Category Archives: Books and Comics

#A2ZChallenge: T is for Tintin

Dear Tintin

If there was something called a platonic crush (most crushes end up becoming platonic, involuntarily though, if you think of it), I would so have it for you. You and your lovable menagerie are the best fairytales of all times. The taller, unbound version of each single title could launch monthly dreams, back in the dark ages where I grew up. Where bookstores and a cycle were the ONLY portkey to a life less ordinary. I could never save enough to buy more than three, and even manipulated friends to forsake theirs on my account. Once told an unsuspecting greenhorn that The Blue Lotus was not actually Herge’s Tintin, so they would sever ties with it. That did not work. So, in the What’s Not to Love section of our report today (we will keep the allegations of racism for another day):

Captain Haddock: sober, inebriated, any which way

T is for TintinThe first cuss words I learnt were “Blistering Barnacles”. Ok, not the first ones but these are the most resplendent, and that’s how all profanity should be. Of course, this is never sold single. It is accompanied with a recital of other sea and aquatic-focused curses. Sometimes, when I have been mad at someone at work (everyday, thrice), I have pictured Captain Haddock yelling abuses at the slave trader who is sailing away in the Red Sea Sharks title, and when Tintin says that they have sailed out of earshot, the Captain walks out on the deck with a loudspeaker and starts his thundering playlist again. How can you not swoon over a man who refuses to bow to the laws of physics and wind velocity! I would totally do that to a slave trader, and also to lesser defaulters. Unlike Captain Haddock, I do not drink so I overcompensate by harboring murderous thoughts against co-workers.

Also, “Interplanetary Goat” deserves some ink all of its own. And the always pummeled “guardian angel” who wants the Captain to watch both his temper and his tequila.

Snowy, in and as very imaginative name

TintinBefore Milo in “The Mask” and that Tuffy, in our own local social masterpiece, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, Snowy was busy fighting crime. Rephrase that. By and large, he was hanging around to get tipsy on his whiskey, and sometimes, for no fault of his, he would become an unlikely hero. In between almost becoming Lord Shiva’s offering and bouncing about in space, Snowy is the only sane voice in the outfit. Shocking as it may sound, he voices caution into Tintin’s audacious sense of adventure and sometimes dutifully warns the Captain of the arrival of Abdullah.

The Stories

If you grew up reading Indrajal, Amar Chitra Katha and Tintin, with intermittent phases when you could afford or steal Asterix and Obelix, you could become an astrophysicist. You just knew so much. As a sampling, Al Capone, Native Americans, Stolen Treasures, African warlords, Intergalactic Magicians, Pirates, Emeralds, Spaceships, Inca Warriors, Eccentric Scientist ready for the moon, Frozen Egyptologists, evil Greek tycoons whose demise remains inconclusive, hospitable Indian kings, Bowler Hats and the two accompanying Scotland Yard’s “best” detectives and the abominable snowman. It’s a smorgasbord of stories that could enrich any bedtime chatter or light up a rainy evening. And who better than to deliver the best lines but Snowy.

Tintin is not Tintin per se, it’s like the Marvel Universe but more adorable and where you can understand all the hipster talk. A family of oddballs sprinkled with all-star winners at the World Cuteness Awards. Thomsons, the professor, Nestor, the Sheikh, Oliveira da Figueira, and even, Ms Castafiore and her beauty past compare.


Certified Diplodocus


#A2ZChallenge: K is for K

Dear K

You remember what happened with Pluto in 2006? Gus has still not gotten over it.

There Pluto was, minding its business rotating on an axis, playing ice-ice baby, when it was demoted to “dwarf planet”. By one diabolical International Astronomical Union (IAU). If I did n’t know better, I would say “so caricaturish that Inspector Pradyuman might have come up with this.” #LifeLongCIDFan #BreakThatDoorDaya

Don’t let that happen to you. K, you are a competent alphabet. You don’t have the joie-de-vivre of Q and you don’t have the hipster quality of Z. But hey, you score me 5 on Scrabble (just by yourself), and that is one point more than Y. So, you are in the prime of your career, prospects wise. And as we speak, scientists are discovering three new German/ Finnish words starting with K that mean something dope (am talking to you, Fernwah). If the stars are aligned, a Hollywood celebrity has set out to sea to adopt a child, he who shall be named with a K.

Time was, it was K for Cat, sorry C for CAT

The final frontier is still the “who are you for?” It was always C is for Cat. However, several cats now come with a K note address. Whether Krazy Kat or KitKat or Kat, of long-form Katrina Kaif. If you are clever, you can see what the C team is doing. By snagging the symbolic victories, they are holding onto “C is for Cat” in toddler books. Go for the jugular, K. Get the Dr Suess book title changed to Kat in the Hat. K is for Katniss. Every kool kat is a k-cat. C, see you are losing the plot.

