December 14, 2005

Remember the moos

My age will show here, but never mind. At least someone out there must remember JS, Junior Statesman, that delight of youth in the 1970s. And when I remember, I feel again that unbounded teenage energy, that bell-bottomed '70s chic (we pronounced it "chick", very groovy), the dreamy-eyed romance in gazing at JS's Karen Lunel poster ...

And then the arthritis gets to me.

But oh, JS! And oh, that poster! Liril girl in a bikini, and I could have killed for it. (The poster, not the bikini). (Hell, I would have taken the bikini too). It had me sending telegrams -- remember telegrams? -- to everyone I knew everywhere in the country, pleading: buy me a copy of this week's JS, I need MANY, and no, it's not because of the Karen Lunel poster, I just want to read an article in it.

Riiiight. What article? (A young female friend actually telegrammed back those words).

Still, Karen was in just one issue, after all; so I did read JS. Poring through the magazine every week, I wondered jealously: just how did all these JS dudes get these almost insufferably cool names? I mean: Jug Suraiya? Desmond Doig? And exactly who were Papiya and Tuktuk Ghosh, invariably somewhere in the issue? Where did they get their cool names? Does anyone know? Did they exist? Do they exist? (Please send me a note if you're reading this, either of you, and put a 30-year-old mystery to rest).

And the memory, keen even today, of reading that goodbye note in the last issue. Was it some fantastic joke? Convinced it had to be one, I scoured newsstands for weeks. JS -- our psychedelic, multicoloured, Rajesh Khanna and Seasons in the Sun JS! -- could hardly die just like that! It had to show up again with some typically witty, easygoing explanation.

But of course it didn't. No joke. It had vanished.

Years later, I understood that it vanished at the same time, more or less, that many other things vanish in your teens. You know: youth, idealism, illusions, that stuff. Some cosmic significance there, I thought. But only for a minute. Then I dropped the idea. JS would have scorned it.

Many memories, and I have JS to thank for one of the high points of my career as a teenager. Read on and weep.

Put an ad in JS asking someone to teach me hypnotism and ventriloquism through the post. To my surprise, I was drowned in responses, including one from a Salim Durrani who -- I think -- was not the cricket hero. A good buddy, also a JS freak, called every day to sneer at my attempts to pick up such skills, and that by mail order. So I decided to teach him a lesson. Next time he came over, I stationed bro and sis up the stairs. Caught him at the front door and said: "OK, I've learned ventriloquism! I'll make you think a cow is mooing upstairs."

Right on cue, the sibs let loose a flurry of authentic moos. (How I love the sibs).

The mixture of awe, respect and envy on his face is a memory I will take to my cremation ground. I believe he still thinks I'm a voice-thrower. Thank you, JS.

Now if anyone has one of those Karen Lunel posters, I'm willing to moo for it. The sibs won't any more.

18 comments:

Nikhil said...

Regards the Karen Lunel poster, I shall search in my archives during my next trip home. I have something close to that ready on hand. I have a photgraph of the place where the original ad was shot- minus a lot of water as I visited it last May. Willing to bid for it?

Anirudh said...

Haha! Nice one.

Anonymous said...

Seriously Anirudh!!, a Karen Lunel poster is no laughing matter.

- Z

Sunil said...

you had magazines in the 70's????

*Gasp*!

Wonders will never cease.

Nikhil said...

Anonymous.
What you say is true. What I have to do is search some old issues of Illustrated Weekly of India (Do todays bloggers know about this?) or some old Femina magazines that my mother kept aside for the recipes.
Aside - Does anybody know where this lady is today? Surely she deserves a place in the Ad Hall of Fame. I remember waiting for this ad before the movies in the theatre. But then it was before I got to know ---- you know what.
Must stop this before the morality police get to me .-- Just kidding

Dilip D'Souza said...

Nikhil, first of all, let me get this straight. You really want me to bid for a photograph that lacks the two crucial elements -- the girl and the water? Woo-hoo! I can't wait to have the picture up on my wall!

Second, you write: some old Femina magazines that my mother kept aside for the recipes. ... Does anybody know where this lady is today?

Where is your mother today, you're asking? Somewhere near those Femina magazines, I think. Glad to be of help.

Sunil, not only did we have magazines in the 70s, some of us could actually even read then ... Of course, that capability got stunted when certain posters appeared.

Nikhil said...

Dilip
My mother is visitng me at present and nowhere near the Femina magazines. I was talking about Karen Lunel - I specifically mentioned the Ad hall of fame. Surely we need to know the whereabouts of the damsel (Karen Lunel) who sent Dilip's generation rushing to buy Liril soaps.

Anonymous said...

This is the best Google and I could come up with :
http://www.tribuneindia.com/1998/98aug30/sunday/head3.htm

- Z

Anonymous said...

As Z had already posted, KL became a AI air-hostess. She was on board on the AI liner on which Rajiv Gandhi celebrated his birthday mid-air on his way back from USSR in 1988, IIRC.
Again, Jug Suraiya mentioned in one of his columns that in a party, a woman once came to him and identified herself as Papiya. His pavlovian response was, "Where is Tuktuk"?

Vanita said...

I dont know if i am too late in my reply. Papiya and Tuktuk did exist and were good friends of my mom from her collge days.
I called her last night and she informed me that Papiya got murdered in her home in Patna yesterday and i came across this blog while searching for the news.
Tuktuk i think is an IAS officer and is based in Delhi

Dilip D'Souza said...

Vanita, I read the news about Papiya Ghosh just about half an hour ago, probably while you were typing out your note ... I'm stunned and saddened by this. If you hear any more, please let me know.

Vanita said...

Hi Dilip,
How do you know them? I am based out of the USA and hence not in touch. My mom was Tuktuk's classmate and was close to Papiya as well.
It is so frustrating to see what Patna has degenerated into

Dilip D'Souza said...

Vanita, I didn't know them. See the short note I put up just now, here.

Anonymous said...

I too was searching for Papiya and Tuktuk Ghosh today after watching the NDTV last night.
I would always remember the very wiity postings of the duo in kookie's kol in JS.

It's very sad and unfortunate.
Regards

Pinaki

Karen, i believe,settled in Kalimpong

augustine said...

Dear Dilip, others, that is true. We lost Papiya. She was an eminent historian. Worked on Muslim identity. Tuk Tuk is inconsolable. Tried to reach her. She is in Patna right now. As siblings they were very close, having lost their father early in life. Tuk Tuk joined the IAS, the W. Bengal cadre. Now known as Mrs T. Kumar, She is an extremely efficient officer. Currently she is Principal Secretary to the Lok Sabha Speaker. May God give her strength to bear this unbearable loss. I too was JS reader and a Tuk Tuk and Papiya fan and never doubted that they existed. They were brilliant. Augustine Veliath

Anonymous said...

Papiyadi was good and kind to me when Iwas a gauche (uncool) newcomer to P.G.Women.D.U back in1978'.may God rest her soul and may her killers rot in hell

Amelie-Freak said...

Papiya mashi was a wonderful, brave woman. Her intellect sparkled, and her death is our loss. My mother and her were classmates at Patna Women's College long ago, and when we settled in the States, we became friends with her older sister (who happened to be the classmate of my father at the Science College). Her latest work, chronicling the history of Muslims in Bihar, will be published posthumously. I'll have to ask my mother for translations of the JS.....May God bless her.

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