If you grew up in India, it is pretty likely that you love(d) Tinkle. It was pretty much the only English comic I read as a kid. We never subscribed to it – back then, money was scarce. I loved train journeys since I would get a Tinkle. Every issue I had was read and re-read a zillion times.

I couldn’t pick a favourite character – doob doob, shikari shambu, suppandi, kapish, … A farmer’s wife had to be Lajjo. The princess was always very intelligent and married people who could answer trick questions – what a great way to pick a husband.I loved them all… When I started earning, I subscribed to Tinkle. I still get it regularly.

But Tinkle has changed. With the arrival of computers, their pictures look different – there are much more colours and all, but it is not the same. And that’s not all. The stories have changed. You can’t find Lajjo packing lunch for her husband who works in the farm. No kapish with an extendable tail. And has Kalia retired? Tantri either doesn’t get Dushtabuddhi to help, or he doesn’t want to be the king any more. Suppandi is getting even more stupid  (standing in the field to get a Nobel prize? – Atleast give some more background. How do I explain this story to a kid?) Instead, they have butterfingers, mopes and purr and all kinds of different stories. I find them distasteful. Totally. There are a few good items – but rare. When I put down the book after reading, it feels like a waste of time.

Is it me or Tinkle? I don’t think it is me – I still love Enid Blyton, Harry Potter, and the back issues of Tinkle. Probably the child in me is still in older times.


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