The K Mojo, not to be confused with just KJo

You have an X factor going for you.

  • Most people want to say OK, but they just say ‘K instead. No accident. Mojo.
  • Good stuff is named starting with you, Kermit the frog; Kebabs; King Julien (no one calls him Julien); Kangana; Kanan Gill; Keyser Soze; Kite Runner – I want to say Kardashians but let’s say Kate Middleton or Kylie Minogue and be done with it
  • Krispy Kreme is such an homage to you; not one but two alphabet usurps back-to-back. Take that C.
  • K-K-K is for k-k-k Kiran, not for anything else.

Here’s looking at you, Kid

You should settle for nothing less than every third food/drink restaurant/ restrobar/ café to be named a K. I am sure Café Coffee Day is jaded enough to switch to Kappy Kafi Day. Newer places could just be prefixed and suffixed with Kuisine or Khef or Kook. Check Webster once for the kook part though. I think you could boldly go where any C creature has been.

Ask for some barter, stand some ground, let some sand slip. For instance, you could cede Cale leaves and Caran Johar but stay firm for Konkana SenSharma and Kabootar Ja Ja Ja. Grey areas such as Cauvery and Kaveri can remain, they have got other issues right now. Ask if you can have cauliflower, Casablanca and Clooney, George transferred to K domain.

Is Ekta Kapoor still steady with you, btw? That might be Complex and Complicated, CC to C: you can keep both these words.


Your time has kome.


#A2ZChallenge: J is for Jughead Jones

Dear Jughead

You are pretty awesome. I can say that as a certified authority on Archie Comics (there was only so much quality enrichment in small-town Indic 1980s).  I have procured these comics in second sales, in bargain basement nooks, or crisp, first-hand copies at a corner bookstore when one Double Digest set me back by more than ten Tutti-Frutti ice cream units. Archie turned 75 last year btw, Happy Birthday to you, Carrot Top.

But to me, you, Forsythe Pendleton “Jughead” Jones the third, will always be the star of my first comic-book universe. You are that quintessential friend we all want yet need too. The fun that true friends can be, the rocks that they have to be and the perilous truths they must always tell.

The one we need…

The friend who gives Reggie a dressing down for being full of it, yet takes him out bowling the same day. The one who doesn’t judge Betty for being stupid-in-love with Archie, and is always around for a good cry in the end. Without having any romantic intentions, potential or otherwise. The friend who will call Ronnie for being the bitch she channels sometimes and revive her somnolent sense of righteousness, with just a passing quip.

He or she who always warns you that your idea is a terrible one, but still goes along for the ride and has the most fun. Will take your dogs for a walk and your children to the planetarium, on a Saturday. Most likely also to sit out every detention with you, while still effortlessly jesting with the Bee or Miss Grundy. When you want to go on a charity drive, she will go to every door that you missed, even the ones you did n’t know of. Also, Dilton was no nerd to Jughead, he was just his friend. It’s a good person whose friends are friends, and not labels.

 …maybe the one we want

And it won’t all be Liam Neeson noiseless  kick-assery. There will be enough tomfoolery to go around with this all-around amaze friend. Doodles about your worst fears will go up on bulletin-boards, both online and print. Every whimsy plan you make to join Golds Gym, yoga, pilates, meringue pie baking, ancient scriptures appreciation and didgeroodoo classes will be ridiculed brutally to your face, amidst large social gatherings. That said, for late evening classes, you will always call Jughead on the way back saying either that “this package is not working for me” or that “5 weeks is too long a commitment.” These are the people who always say “I told you so” but somehow never when it will rip your heart.

Also, they will not share the good grub with you because doughnuts and sundaes do not multiply when you give them away. On occasion, they will lament your taste in books and movies, and when that last argument about Chetan Bhagat’s tweets, books and screenplay goes down, there might be ugly tears.

And just for that

While Jughead has plenty weaknesses, such as an insatiable appetite for whatever you are eating or a general aversion towards the romantic of the matter, he be adorable through it all. Even Hot Dog knows that, and forgives his master for his many small transgressions.

The love for the truth, however unpleasant, successfully delivered in wry, pithy packets of nonchalance is trademark Juggy. The kind of friend you want your son or daughter to be. Take nothing seriously, unless it’s a food truck or your mother. And when its time, suit up and save Riverdale, asking for nothing in return. Quietly, one dipsy doodle at a time.


Can’t wait to get my hands on the Jughead 2.0 comics