Since I got back to India a couple of months ago, I’ve spent a lot of time going through boxes in my parent’s house and sorting old books. In these boxes I’ve found a lot of unexpected things (the highlight, a 1893 edition of Chambers’ etymological dictionary) and some old favorites, like this set of two books called “Tales from Indian Classics”. I grew up reading these over and over again. One of the reasons I loved them as much as I did were the illustrations—bold and expressive, and in just two colors, black and orange. It is only today while flipping through them did I realize that they were drawn by Pulak Biswas, an illustrator I have come to adore in adulthood. Who knew I had been a fan for twenty years!
These books were first published in 1965 by Children’s Book Trust, cartoonist Shankar’s children’s publishing initiative, and my copies are a reprint twenty-four years later. Along with Amar Chitra Katha and mythological television shows on weekends, they were my source for stories from the Hindu epics. In my imaginary box of things in which I collect things I’d like to pass on to my future children (or nieces and nephews), these books are right on top of the pile!