In my childhood reading story books was looked down upon by my elders. We used to subscribe to a newspaper and then later a weekly magazine. I read the daily comics in the newspaper, Modesty Blasé and Phantom. Phantom catered to curiosity and Modesty Blasé often titillated. I was repeatedly chided for wasting time on reading comics! As for stories I got to hear of many from the elders, primarily my mother. They were mostly stories about religious figures. Not very interesting.
A cover page of Chandamama 1948.
Then I was introduced to Chandamama. Now this surely was a treasure of stories that too with illustrations. Easy to read, superbly written and offering variety. The stories of course created a long-ago-in-the-past atmosphere and usually had Kings or princes somewhere. But they also had the common folk. They were accompanied by pictures that aided our visualization of the time and place of the stories.
Later, I would read Chandamama in English. Here again, the stories were lucidly written, held my interest all along. There surely wasn’t nothing in them that titillated but they got you hooked.
I think my interest in reading and later even writing has something to do with this excellent publication. All these came to my mind when reading on the rediff site a feature on Chandamama. It has completed 60 years of publication! Cheers!
Their website is: http://www.chandamama.org/
Chandamama for me for a long time simply meant the Vikramadity stories. With Betala on King Vikramaditya’s shoulders, it had that extra attraction. You can read some here.
I remember picking up a Chandamama a couple of years ago for old time sake! My daughter doesn’t share with me the same enthu for Chandamama. That is understandable; the entertainment quotient of this book is reduced for her generation growing up as they do on multimedia entertainment. For me, forgive the tone of nostalgia, Chandamama was the ultimate source of entertainment. No wonder my father would censure me whenever he saw me with a copy of Chandamama. Well, it only increased the excitement as one read stories and had the thrill of cheating on one’s father at the same time!!!
Hip Hip Hurray! Chandamama.