Friday, 14 May 2010

My treasure chest

It is a roll-out day. I have time. I write. I post. I feel good.

This story is all about memories. We all have a treasure chest of memories. We compartmentalise it and give it tags. Some people like me literally do it, yes I am the Monica Geller variety - everything needs to be tagged, with different coloured tags and written on with different colours. So, this memory story which I want to write is on my comic collection.

I pride over my comic collection. It is a cheerful collection of Amar Chitra Kathas which are so so dated, that I am a potential envy item for every comic reader person. I know for a fact, it is true with people around me. This treasure chest, I have inherited of sorts from my father - papa.

My papa made sure my older sisters and I started reading at a very young age. We lived in a small place called Hubli. Growing up has some awesome memories, which I shall unravel as I go along writing and posting. Papa introduced us to all sorts of books. We had books everywhere. We had a humungous wooden chest with a thick, really heavy latch in our garge which housed all our comics which included the Amar Chitra Kathas, that I am speaking about. The chest by the way, still exists - latch and all. But the comics have been shifted out to a big carton. Which is not fun anymore to look at, as it just serves the purpose of stocking.

I faintly remember getting at least four new Amar Chitra Kathas a month. While I was still little and in the "pictures enjoying only" phase, I was not a threat to my older siblings, who conveniently managed their turns to read. Once I started posing as a massive threat, we had to actually draw out a "chart of turns" to read the newest copy. We had huge fights, which ended in each one of us writing our names on the comic. I have loads of such ones. It is so wonderful to see them and remember scribbling your own name with the same reciprocating anger with which you had scratched your sister's name...

Every summer or any other break and even a weekend (provided we had done our homework) we have spent with these comics. Other than Amar Chitra Kathas, our treasure chest accommodated other comics like Tinkle, war comics, school girl comics which are dated 1940s and are in tabloid size, Indrajals (gosh - The Phantom, Bahadur, Mandrake), Judy and Bunty and a whole bunch of them, to name just a few. The niceness of my this memory story is that, I and my sisters can go back to visit them not just with our imagination, but visit the moments in real time. The comics, each one of them have stood test of time, poor management (once we all left home, my folks didn't take care of them much) and ignorance. I firmly believe it is the unconditional bond that has held "us" all together.

Time passed by and all three of us left home. But, secretly we have individually carried the memory of this treasure chest. One day, while I missed home, I decided to revive the treasure chest and give it a new home and a new extended life time. So on my recent trip back home, I went with an empty bag and found myself plonked in front of the huge carton. I sorted the comics with my Monica Geller precision and prepared my first installment to bring the comics to their new home. I got all the Amar Chitra Kathas in this trip.

It is insane to see the prices on these ACKs. Rs. 2/- to begin with and the max I have realised that my papa paid for these are Rs. 8/-. Ridiculous.. I see an attempt of reviving these at book stores today and they are seriously, obnoxiously priced. But I guess I am seeing these books through the lens of my memories and my treasure chest. Which is utterly unfair. So, I rather respect the movement in time, shut up and live on with my memories.

I now hope to bring the other comics over a period of time. Restore them. Pass on to the next generation, who I hope will have similar fondness towards them. If not, then it is a generation loss. Though I would continue to visit my memories through my treasure chest, each time I feel even a little grown-up.

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