Friday, March 6, 2009

Tales of "Suppandi" - the lovable buffoon.

I continue to reminisce on the 'characters' I grew up with; the ones who formed an integral part of my childhood and are still very much a part of my adult life. Please visit my earlier blogs ("The inimitable Mullah Naseeruddin."; "The Tales of Mullah Naseeruddin continues.....this time a score!" and "As you sow, so you reap." to read about one such 'character' - the inimitable Mullah Naseeruddin).

These 'characters' were introduced to me through various comic books and magazines. The big daddy of Indian comics during those days was the "Amar Chitra Katha" ( — a series that still continues to thrive and gain new admirers. Anant Pai, later known as "Uncle" Pai - to children and adults alike - initiated the series in 1967. Over the years, this series gained not only in popularity, but also in credibility. Characters like Kalia the Crow, Chacha Choudhary, Shikari Shambu, Suppandi, Tantri the Mantri, etc., did mean a lot to the members of the older generations - infact they created such an impact that many of their life's lessons as kids were imparted to them through these books. Ditto for my generation. I remember that my entire knowledge on our mythology and epics was based on comics like the "Amar Chitra Katha."

Another offering from "Uncle" Pai and his team was "Tinkle," ( which came about when they found that 65% of children dropped out of school at the primary level. According to "Uncle" Pai, through "Tinkle," they wanted to make education interesting. And Boy! did they succeed and how!!! Unlike "Amar Chitra Katha" which took some time to get established, "Tinkle" was a runaway success and its 'characters' were and still are etched in the minds of children and adults alike. "Tinkle" was launched on November 14, 1980 and has released over 500 issues till date. The release of the 500th issue of "Tinkle" was celebrated on April 18, 2004. Quite a landmark! What?

For those who are wondering about the title of this magazine - how it came to be named as "Tinkle," that is - there is a small legend associated with the "naming ceremony" of this magazine - if I may call it so. It goes like this - once "Uncle" Pai and Subba Rao (then his Associate Editor) were pondering over various possible alternatives (having a brainstorming session to decide on an appropriate name for the magazine, from a list of possible ones). I was right about the "naming ceremony" part after all, see! That was when one of the staff members interrupted and said there was a "tinkle" (meaning a telephone call) for him ("Uncle" Pai). Instantly Subba Rao suggested that they call the new magazine "Tinkle." That is how it came to be called "Tinkle." "Kalia the Crow" and "Shikari Shambu" were the first two popular 'characters' in "Tinkle."

"Uncle" Pai also credits Subba Rao - rather his vision - as the secret of the success of "Tinkle." His team developed features like "It happened to me" to enable readers to make their own contributions. This went a long way in forming a close bond between"Tinkle" and its readers.

Suppandi, Kalia the Crow, Keechu-Meechu - the rabbits, Chamataka the fox and his accomplice and friend Doob Doob the crocodile, Raghu, Mooshik, Nasruddin Hodja (Mullah Naseeruddin), Anwar, Shikari Shambu and Tantri the Mantri are some of the 'characters' from "Tinkle." These 'characters' have independent stories in the form of comic strips - which forms the essence of this magazine. "Chamataka" is a fox who usually features in strips of the "Kalia the Crow" series, and is seen working together with another accomplice, his friend "Doob Doob," a loyal but somewhat dimwitted crocodile. They are featured trying to catch their prey, usually two rabbits, "Keechu" and "Meechu," and coming up with a variety of schemes to do so. The rabbits, however, are always saved by the clever "Kalia," making him one of Chamataka and Doob Doob's chief adversaries. Kalia has nevertheless saved their lives too on some occasions.

In this blog, I will write about and "introduce" you to "Suppandi." "Suppandi" is one of India's most loved characters and is an integral part of our growing up years. A lot of us are familiar with this 'character,' but for those who do not know him, "Suppandi" is a simpleton servant boy who keeps doing some funny acts that often leads his master into trouble and hence he gets fired. His clumsiness and uncanny ability to get into trouble has made "Suppandi" a favorite comic character. He moves from one mishap to another as he changes his 'masters' by the dozen. The "Suppandi" series is a collection of his extraordinary adventures - which made him into an endearing and lovable fool. Even the way the artist Ram Waeerkar conceptualised him — elongated head, long jaw and huge nose — elicited laughs.

Here, I have compiled a few of the tales of "Suppandi" - the endearing and lovable buffoon and everyone's favorite manservant. Read on..........

1) The Other Eye: Suppandi's Master was going out on some personal work.

Master: Suppandi, keep an eye on the dog.
Suppandi: Yes master, but.......
Master: But what?
Suppandi: What do I do with the other eye?

2) No Pain! No Gain!

Suppandi: Father! I failed in my exams!
Father: That's bad! Suppandi. No pain! No gain!

A few days later, at the hospital..........

Father: Why did u go and bang your head on the car?
Suppandi: You, yourself said father, "No pain No Gain!" Hence, to feel pain I hit my head on the car!

