the one where my childhood (literally) flashes before my eyes

As a kid growing up in the the (great) 90’s Chandamama/Champak/Tinkle/Gokulam was a permanent fixture in our household. Every ‘it’s coming this weekend’ bro and I would camp out at the dwarabandham(gate) waiting for the paperwala to make an appearance. Post paper delivery the household would resemble a menagerie of animals at an African jungle watering hole.  Dad would take his Hindu, Mom her Swati, Bro would carefully extract his ‘Young-World’ and I would dash off into a corner with my spoils.

Before I was introduced to the world of magic spells and charms Vis-à-vis Enid Blyton and her Faraway tree, Vikram and Betal did it for me.

I last read a copy Chandamama in 1998 from my room overlooking the Bay of Bengal before switching over my loyalties to Target. After a brief pause; musing over the lost innocence of childhood a little bit of googling took me to and lo a few clicks latter I began to tear up.

The opening lines of vikram betal:

Dark was the night and weird the atmosphere­­­­­. It rained from time to time; gusts of wind shook the trees. Between thunderclaps and the moaning of jackals could be heard the eerie laughter of spirits. Flashes of lightning revealed fearsome faces.

Yep. Reading it now still gives me  goosebumps.

Nostalgia hits hard. Like a wall of bricks. Greek, nostalgia literally means the pain from an old wound. It’s a twinge in your heart, far more powerful than memory alone. This device isn’t a space ship, it’s a time machine. It goes backwards, forwards. It takes us to a place where we ache to go again. It’s not called a wheel, it’s called a carousel. It lets us travel the way a child travels. Round and a round, and back home again. To a place where we know we are loved. ~ Don Draper, Mad Men

Sometimes I just love how technology in collusion with the internet makes it possible to recreate a memory I had long given up as being forgotten or deleted.

Oh did I mention I devotedly followed Vikram Betal on Doordarshan. The Betal guy used to be so scary and a permanent fixture in many a nightmares growing up.  Now I looked this picture up.  All I see is an old guy in a bad wig and shitty makeup. The terrors a child’s mind paints!

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