Saturday, 4 July 2009


Dark was the night and weird the atmosphere. It rained from time to time. Gusts of wind shook the nearby forest. Between thunderclaps and the moaning of jackals could be heard the eerie laughter of spirits. But King Vikramaditya swerved not. He climbed the ancient tree once again and brought the corpse down. He flung it over his shoulders and walked towards the cremation ground with a determination to keep complete silence as he had vowed to the sage.

However, as soon as he began crossing the desolate cremation ground, with the corpse lying on his shoulder, the spirit that possessed the corpse said, "O King, I can't understand what your aim is. What is it that you wish, for which you're undergoing such difficulties? It is midnight, pitch dark, and no one can see anything. Aren't you frightened? Why are you risking your life amidst wild animals, ghosts, and poisonous creatures? Its been decades already since you first started this silly routine. Aren't you tired already?"

'I sure am', mumbled King Vikramaditya to himself, careful not to break his vow of silence. He kept walking.

"Well, I'm out of ideas and exotic names to weave a long story. So let me ask you a mathematical question."

'Dammit......should've paid attention during those darn arithmetic classes', thought the King to himself, and waited for the question to be thrown at him.

Betaal continued, "Someshwar from Janakpuri in the Kingdom of Ujjain, joined the Varanasi University. He had 4 subjects in the last year of his study. If he scored 37, 45, 29 and 33 respectively out of 100 in each subject, and needed an aggregate score of 35% in order to clear the course, what was his academic result? If you know the answer and still keep mum, your head will be blown into a thousand pieces."

Already feeling his head reel at the seemingly tricky riddle, the naive King shrugged his shoulders and said, "Pass".

"Holy've got it right again eh? But you've broken your vow of silence again, silly boy! Hah!", laughed Betaal, and zoomed off, back towards the ancient tree.

But when he reached the spot, the tree had fallen. A couple of chainsaw-wielding men, were sitting on its massive trunk, already calculating how many tonnes of timber they had laid their hands on.

With no where else to dangle from, the spirit, carrying the corpse with it, went back and clung to King Vikramaditya's drooping shoulders.


Wonder how many of you have ever read the Indian comic books of old, like 'Chandamama' and 'Tinkle'. I grew up with them. I preferred Chandamama more than Tinkle, coz Tinkle had more of rustic slapstick humor, the kind they have on the gazillion stand-up comedy shows we have on TV nowadays. Champak was a strict no-no, it had terrible English. Chandamama on the other hand had lovely stories, with morals and learnings. MAny of these stories were based on mythology, the vedas, and ancient Indian History.

Unforunately, today's kids are hooked onto Archie's. Which I personally feel is more suitable to 'tweens'.



  1. ah.. and that was a story wid a moral as well. Better than the ones that came in Amarchitrakatha.
    And funny as well :)

  2. Nice story... :)

    I am the same as u...
    never read archie's..
    Summer vacations used to brings loads of chandamama,twinkle and amar chitra katha... :)

  3. hehe.ive read chandamama.infact these thers a serial vikram betaal..i watch even tht :P

  4. that was really reallyy thotful!
    awsome yaar... thats some imagination man...
    gr8 post...
    waise i read more of tinkle and champak and tintin...
    never read chandamama though... but i obviously know vikram-betal... have watched plenty of it on DD national!

  5. Never read Archies..
    Champak was fun though :P
    Chandamama.. was AWESOME

    The fanatastic..
    I wish the kids get to read this

  6. Ah.. thats a nice way to state the moral. It's like the story came out of the moral and not vice versa :)

  7. Very nice story indeed and one that comes with a moral... perfect!!

  8. I like I like... I do agree wid ur point of kids not readin ur Chandamamas n Amarchitrakathas nemore.. But point bein, they hardly read at all.. Forget Archies as well... Its ridiculous... Cartoons, sports and movies rule their minds!!!

  9. heyy thanks for remembering those good old days...and moreover that was a story with a great moral as well!!
    Whenever i get a chance I still read those stuffs..'stealing from nephew's or niece' :P
    Sometimes I never mind fighting with them to get this out :P

    Good work....


  10. :)Nice post!! :)

    He he ..I still go to crossword whenever I get time and manage to read my favourites from Tinke for "FREE"... :D


  11. And ya aajkal to ebooks ka zamana hai.........


    Why spend money buying those Harry Potter books[or any other],when all of them are available online...and that too free of cost!

  12. woah!! that was unexpected :)...pleasant surprise! save the trees!

  13. i never liked archies! and one another amarchitrakatha fan here.. reminds me of stories that i used to read with wide eyes when i was a kid!

  14. LOLzzzzz. I was shocked to see the pic. I LOVED Vikram Betaal stories in Chandamama ... I just loved Chandamama, Tinkle, ACK and of course even Archies.

    Loved the story :)) It was damn cute with a wonderful message

  15. those stories had morals ..err than love triangles

    nice one..

  16. i had neva read dis one...n it got me laughin... even d dead need trees! now that's real thoughtful..nice post :)



  17. Er. y do u feel it is a must to dwell on kiddish, yet rich Indian classical story books like tinkle, chandamama n champak? Although, they r moralistic and nice to read, isnt it wiser to dwell on a higher language story book that could improve the vocabulary and thinking as well?

  18. @mikimbizi - Hehe. that was intended to be a funny take on the series. Thanx :)

  19. @The Vitruvian Boy - Yeah, I loved those books. My vacations used to be spent reading loads of these

  20. @sunflower - yea i know abt that serial. The serial wasn't even half as interesting as the book though

  21. @Pranay - Well, yea, a visit to some random blog reminded me of the series, and I wondered how I'd write it if I had to be an author for the magazine.

    Now I think I'd be a terrible writer, coz I just ended the series :P

  22. @Alisha - Naw, I don't want kids to read this. They'd kill me for putting an end to the series. No Vikram-Betaal :P

  23. @Netika Lumb - Hehe. Well, actually, the moral was a last minute addition. :P

  24. @Tabitha - Oh yea, nowaday's kids like that no-good "shinchan". Its ridiculous!!!

  25. @sajith viswam - Damn! I dun have any children in my whereabout. And then again, itll be embarassing to ask for it :P

  26. @Where thoughts are Word$ - Tinkle at crosswords? Kya baat kar rahi ho? Sahi! :p Just need a quiet corner where no one can see me in that case :P

    nahi yaar, ebooks mein itna maza nahi aata. My idea of perfect reading is sleeping on the bed under a full-swinging fan and turning the pages. The illustrations and the smell also are worth dying for. Ebooks mein yeh sab kahan yaar?

  27. @Misty Rhythm - Unexpected? Wow! u just made my day :D

    Cheers :)

  28. @manorath - yeah dude! those were the days...sigh

  29. @Adisha - Well the pic was pretty easy to find, but the exact wordings for the beginning of the story was a real treasure hunt :P

    Thnx :)

  30. @Sorcerer - Thanks man :)

  31. @Malavikka - erm..have we missed the point here? :P

  32. haha! I loved my tinkles and chandamamas, have a stack of them still. I remember those days, where i will never get on a train journey without getting a tinkle from the book store there :)

  33. @Zany - U still have some?

    Please mail me a few yaar!! PLZ!!!! [:P]

  34. i have told u over the chat but i thought this deserves a comment :- i loveeeeddd it :-) :-) :-) the twist was great!!!


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