angrezi paper; Nandan, Champak and Nanhe Samrat

One big event of my childhood was train journey. And long journey was more appreciated. We used to visit our native village during our summer vacation. We were more excited for train journey than visiting the village. Typical train journey in my childhood would start with buying a hindi kid's magazine for me. And this made an image of my mind that one buys books/magazines only during travel to kill time. There were plenty of them; Nandan, Champak, Nanhe Samrat were most popular ones. Each one has a particular class of stories. You can listen to a story from any book and you can guess without much difficulty weather the story is from Champak, Nandan or Nanhe Samrat. It was easy. If the story has animal characters, It must be from Champak. choo choo chuha, Jambo Haathi, Sher Singh, Chatur Chita were present in almost all stories. Champak had nice cartoons. It was colorful and attractive though stories were short. I used to complete it soon. If the story has characters from ancient India like King, Queen, Sultan; you better guess the source as Nandan. Nandan was more educational. It had stories with a moral. I found it boring then. I might like it now. It's paper print was also not attractive. Nanhe Samrat was more related to world around. It has characters from neighborhood like Rajesh, Sunil, Deepa. Of all, I loved Nanhe Smarat the most. One reason was the instant connection with characters. As if the characters are from my cricket team. The habit has stayed with me and I love Indian fiction. I can connect with the stories of Indian writers. I might not have matured to understand literature. Though I tried to read Wodehouse; I could not enjoy it. I wonder if these magazines are surviving. By the way, you can observe the differences in the content of three magazines is reflected very well by their cover.  In this case, you can judge a book by its cover.  I don't see kids in train reading these anymore. Kids belong to this era. They play 'Temple Run' on smartphone or listen to songs.

At my school, kids were more comfortable in my mother tongue Bhojpuri and add to that poor literacy rate among the parents; speaking English at school was a distant dream. I have been told situation is more or less the same even now. My school was more interested in making us speak Hindi. My father was very much interested in making me read/write/speak English fluently. He found out about a magazine called 'Wisdom'. He made sure to buy that for me at least for some months of year. He even switched to 'Hindustan Times' from 'Dainik Hindustan'. To tell you the truth, scrap dealers were more than happy to buy untouched newspapers and 'Wisdom'. Nobody cared for turning a single page of 'Hindustan Times' and I made sure to cover my books using angrezi newspaper. I used to show off in my school that we have subscribed to 'Hindustan Times'. On contrast Hindi newspaper was properly read. At the end of the day, Hindi newspaper must have been cursing its fate for being delivered at my home. In my mother's word, "paper ka to chatni bana diye". I used to snatch sports page on all the days except for the days when India had lost cricket match. I did not read newspaper two days back after India's humiliation by England. One funny side of this whole angrezi paper episode is that my father used to read Hindi newspaper at his friend's shop; my mother and I used to read news paper at one or other neighbor's house. My grammar is bad even now after taking classes from two English tutors in my secondary school days . Though I have improved a little from the state where I used to say, "I goes". One may think there is  a hidden phobia about English and after Chetan Bhagat latest adventure at writing; Biharis have got certificate for the same.

Nanhe Samrat



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