Sakal Newspaper has been a local favorite for a really long time. Ask any person who’s been reading it for more than the past fifteen years and they’ll tell you one of the major highlights about opening this newspaper- the Chintoo comic strip. Entertaining Pune with its childlike humor, Chintoo has been a fond part of every Punekar’s morning routine. What makes it so special?
It’s the grip on our nostalgia. See, Chintoo has always been a comic version of our youth. Every character, including Chintoo, has always portrayed our childhood. The careless pranks, the loving and doting parents, and not to forget, the sheer energy and excitement of being a kid; what more can make you miss your childhood?
It’s been almost 27 years since Chintoo first appeared in the newspaper and since then, he’s always had an emotional hold over us. The strips are written by Charuhas Pandit and Prabhakar Wadekar. For a couple of years, Chintoo appeared in Loksatta, but that was just a short gig. Speaking more of our beloved Chintoo, he’s an everyday boy in a typical Marathi middle class family. It’s his quirky and sly side which makes him our favorite. The normal day-to-day incidents in his life are given a very funny face by the creators and they have always succeeded at making us grin.
Now Chintoo doesn’t have any superpowers, not any which end up saving the world. You see, it’s the way he tackles his problems which makes him our favorite. Problems like bullying, study issues and not getting his dream toys, typical child worries. And then there are his pranks- classic trademark Chintoo pranks.
What does Chintoo like? He enjoys playing cricket with his notorious and mischievous gang of friends. He likes to play with stray animals and all in all, just like an ordinary child, he enjoys doing the simple things. Just like us, he loves mangoes, but more than that, he loves stealing mangoes from his neighbor, Joshi Kaka.
Maybe there’s something which Chintoo was telling us all along which we haven’t been able to see, something so obvious. Seeing his tiny hand-drawn frame in the newspaper yesterday reminded me of everything about my childhood which I have parted with. The simple, foolish things I did just because they gave me pure joy. The action of actually doing it and not thinking about it. Maybe Chintoo represents our innocence and the whimsical approach, which we all sacrifice as we grow up. So let’s do ourselves a favour- when we wake up tomorrow, let’s think about Chintoo. Try to remember his frolicking and the sheer happiness of being young. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll have a better day!