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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Adventures of TinTin - To Gift or Not ?

Tintin has been my all time favorite comic..well till I ran into Calvin and Hobbes, the discovery of which left the dark corners of my craving soul divided. Bright colorful squares and rectangles packed into parallel strips where Tintin escapes from the poisonous arrows of a deadly assassin in Egypt to be captured by the Incas of South America to be sun fried. How I wished to grow up to be Tintin one day. The mystery, the excitement, the thrill of having escaped death yet again still gives me goosebumps. Not to mention his friends - the drunkard Captain Haddock whose family always has some hidden treasures in some depths of the world (how I prayed that my family had some too) and how his 'Blue Blistering Barnacles' left me feeling aghast; the absent-minded half-deaf Professor Cuthbert Calculus, whose pendulum always eventually found them the way (how I hoped to be geekish like him); I must confess that I did not have any particular affection towards snowy, who is Tintin's loyal dog or towards Mr. Thompson and Thomson, the twin policemen.

I was introduced to Tintin and his adventures in the year 1996, when a neighbor of mine developed a craze for it. Each comic cost Rs.80, which my parents would rather spend on groceries than on a silly comic of a red-head short man, who traveled the world. I would patiently wait for my neighbor to buy the new book and wait for a month or two for him to read to his heart's desire, before requesting him if I can borrow if for a day or two and those two days would be heaven.

It must have been the summer of 2005 and it was of course before I met 'Calvin & Hobbes'. It was my birthday. My friend at office met me at lunch and passed me a thin cuboid wrapped in a green gift wrap. I carefully opened it to find two VCDs of Tintin. My heart raced with excitement but it soon settled. I am an admirer of Tintin comics and not of the animation. The bright colors were what attracted me.  I gracefully thanked her and walked towards my work station. I took a left turn towards the corridor and at a distance I could see a not-so-friendly colleague of mine waving his hand towards me. My left eyebrow raised in suspicion. He came closer and said "Wait, I'll be back". I waited, just like the blue whale in 'The Hitch Hiker's Guide to Galaxy' wondered about it's existence as it sank in to the vacuum.

Before my innocent mind drifted into the events of how the blue whale became a sperm whale and was called into existence, I was interrupted. There in front of me stood probably the entire collection of Tintin VCDs, all brand new, obviously leaving me very confused; last thing I expected from a not-so-friendly colleague. My forehead wrinkled in doubt. My not-so-friendly colleague probably soon realized that he was not supposed to express any form of camaraderie. He quickly took a step back and said " These are from a friend of mine. However, you can keep it for as long as you wish". 'Yeah, like for infinity- which dumb friend of yours cared to buy this whole collection and let go of it without watching it even once for infinite number of years', I wondered.

At this point I must add that I am naive at certain things and trust people easily. Thus, in spite of the above story being incredibly hard to believe for a person with average trust deficit, I actually believed it. With great care I opened the VCDs, watch some of them with great pain and returned it dutifully in few days time.

Years later I had the opportunity to visit this colleague's house briefly. And there on the table, I saw sitting dust ridden poor Tintin's VCD collection, not having had much of any adventure.  Looks like his rich friend got amnesia after he bought them. I think they were better off sleeping peacefully in my book self.

And a message to my not-so-friendly colleague - ' If you ever read this blog esp. around April time frame, I have moved on from Tintin to Calvin and don't mind receiving the entire collection of Calvin and Hobbes comics. This time I swear I will keep it for myself for infinity and ever after :)'

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