A Mallu Bookworm's Nostalgia

A Mallu Bookworm's Nostalgia

  • 04 Jun 2015
  • Maria John
  • Features
Text: Varun Kannan

We don’t fight hard these days. Not like when we used to read Balarama, Baalabhoomi, Balamangalam and more. A war would be declared on Thursday evening itself, on who will get to read the copy first when it arrived next morning. It didnt just involve siblings, but parents and grandparents. Friday mornings are not the same anymore. Maybe it’s time to revisit some old friends.
If this post takes you to your attic and fish out a dusty old copy of any of these comics, let us know. Maybe we could exchange them. 

1. Balarama
Balarama gave us some of the coolest friends to grow up with. The arrow-welding, demonic yet irresistibly cute Luttapi and his superhero foe Mayavi (I always wondered why we never saw Mayavi's legs), the loveable idiotic duo of Jamban and Thumban and many more. In case you forgot what to do when in trouble, let’s remind you. Just chant “Om hreem kuttichathaa!”    

2. Balabhoomi
We all know the iconic Tintumon who troubles one and all with his scathing wit, but did you know that it was Balabhoomi who gave him to us? And so with Meesha Marjaran, the idiotic duo that made us choke with laughter with their disastrous adventures. E-man, Boli and an entourage of comic characters, it was an entire world for kids- Balabhoomi indeed!

3. Balamangalam
Ok, if you have read Balamangalam, you should have guessed by now, about the one we are gonna talk about. DINGAN!  The mouse-turned- superhero was and continues to be, a cult image. Dingaa!! was the SOS cry anyone stuck in a tragedy would send out, and Dingan would unfailingly come to help. Pulling out buses from cliffs, pushing away tiny mountains; Dingan was second only to Suresh Gopi in heroism.

4. Thathamma
Thathamma brought home Thenali Raman for us malayali kuttigal. It also featured the spunky Detective Arjun. Do you remember the series on Chandra Shekhar Azad?  Thathamma had some of the most informative content of those times. 

5. Boban and Molly
Tom’s iconic characters, the 12-year old twins were part of quite a few publications. We loved Boban and Moly for their mischief and the social scenarios they sketched. We are sure that many of you have pulled off some pranks that were inspired by this pair.    

6. Amar Chitra Katha
Amar Chitra Katha brought home stories from the Panchatantra, Ramayana; tales of the witty Birbal and the lives of great men like Gandhi. The creation of the legendary Anant Pai, the story goes that Anant discovered during a quiz show that Indian kids were better versed in Greek and Roman history and mythology than their own. This inspired him to start ACK. Pop Quiz - who is Ram’s mother in the Ramayana?

One of the earliest children’s magazines in Malayalam, Poompatta was started in 1964. Loved for its great comic strips, Poompatta was later overtaken by other publications. Well if you have never read one of this, ask someone who grew up in the  70s and 80s.

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