3) Master: Go to the market and get a mirror so that I can see my face and shave.
Suppandi: Yes master!!

Suppandi goes to the market and returns home without a mirror.

Master: Why didn't you get a mirror?
Suppandi: Because in all the mirrors I could see only my face!!

4) Master: Suppandi, one of my shoes is torn, I'll get another one from the market.
Suppandi: But you still have the other shoe, Master.
Master: Don't be funny Suppandi, what good is one shoe without the other?

Then, one day........

Master: Suppandi, here take these two Rs.500 notes and go get 10 tube lights.
Suppandi: Yes master.
Master: Suppandi you are back so soon, where are the tube lights?
Suppandi: When I was going, one of the notes slipped from my hand and fell into the sewer, what good is the other note without the pair? So I threw that also into the sewer.

5) Master: Suppandi, why have you put the spoilt mangoes in the sink. Put them in the dustbin. That's where all spoiled thing's go.
Suppandi: Yes Master.
Master: After throwing them in the dustbin go and get my son from school.

After some time, there were noises and screams for help emanating from the kitchen. The Master rushed in.

Master: Suppandi, what do you think you are doing with my son by putting him into the dustbin?
Suppandi: Master, when I had gone to get him, his teacher told me that he was a spoilt brat. You, yourself told me that all spoilt things go into the dustbin.

6) Master: Suppandi, how much did you spend on the groceries today?
Suppandi: I spent Rs.99 and 50 paise.
Master: Why don't you round it off to Rs.100. Rounding off figures is very convenient.

Then, one day.........

Master: Suppandi, go and get me a train ticket to Mumbai.
Suppandi: Yes Master.

When he came back........

Master: What time does the train leave tomorrow?
Suppandi: At 4 p.m.

The next day.........

Master: Its 4 p.m., and the train to Mumbai hasn't arrived, I think it is late.
A passer by: No Sir, the train left at 3:45 p.m.
Master: Suppandi, you told me the train was leaving at 4:00 p.m?
Suppandi: The time was 3:45 p.m., but I rounded it off to 4 p.m.

7) Suppandi's Master was a small-time businessman. He had told Suppandi to always try to earn a profit.

Master: Suppandi, I am expecting a washing machine from the 'London Stores.' Go and give this Rs.50 note to the shopkeeper and get the machine.

On the way back from the store, a man met Suppandi..........

Man: How much did you buy that machine for?
Suppandi: Rs.50.
Man: I will give you Rs.90 for it.

Suppandi thought that he was making a profit, and sold the washing machine and reached home.

Master: Where is the machine?
Suppandi: I sold it off on the way back for Rs.90, a clear profit of Rs.40.
Master: You fool, that machine was worth Rs.9000. I was paying for it in installments. You are Fired!!!

8) Once a book belonging to Suppandi's Master was torn. Suppandi stitched it back with thread. His master advised him to use super glue to stitch or stick together anything - as it gives better results.

Then, One Day..........

Master: Suppandi, iron my new and expensive suit as I have to wear it for the wedding party tonight.

That evening...........

Master: Suppandi, give me my suit.

Suppandi: Here it is.

Master: What has happened to it? What do you think you did to it?
Suppandi: The suit had been stitched together with thread, so I removed all the thread and stuck it together with super glue. Doesn't it give a much better result?
Master: S-U-P-P-A-N-D-I!!!! You're fired! Get out!

9) One day, Suppandi and his Master were returning home from somewhere, in the intense heat......

Master: The sun has darkened our skins, Suppandi.
Suppandi agreed.

The next day...........

Master: Suppandi! Get me a bottle of hair dye from the neighbouring store.

After some time..........

Master: Suppandi, didn't you get the bottle of hair dye I asked for?
Suppandi: I went to the shop, but then I had a brilliant idea. Why don't you stand out in the sun? The sun will darken your hair.

10) Master: Suppandi, go and stop a taxi, I have to go to Chennai right away.
Suppandi: Yes master.

After a while..............

Suppandi: Master, I could not find a single empty taxi, all of them had atleast one man sitting in them.

11) One day, Suppandi was shouting at a couple of children, telling them not to make a noise. His Master heard him and told him that shouting was a bad habit and that one should not shout.

Then, one morning...............

Master: We have been robbed of everything, Suppandi!
Suppandi: I know, I saw the thief last night.
Master: But then, why didn't you shout for help?
Suppandi: You, yourself told me that shouting was a bad habit.

12) Master: Suppandi, go and get one tomato. Remember to get it from the place you find it to be the cheapest.

That night...............

Master: Suppandi, I had only asked you get one tomato, what took you so long?
Suppandi: I had caught a train and had gone to a village 100 miles from here which grows tomatoes. There they were the cheapest.

13) Master: Suppandi, why are you holding the receiver of the phone to your ear? Did it ring?
Suppandi: No, I am expecting an urgent call from my brother.

