I grew up on a steady diet of Uncle Pai's Amar Chitra Katha. In fact, whatever little knowledge of Hindu Mythology I have, can be attributed to the Amar Chitra Katha Comics.
One of the first thick books I read was the Ramayana. It took me days to finish the book. And then I also had the Shiva Sati/ Parvati- 3 in 1 collection and the Krishna 3 in 1 collection. These were my thick hard cover Amar Chitra Kathas. Others were all single story-comics. Collected lovingly over the years, many times lent to friends, many times read, over a meal, or just like that.
We would exchange, borrow unread titles from friends, and buy new Tinkles - though not regularly for a steady supply of humour and wit.
And the good part was they came really cheap. Affordable, not like the Enid Blytons that time which we would prefer to borrow from the school library.
Amar Chitra Kathas were for keeps. They were pieces of History available for the youngsters.
Starting from mythology to the kings and queens to the freedom fighters. The freedom fighters- ah well, I somehow never liked reading about them. I was more fascinated with myths. Even the ancient kings and queens did not hold magic for me. Call me unpatriot but then that's the way I was.
I loved Tinkle or the Jatak Kathas or Panchtantra stories but nothing heldf my attention and fascination as the mythology.
When the Ramayan and Mahabharat series came on TV, it was as if the Amar Chitra Katha comics came alive for me. I already knew what is going to happen, so deep was my understanding of the epics- all because of ACK.
Uncle Pai passed away on 24th Feb. It seems that a part of nostalgia, a piece of history has left us. It leaves me with a bitter sweet sense of loss. The legacy will go on but perhaps it will never be the same again without him?
A salute to the departed soul...