse of only her reflection.Then followed a rousing tale of chivalry, Rajput vows and Jauhar-self immolation.
Years later, when I visited Chittor, I saw the architectural feat. These are the steps on which her reflection could be seen. However they are constructed so amazingly, that if Khilji turned for a glimpse in flesh, all he saw were the steps!
click here : How I stocked my own library using 25 paise coins, Crossword trips with cappuccino and more …