I haven't written in what feels like forever. Wait, it HAS been forever. :)
Uncle Pai has had such a profound impact on me growing up that I thought it was perfect for me to restart blogging with a tribute to him.
Uncle Pai defined my childhood. I don't remember seeing a picture of him ever, I couldn't just do a google image search back then, but I had this image of an average-height black-haired man with kind eyes sheltered by thick-black framed glasses with a face that had a formed smile sitting behind a desk with a pen and writing all those letters on nice paper. I was content with that image.
I actually used to find science fascinating; because of the way he told us. Unfortunately, that fascination ran out when I had to face it in a real school with real teachers. I would try and get into adventures so that I could write to him to tell him that it had happened to me and see my name in print. Most of what I know about Indian mythology is thanks to him, after my grandmothers. To me he was Santa Claus, who gave us a present every week, through the newspaper man. A Santa who knew everything about everything that there is to know.
I attribute my love for reading to him, he showed me snippets of an alternative universe through his books, a universe that I decided I wanted to explore further. Dog Detective Ranjha led me to believe that normal people could solve mysteries; Shikari Shambu taught me that luck can only help you fool other people, Tantri taught me that being cunning is not always being smart, Kalia reinforced my argument for the advantages of being small built.
I used to have every single edition I had bought at the back of a shelf that was used to store old newspapers. Everytime the raddiwala came, I used to stand and watch my parents take the newspaper out like a hawk, so that none of my books from my precious collection were unwittingly thrown away. I would read them, re-read them and re-read the re-read comics, until my parents had to intervene and say "no more tinkle" for the week. We had to give all those "books" away when we moved. That was when I realised that I was not a child anymore and had to grow up.
Thank You, Uncle Pai - for all the fond memories. I hope future generations continue to be as fascinated by Amar Chitra Kathas as we were.