Google Honours ‘Uncle’ Anant Pai With A Doodle On His 82nd Birthday

Reading is more than just an ability it is a source of immense joy and even a melting pot of nostalgia. No one got this message across better than the lovable Uncle Pai. Google pays tribute to everyone’s dear Uncle by dedicating a Google doodle in his honor. Today is his 82nd birthday; today (17th September) is the birthday of a precious part of our childhood.

The Legacy

Anant Pai was more than an educationist he was one the best India has ever seen. He was more than an awesome cartoonist. He was more than a story writer. He is a part of life for thousands who have grown up reading his works and then wished that they remain kids, just so that they can share the innocence of Uncle’s creations. Anant Pai, more lovingly known as Uncle Pai’, created the ultimate storehouse of children’s knowledge Amar Chitra Katha, which literally translates to Immortal Picture Stories’. Figures show that Amar Chitra Katha sells 3 million books on average per year, since its inception in 1967, with over 100 million sold over these years. But these are merely figures the number of lives these books influenced is much higher.

Uncle Pai: A sketch (Courtesy: Wikipedia)

Google’s Appreciation

Google’s doodle (first pic, above) depicts Uncle Pai sitting in his office, surrounded by shelves full of his own creations. Two such pictures, one in which Uncle Pai is sitting and the other in which he is standing, form the doodle, with the writing of Google’ connecting the two. A mouse-over reveals that it is meant to celebrate Anant Pai’s 82nd Birthday’. Clicking will lead to a search page searching for the name of Anant Pai’.

So Many Childhood Memories

It’s difficult for me to be merely professional while writing this, since it evokes so many gorgeous memories of my childhood. Who could forget the lovable Suppandi, the simpleton servant, who would happily get his orders mixed up and produce some innocent humour? Remember Shikari Shambu, whom the world reputes as a brave hunter, but is really meek and gentle? Somehow, in spite of bungling up everything, he would still end up the winner, protecting his own reputation and also delighting young hearts.

A bit of the Tinkle Universe (Shikari Shambu on the left and Suppandi on the right)

Want to sketch a character, who is evil, but is still loved? Take some inspiration from Tantri the Mantri. He is the evil minister to the innocent king Raja Hooja and is constantly planning to usurp the throne. The king trusts him with all his heart and, somehow, Tantri never succeeds in anything that he conspires to do. These are only the most famous characters in the Tinkle series a flagship program of Amar Chitra Katha. Apart from these, Tinkle used to be famous for the Uncle Pai’s own column, where perfectly scientific ideas were explained to children in an easy-to-digest and, most importantly, fun manner.

Apart from these, Amar Chitra Katha published graphic novels of Ramayana, Mahabharata and Panchatantra, all well-known Indian epics or collection of moral stories.

Ask anyone who has read Amar Chitra Katha’s publication what their favourite childhood memories were. Uncle Pai and his creations will definitely be among them. As for me, I wish I could laugh out as loudly as I did as a child, when I read about Suppandi messing up on his job. No, I no longer possess that innocence. I’m just happy that I was lucky enough to have Uncle Pai by my side, when I did possess it.

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Debjyoti Bardhan

Is a science geek, currently pursuing some sort of a degree (called a PhD) in Physics at TIFR, Mumbai. An enthusiastic but useless amateur photographer, his most favourite activity is simply lazing around. He is interested in all things interesting and scientific.