Jungle Book of Nostalgia

Trip to nostalgia

“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, The Jungle Book

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.jungle book

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?




Author: Archita

Musings about life and photography.

19 thoughts on “Jungle Book of Nostalgia”

  1. Ha ha! You took me back to those days- singing that song to elders. 🙂 Such a timeless piece! Are you talking about Swami from Swami and friends in Malgudi days? Oh my god! So beautiful those mornings were! I am thinking of checking for Malgudi days in our library.
    Simplicity is lost, Ratisha, especially in city life. Those days won’t be back again. It’s the era of iphone games and facetime and posing for facebook pictures! Thank you so much, Ratisha, for letting me time-travel. Take care! 🙂

  2. I am so glad to read this, Indira. We definitely have to sing together. 🙂 You made me miss that song, I came back home and immediately put it on the player. I love “Mera kuchh samaan..” – Yes only Gulzar could write like that!

  3. Beautiful post. I think everyone loved the song. I still hum it and I’m 68. Only Gulzar could write like that. Remember’ Mera kuchh saman tumhare pass pada hai…’

  4. The title track was my childhood anthem. I remember singing the song at any party or occasion whenever elders would want to test my skills :p
    Jungle book hitting the theatres has brought the long lost childhood back to life. The same innocence, unabashed non-sense and the fairy world where I could be princess and throw my tantrums anytime. Those beautiful Sunday mornings spent with mowgli, Swami and evenings with Disney’s Louise, Douise, Houise, Uncle Scrooge… My god! I’m already having goosebumps!
    I wish the kids today to relish this simplicity the way we used to.
    Thank you so much, Archita. You have given us a moment of solace with the times when life was a fairy tale. 🙂

  5. I always wondered how someone could write a line like this, ” chaddi pahenke phool khila hai,
    Phool khila hai” and that’s the height of imagination. Gulzar is a gem, so is Vishal Bharadwaj!. I think that’s my most favorite line in a song from any era. 🙂 Such a great memory right? Thank you for reading, Sampada. 🙂

  6. As a kid, Mowgli was my favourite too. And especially the song…

    “Jungle jungle baat chali hai
    Pata chala hai
    Are chaddi pahenke phool khila hai,
    Phool khila hai”

    And 1893 is a long long time ago.. can’t believe its still relevant. Amazed.

  7. Yayy!! Now that’s real nostalgia, Eliza. I have seen disney’s cartoon version and that is wonderful too. I love drive-in theaters. It’s been so long since I visited one.:)

  8. I would love to. But the hindi version won’t be here in any theater. I will get a dvd later. Isn’t that the issue with almost all movie-makers these days? Btw, there is a new version of Jungle book song by Gulzar and that’s pretty awesome too.

  9. Yes, I saw the trailer and it was pretty impressive. Your daughter is going to love it too. 🙂 Thank you for stopping by, Calen. 🙂

  10. Watch in hindi 🙂 more fun. I was disappointed by the movie makers at the end, all they want is damn business by making a second part or more.

  11. Stunning memory! Loved how you wrote” But when I grew up, I realized, that’s the truth about self-discovery, it’s not always that bright and light.” and the first paragraph. Great going!

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