Friday, October 30, 2015

Adventures of Tintin with the Gujarati Grandmom

Its a hot and humid summer in suburban Bombay (that's what it was called in the 1980s). Mrs Maniben Trivedi, was baby sitting her two and half year old grandson, while her pregnant daughter was working.
Times were tough, her son-in-law was struggling to manage documents to be able to get a home loan, for his apartment. Her daughter, already pregnant with a second child, was worried about how will money come to support two children, when they could barely support one despite both of them working.

Mrs Trivedi, already had five grandchildren from her two sons, and this sixth one was the most restless. Already bored of her stories, he refused to sleep at nap time listening to the folklore of the "bodio wagh" or the man eating tiger who had his tail cut off. He would complete all her lullabies, and short stories, and said he wanted something else.
On that hot, humid sweaty month of May, Mrs Maniben Trivedi, thought up an idea to keep this little child occupied.
She picked up a comic book belonging to her older grandsons - "Tintin and the Adventures of the Unicorn", and told her grandchild #6, lets read a new story.
Now the problem was, Maniben couldn't read English, (having studied till 2nd grade in Gujarati), and her two and a half year old grandson couldn't read.
But still, looking at Herge's artwork, they deciphered a story, which they made up themselves.
There was a dog, a young boy, but the main character of their story was the older bearded guy "Captain Haddock".
A few years later, when her grandson could read, and he read that comic again, he fondly remembered the stupid plot from his childhood, which he and his grandmum cooked up.  And laughed at her inability to read English.

Many such hot, humid, sweaty summers have passed, but her grandson still remembers those afternoons. He still refuses to believe Tintin is the main character of those comics, and not Captain Haddock. He drinks like a fish, and swears like a sailor ... and tries to draw cartoons whenever he can.

Mrs Maniben Trivedi passed away at the age of 92 yesterday.
She raised 3 children - a doctor, an engineer and a lawyer.
Helped raise 7 grandchildren, and saw 10 great grandchildren.

She got married as a teenager, and spent 77 years with her husband.
One year (to the date) after her husband passed away, she succumbed to her illnesses.

Her grandchild #6, the troublesome one with the short attention span, still tries to draw and create stories, which they made up thirty years ago.
When he is not drawing, he writes his random mumblings on this blog.
And he still thanks her, for teaching him how to picture read.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey there,
Enjoyed this post. Our life has so many such beautiful stories. I have been thinking to start my blog and share those with others. But storytelling is an art and you are very good at it. Thanks for sharing :).