The onset of summer and the lazy afternoons brought back the fond memories of the children’s magazine Chandamama to the fore. After the hectic exam season, we used to yarn for those endless summer holidays when we could have the luxury to sleep till late and do anything we fancied. How many of you have read the popular children's magazine, Chandamama? By VaPa In the pre-television era, it was a wholesome entertainment cum educative magazine for children. As a little girl, I had started reading pretty early; our family had subscribed to this magazine. Our days and nights revolved around the stories, pictures and the puzzles section. I recall the days when we lived in our own lovely and imaginative world. Our days used to be very relaxed and unstructured unlike that of today’s children. We enjoyed every act that we did right from watching movies twice or even thrice at the local ‘tent / touring talkies’ to running errands to buy the daily essentials like the coriander leaves or lemons! (Since we didn’t have refrigerators then, only small quantities of these perishables would be bought at any given time. I remember buying a bunch of coriander greens for 2 paise, a couple of lemons for 5 paise or the common salt for 3 paise! In those days everything seemed so cheap; an ice-candy by a vendor on his bicycle would cost just 3 or 5 paise! Only once in a couple of days, Amma would allow us to buy ice candy. On those days our ears used to stay piqued for the Ice-candy vendor’s cycle bell! Ah! How we loved that sound!) Once a fortnight we would visit some relative, sometimes we would spend a few days at their place too, or they would visit us. Meeting cousins meant an exchange of some story books, relate stories we had heard from our elders, play Antakshari or some simple games. On some hot nights, we would spread mats outside our house. After dinner, while enjoying the cool breeze, my father or paternal granny would regale us with mythological stories or share some anecdotes! During those aimless days, we used to collect Chandamama, Sudha and the other storybooks, and religiously settle in a cosy nook of our large house or the shaded area in the compound (with some snacks); it used to be real bliss to enter the world of kings, queens, Panchatantra and other stories. At home, we had a good collection of Chandamama magazines. We read them repeatedly without losing even a bit of interest. I still remember some of those stories along with their title and layout even now! My elder sister was just a year and a half older to me; we would often squabble to have the first right to glance through the magazine and also to catch up with the serial stories, especially, Vikram and Betal. We would wait endlessly on the expected day of magazine delivery and whoever got it first would then sneak into some remote corner and try reading up as much as possible before the other caught up! Many times, our parents would intervene between the warring sisters and give us the magazine turn by turn so that each would read only one story at a time or they would ask us to complete a task to earn our rights to read the magazine first. It may appear silly now but back then it was a fierce competition for one-upmanship; a do or die situation! To me everything about this magazine was attractive; whether it was the layout, stories laden with moral values, colourful paintings, the foreign story section or ‘give a suitable title’ challenge. My appetite was so much that I would read every single line right from the editorial info, index, each and every advertisement to the artist’s name on the displayed images! Thus from a very early age, I learnt to identify those artists and their styles. I remember ‘studying’ those images minutely and passing judgments too. Since my father had a good aesthetic sense, sometime he would point out errors in proportions or sciography in those images or even draw the corrected images for us. Some of those moments are still vivid in my memory; I cherish them even now. A little later, maybe when I was around six or seven years old, I would try to copy and draw some of my favourite images. Perhaps that was the beginning of my passion for fine art. M.T.V Acharya was a household name in those days because of his beautiful rendition of life-like images in Chandamama. (M.T.V. Acharya (1920 – c. 1992) was a painter, illustrator and art educator. He was well known for his work in the popular Indian children's magazine, Chandamama. He joined the Tamil version of Chandamama in 1947, and later became editor of the Kannada version. He has painted many covers for Chandamama.) On the other hand, Vepa’s works always had all the characters looking alike with distinctive features like the large eyes, curved chins and the strategically placed 'sparkles' that added glamour to his paintings! The heroic face of Vikram in Vikram and Betal was inimitably that of Sankar’s. I was always partial to Acharya’s works and loved the way he painted the images in detail including the beautiful trees in the background. To my good fortune, years later, I got an opportunity to learn fine art from him! It was nothing short of a 'dream comes true' moment for me. By M.T.V.Acharya By VaPa The iconic 'Vikram and Betal' by Sankar As we grew up, different hobbies and age-appropriate books captured our imagination, but Chandamama always remained a treasured memory with so many incidents attached to it. Currently, in the digital format, a few editions are available online. Those who are interested may check this link. Chandamama - Good Old Stories Even Chandamama Artbook is available online, check it out. ******************************************************************* Source: Chandamama - Wikipedia Chandamama was a classic Indian monthly magazine for children, famous for its illustrations. It also published long-running mythological/magical stories that ran for years. Originally, "Chandamama" was started in Telugu by B.Nagi Reddy and Chakrapani, noted Telugu Film Producer. It was edited by Kodavatiganti Kutumba Rao, a very close friend of Chakrapani and a literary colossus in Telugu Literature, who edited it for 28 years, till his death in August 1980. Chandamama was published in 13 languages (including English), and had a readership of about 200,000 The magazine started the unique trend of telling a story, almost always bound by a common thread of moral values, with a grandparents' style of storytelling in the most flexible third-person narrative mode, on print. The stories published have been drawn from numerous historical and modern texts in India, as well as from other countries. Mythology, epics, fables, parables and even useful hearsay were spun suitably to feed the impressionable minds so that they seek the right direction in life, even while entertaining them thoroughly. The stories embedded in the never-ending story of King Vikramāditya and Vetala (Vampire), an adaptation of an ancient Sanskrit work Baital Pachisi, brought wide repute to this magazine, and were also featured in popular TV serials. In each issue, the Vetala, in order to prevent him from fulfilling a vow, poses a typical catch-22 question to king Vikramāditya, involving a moral dilemma. The wise king answers correctly and is thus defeated by the Vetala, forcing the king do it all over again and again. The first edition of Chandamama was released in July, 1947. The founder editor of the magazine was B.Nagi Reddy who later became a leading film producer in South India. Chakrapani, a friend of Nagi Reddy, was the force behind magazine, and his vision, perception and understanding of the target readership brought name and fame to the magazine. Chandamama was first published in Telugu and Tamil (as Ambulimama) in July 1947. Kannada edition first appeared in July 1949 followed by Hindi in August 1949. Marathi (as Chandoba) and Malayalam (as Ambili Ammavan) editions appeared in April 1952 followed by Gujarati in 1954, English in 1955, Oriya (as Jahnamamu) and Sindhi in 1956, Bengali in August 1972, Punjabi in 1975, Assamese in 1976, Sinhala in 1978, Sanskrit in April 1984 and Santali in 2004. The Punjabi, Sindhi and Sinhala editions were published only for a short period. No English editions were published from October 1957 to June 1970. The magazine ceased publication in 1998, owing to labour disputes. However, the magazine relaunched a year later. It was available in 12 Indian languages and English. For many decades, Chandamama's illustrators defined the look of the magazine. They included such names as M.T.V. Acharya, T. Veera Raghavan, who signed his work as Chithra; Vaddadi Papaiah, who signed as Vapa; Kesava Rao who signed as Kesava; M. Gokhale; and K. C. Sivasankaran, alias Sankar, who joined Chandamama in the year 1951, and continues to draw even now in 2011, in an unbroken association of 6 decades! Later artists such as Shakthi Dass; M. K. Basha, who signed as Razi; Gandhi Ayya, aka Gandhi; and P. Mahesh (Mahe), also continued the tradition into current times. Initially, the covers were printed in four-colours, while the illustrations inside used line drawings. Each page of Chandamama had an illustration, although in the strict sense of the term, Chandamama is not a comic book, with the exception of the Chitra-katha column.