Pran, the ‘Pran’ of Children

* Kyun ki Chacha Chaudhary  ka dimag computer say bhi tez chalta hai. (Because Chacha Chaudhary’s brain works faster than a computer). Can you believe this was the reason Pran gave for Chacha Chaudhary being the smartest? And this was 20 or may be more years ago. Who can beat that?  Well, he is Pran, the cartoonist and writer Pran Kumar Sharma, for you.

And not just Chacha Chaudhary. Billoo, Pinki, Sabu, Raman, Shrimatiji.. These names, their lives and that humour.. Pran, an outstanding and perhaps the most lovable writer and cartoonist gave me and so many like me some of the most unforgettable childhood memories. He was such an integral part of our childhood. Him leaving this world has made countless Indians sad and refreshed so many of innocent memories from a not so distant past.

An “influence” like none other

Pran fondly made so many children “happy and innocent liars” and I was one of them, a proud one too. Being two brothers almost of same age meant our home never witnessed a quiet moment. But whenever there would be pin drop silence in our room, my parents could easily figure out that we would be reading Pran’s comics. And when they would ask, we would say in chorus “padhai karr rahe hain” – we are studying. Of course a big sized book always came handy to hide comics in it.

The strongest “bond” among friends

If you had a few Pran’s comics, you would be sure to make a lot of friends. Whenever a new boy would join the class, he could not only make instant friends among strangers, but he could become popular too if he had a few comics by Pran which others didn’t.

Exchanging Pran’s comics was a very common phenomenon. The number of comics that were shared between two guys was directly proportional to the level of their friendship. Similarly, if you didn’t like someone, all you had to do was refuse to share Pran’s comics with him.

Interestingly, talking about Pran’s comics is something that is not uncommon among colleagues in offices, provided you have colleagues who are also more of a friend.

The biggest “leverage”

Having lots of Pran’s comics gave you an edge. You could manipulate so many people. I still remember when I was in 9th class I allowed one of my classmates to copy my English home work for the summer vacations and in exchange he lent me all his comics. Those were the days. I can still remember how many of my classmates who could afford more comics could have their way.

The “innovative” characters

And the characters that Pran created, they were lovable especially Chacha Chaudhary who was awesome. His dog was called “Rocket” – that was so ahead of times. Sabu was an alien from Jupiter – can you believe Pran’s thought process? And “jab Sabu ko gussa aata hai to Jupiter mein jwalamukhi fatata hai” – when Sabu is angry, a volcano erupts at some distant place in Jupiter. This was a classic line.

Billoo, Pinki, Raman, Shrimatiji.. We grew up with these characters. They were such an important part of our lives. And so was Pran. He no doubt was the “Pran” of innumerable happy children. His creations and the memories they gave us will always stay in our hearts and lives.