Chacha Chaudhary & I

Chacha Chaudhary & I
Does he need any introduction? I guess not. But for those unaware, please check out the Wikipedia entry.

Chacha Chaudhary & I have a history, a history that spans almost two and a half decades.

I was a late bloomer and learned my alphabets quite late. No, it is definitely not because I was dimwitted. I was, and I still am, a genius, as you may have noticed if you frequent my blog. It is just that I hated going to school. You don’t know that story about me, do you? No worries, you can read my short memoir Ctrl Z. Don’t be fooled by the title. It has a lot of fun stories from my childhood.

As I was saying, I learned my alphabets late. Once I did, I was good at them. I read Umang and Noor as a kid. Any and every book Urdu I could get my hands on. But there were others, more interesting once, that I couldn’t read.

Most of it were old syllabus books, and some books that my Chacha bought from raddi for his grocery store to make paper pouches.

I remember the one where the goons would strange crockery in the road and if it gets smashed they’d ask for money.

And the one with magic wand where the owner would summon the wand by saying “डंडे, डंडे, आ, आ”.

My sister and I used to pretend to know magic and would utter those chants hoping for magic.

All of this was when I was in third standard. Hindi wasn’t part of our syllabus until then. In that year and that next, I read all the comic books I could – Chacha Chaudhary and Naag Raaj being two of them. Of course, I liked Chacha Chaudhary more than I liked Naag Raaj, even though it had an element of fantasy that I loved – Snake in a human body.

So, my sister used to read it to me when I was young. Gradually, I learned to map the sounds with the designs on the page. Soon, I was able to read the comics on my own. This is one solid way to learn to read.

I have another interesting story behind Chacha Chaudhary comics. So, I learned to read Hindi by reading these comics. When I was enrolled to class 5, the first period on day 1 was Hindi. Our teacher taught us the barakhadi. A girl named Neha was able to read it fluently. The teacher wrote a few basic sentences and asked her to read. Neha was able to read some, but falutered in others.

I was reading those sentensces under my breath, too scared to raise my hand and offer to read. The teacher noticed me, though. She asked me stand up, and read those sentences. I read all of them. She then asked me to read a couple of pages from the book. I did that too. She was astonished.

Then, she called me near her and asked. “Have you learned Hindi already?”

I said, “no.”

“Where and how?”

“I used to read books,” I responded sheepishly. Because I thought reading anything apart from textbook was wrong.

“Which books did you read?”

Now friends, I did not know the word “comics” until then. For me, a book was a book . It can be a text book or otherwise like Umang and Noor (the monthly magazines for kids). I had a hard time explaining the kind of books I read. finally, she asked me the names from the book. And, I told her. Chacha Chaudhary and Sabu.

So, when I found that these comics are available on Kindle, I went crazy. I’ve browsed through a few of those digests on my Kindle app. I hope to review them individually, soon. The first one, my review for Chacha Chaudhary Digest 1 and Chacha Chaudhary Digest 4 is posted.

Do you have any reading stories from your childhood? Please, do share.

I’ll be posting about more such stories soon. Stay tuned and stay blessed.

Shabana Mukhtar

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