Of Chinese Monkeys and Russian Witches

I was born and brought up in a state run by a left front government. One of the few advantages of that was that in the days of the cold war, a lot of Indi-Chini and Indo-Soviet cultural activities used to happen here. I used to read Chinese and Russian fairy tales (translated in Bangla / English), and watch Chinese movies. One of the movies that I immensely enjoyed was "Bubbling Spring". I still have comic books about a Chinese Monkey King, Sun Wukong and his compatriots' adventorous journey to India. Russian fairy tales of Bogatyrs (Knights), and Baba Yaga (a witch) were regular holiday staple. There was also this series on a young boy named Anatoly (I may be wrong about the name).

These stories not only fueled my fantasies, they also gave me great insight about the countries where they were set. I think it's a very good idea for children to be exposed to multiple cultures at a young age.

I wonder if these books (or similar) books are available for children these days. I also wonder if other children of my generation from other parts of the country read the books / saw similar movies that I mentioned here.


Jas B said...

We like to say in Punjab, "The only culture we know of is Agriculture!" :D
We did not have access to the books that you had mentioned. My only Russia related knowledge was limited to my Dad talking about and taking us to see all the MIG fighter jets! :D

Interestingly enough, one of my colleagues, who hails from China, also mentions that China was exposed to Indian culture, mostly he remembers about are the hindi movies of Raj Kapoor, especially "Aawara", he remembers the tune to the song to date!

Sayantani said...

Of course! Russian, Uzbek, Azerbaijan folk tales and short stories were a staple diet of my adolescence. I remember this one particular Lithuanian book whose illustrations I always thought had been done by a magician. The strokes were so perfect, they seemed to be chiseled out of the page.

Kanchan said...

My childhood was dominated by Enid Blyton and life was all about the Secret Seven, Adventurous Four, Famous Five, Enchanted Woods, Malory Towers etc. The only comics I read then were Amar Chitra Katha, Vikram aur Betaal etc. I don't know if the book stores in Pune had the books you mentioned in your post. Maybe they did and my parents chose not to buy them for whatever reason. But yes, I think it is great to be exposed to cultures of different countries at an early age.

Subhadip said...

ROFL @ "Agriculture"

When I read the "Russian" stories, there was this Soviet Union, and I didn't know Uzbekistan or Lithuania :)
Generation gap!!!

Of course, I read Enid Blyton too! And Amar Chitra Katha too. I wish I could read them again!