I remember Sunday mornings in my childhood days used to be fun. In those days in my childhood we had a TV in a neighbour’s house. My family did not even own a TV but that was not a constraint for having fun. We all brothers used to gang up in that house to watch non stop kids’ entertainment on Doordarshan. The only channel in those day.
The jungle book or the adventures of Mowgli was a thrill for us boys to watch on. Every time we saw him sustaining all odds in the fiercely dangerous forest among the deadly creatures we used to get amazed and learn a lot of tricks needed in life. But all of that went in our subconscious mind without us realizing the importance of Jungle Book characters that we can understand today.
Especially for me when I look back at the jungle book story Mowgli becomes my first hero. In that tiny age with his cute yet bold acts he had shown us the importance of valor that I can never forget. In my childhood I took him only as character whom I envied because of his free lifestyle. He was free with all deadly beasts that even our elders were afraid of. Everytime I saw him in action, I remembered myself in his position and imagined how even elders would praise my valor when I became like him. Well, that was all imagination, something that all kids are good at. I am not sure if that was what eventually made me a strong and daring person who could take on any challenges.
As I grown older I understood the significance of other characters of the jungle book as well. It became a mirror of the society we lived in.
The character of Baloo, the bear who gave Mowgli hard lessons of the jungle reminded me of those friendly mentors who came in touch of my life at different stages and taught me important lessons of life. It was not one person who did it to me like Baloo did to Mowgli but they all were Baloo for me. The reason this character may be favourite among many is because of his friendly and witty nature. Baloo did crack jokes at times.
Bagheera, the black panther was not my favorite. In fact, I didn’t like him though he was friendly with Mowgli. I was always fearful of him, his burning eyes used to create fear in me. However, this character today reminds me of the people around who may not seem too friendly in first glance but are not harmful or may be helpful as well. I know that my life would be a lot easier if I could identify them easily.
Shere Khan was painted as a negative character in the story but I still did not hate him. I am a Leo so I appreciated lions always. Except the meanness in his character a lion was supposed to be deadly for me and that was the challenge. I always felt that a meek and friendly lion who is like a cat should not exist. Mowgli was my hero because he could take on this deadly beast by his intelligence and bravery.
In today’s life we find a lot of characters similar to Shere Khan. Only difference is, it became lot more harder to recognize them. So I feel Shere Khan can’t be hated for teaching Mowgli the lesson of life the difficult way.
I am glad to know that The Jungle Book is back again for today’s kids as a movie releasing on 8th April. We have watched this series as a comic series on DD in ‘80s. It left lasting memories in us. It kept us busy on many weekends and left us thinking about Mowgli and his dangerous yet easy life. I am not sure how much of that imagination can come back in the lives of our kids today with the release of this movie, but I hope some of the lessons learnt from the characters will be passed on to those kids as well.
I am feeling like going back to those childhood memories again as the new version of the title track and Mowgli adventures coming to us very soon –