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Friday, December 11, 2015

Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Bookin' sure got me Jumpin' Trees


Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling’s birthday is on 30 December 1865, so this month, incidentally, I thought back to probably my first ever children’s stories. I thought of ‘The Jungle Book’, by Rudyard Kipling. 

I remember how Mowgli’s character inspired me to climb trees. After I was up on my favourite tree, there wasn’t too much I could do, except sitting and looking onto the road. Of course, I also had a few friends up there. There were a few birds, cats and even monkeys, which I had taken to. Of course, there were always the street dogs, which
The Jungle Book Cover by John Lockwood Kipling
barked and howled at every car that went past too. 

Enough of my own Jungle Book story, but let us get on with the actual ‘Jungle Book’. Though it began with the cartoon watching, the idea stayed with me. And soon, I had begun to read the children’s classic ‘The Jungle Book’. 

I loved the adventures of Mowgli, Bagheera and Baloo, as I previously knew them from the animated version of Disney, but the book was another revelation and so much better too.

The story begins with the wolf pack, and then leads on to Sher Khan, who is the main villain of the story. Sher Khan wants to have a go at the man cub, Mowgli, as he is named by the leader of the wolf pack, Alexander and his wife, Luri. Bagheera, a black panther is Mowgli’s mentor and Baloo is his best friend, and even teaches Mowgli, the law of the jungle. 

The book also contains, ‘Rikki Tikki Tavi’, ‘The White Seal’ and ‘Toomai of the Elephants’, among others. But I always remember Mowgli and his adventures. 

Mowgli’s stories, were funny and in a way brave, and had a little sadness about them. In writing them, with so many different kinds of feelings, inter-mingled Rudyard Kipling manages to say so much through his prose. And not just that, his verses were superb too.

'The Jungle Book', which was written in 1894, is a collection of short stories by Kipling. They also contain a few illustrations, by Rudyard's father, John Lockwood Kipling. It turned out to be way cooler, when I grew up. Also, got me a little nostalgic too. 

Incidentally,  Walt Disney Pictures' 'The Jungle Book' movie is expected to hit theatres  in 2016.

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