“The reason the beasts give among themselves is that Man is the weakest and most defenseless of all living things, and it is unsportsmanlike to touch him.”- Rudyard Kipling,
It’s Sunday. All windows are open to welcome the sun in the house. I can smell French toast in the air. My mom is talking to the help in the kitchen. Four eyes glued on the TV. Dad and I, not ready to move an inch from our drawing room. On screen, Shere Khan is threatening Mowgli. There is an argument going on in the wolf family about the acceptance of a human being. I’m thinking of moving to some jungle. At least it won’t be this sunny. I’m allowed to have half a cup of tea with sub-merged biscuit today. My tea is already cold. But I don’t mind. I look at my dad and whisper, “Now what?”
That’s a slice from a Sunday morning of my childhood in the 90’s, when jungle book was very popular.
I don’t remember exactly about every Sunday, but most Sundays were similar. The title track of Jungle Book was written by one of my most favorite poets and lyricists, Gulzar. I sang the song when I was ten. I hummed it when I was twenty. I still sing it very often. Jungle Book means nostalgia, not only to me, but to all my friends who grew up in ’90s in India.
I was pretty little when Jungle Book aired on television. It was an adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s collection of stories, and one of the best series for children that time.
The protagonist Mowgli is a little boy, lost in a forest in British India. Alexander, a wolf, becomes his adoptive father and raises him as a wolf. Through the series, Mowgli grows up and struggles to find his identity.
There were many adorable characters and many moral lessons in the TV series. Though in the end, the self-discovery part made me little sad. But when I grew up, I realized, that’s the truth about self-discovery, it’s not always that bright and light.
I decided to read Kipling’s books when I was a book-loving teenager. But later I was more curious about his life story.
Rudyard Kipling was born in Bombay, of British India and he never fell out of love with India. That’s pretty natural if someone has lived a part of his life in India. His father John Lockwood Kipling was an English art teacher, who spent most of his career in India; he also did illustrations for a chapter of his son’s Jungle Book. At the age of 41, Rudyard Kipling was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature, making him its youngest recipient till date. When I read about it, I wanted to read all works of Kipling.
Kipling wrote the stories of Jungle Book in Vermont, United States, after travelling many countries. The stories first appeared in magazines in 1893. Who says time runs fast. Jungle Book, even after more than hundred years, makes sense.
This Thursday, Walt Disney’s “The Jungle Book” is hitting the theaters here and in some other countries. In India, it already has been released and I have heard pretty amazing reviews from everyone. Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o and some other great names are playing my favorite characters and an adorable kid Neel Sethi is Mowgli. Though the film won’t have my favorite title track, I still will watch it in theater to relive my childhood, to relive those Sunday mornings.
Isn’t it fun to find opportunities to go back to ’90s once a while?