14) Master: Suppandi, I cannot find one of my pair of socks, where have you kept it?
Suppandi: Here it is, Master.
Master: If you don't keep things in their proper place, they are bound to get lost.

That evening, when the Master's son came home from school...........

Master: How come your Geography teacher has written a note that you are not studying properly? What did you do?
Son: My teacher asked me where Washington was located, and I didn't know where it was.
Suppandi: You would have been able to find it, had you kept it in the right place!

15) Suppandi was once interviewed for a job as a prison guard.

Inspector: Hmmmmmmm......Now, these are really tough chaps in here, do you think you can manage?

Suppandi: No problem. If they don't behave, out they go.

16) Suppandi's new Master was a gardener.

Master: Suppandi, I had asked you to weed the garden today, why haven't you done it yet?
Suppandi: I thought that I will do it tomorrow.
Master: Silly boy, never leave anything for tomorrow, when you can do it today.

The next day..........

Master: Suppandi, pluck all the ripe mangoes from the garden.

That evening.............

Master: You fool, why have you plucked the unripe ones too?
Suppandi: I thought I will pluck them all today, instead of waiting for you to tell me to do it tomorrow.

17) One day, during lunch time...........

Master: Suppandi, why have you cooked only one dish? You must always cook something extra, other than what I tell you to do, more never hurts.

The same evening................

Master: Suppandi, get me a cup of tea.

A little later...............

Master: What is this? Why have you got me 4 cups of tea?
Suppandi: You only said, a little extra never hurts.

18) Master: Suppandi, have you finished stitching the buttons on my shirt?
Suppandi: No, Master! I could not find any buttons.
Master: Now, how on earth will I wear that shirt to office?
Suppandi: Master, I have stitched up the button holes instead. Now you won't need buttons any more!

19) Master: Suppandi, how much time does it take for you to post a letter? And look, you haven't even posted the letter in the one hour you have been out.

Suppandi: I searched the whole town master. But all the post boxes were locked.

20) Suppandi: What are you doing Master?

Master: I am writing a novel.

Suppandi: Why are you doing that when you can simply buy one from the market?

"Suppandi," the goofy, village simpleton, is by far the most popular "Tinkle" character. Through the years, "Suppandi" manages to misunderstand what his masters or others around him say. He therefore, ends up doing the funniest of things in an attempt to be the nice and sincere guy that he really is!
"Tinkle" and its family - the clumsy servant "Suppandi," the scheming minister "Tantri," the clever crow "Kalia," the bumbling hunter "Shikari Shambu," the dimwitted crocodile "Doob Doob," "Chamataka" the cunning fox, "Keechu-Meechu" the lovable rabbits, the inimitable "Nasruddin Hodja" ("Mullah Naseeruddin"), have all covered a journey of over 500 issues today. May there be many more! Amen.

I went through the "Tinkle" website and discovered that they have launched the "Spread the Laughter Programme!" Let me borrow a few lines from this website.........A wise Rishi once said:

"Tell a man a Suppandi joke, and you make him laugh for a day. Make a man subscribe to Tinkle, and you make him laugh forever!"

( be continued)

Photograph: A picture of "Suppandi" - the clumsy servant - as depicted in the "Tinkle."


  1. Another of the brilliant works I missed out in my childhood! Seems I have missed quite a lot! Thanks for the great post. Eagerly waiting for the coninuation!! I have read Amar Chitra Katha and enjoyed it immensely. Though the name Tinkle rings a bell, I only knew that there was a comic book series by that name. Thanks for introducing Suppandi.

  2. "My mind works like brilliant flash and it is gone!!" ...amaro ek e problem!! baccha boyeshe ekmatro Suppandi-r kache amar shob proshner uttor pawa jeto :-)

    @Rajdeep......tinkle porish ni????? you missed out a lot!! ja abar baccha hoye giye pore aye!! :P

  3. @ Rajdeep... "Suppandi" is one of the most loved comic characters... a lovable buffoon.

    Don't miss out on "Tinkle"...

  4. @ Sonali... ;)

    Hahaha! That was really funny...

  5. Hi Sonali, How are you doing? Nice to see you on Roshmi’s blog. Yes, I admit I missed out on Tinkle and that it was a big miss. Trying to make up now. Well, I would love to become a child once again! Am all ears for advice! Do write in. Have a nice day!

  6. nah...amar kono suggestion nei. Mrs Bankin (our kg teacher) ke pele jigyesh kora jeto :-)
    tobe boyesh je haare bere choleche amader shiggiri second childhood chole ashbe! :P

  7. Sonali, I cannot imagine you in any other way than when I met you many years ago. Since you like Supandi, I trust you are keeping young.

  8. This is SUPERB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  9. @ Anon: Thanks!

    P.S. To all anons: Appreciate if you leave your name...

  10. i love suppandis jokes!

    S.Tharun Kumar

  11. @ S. Tharun Kumar: Thanks and welcome to my blog!

  12. the writer must surely be clever to make the character so foolish

  13. @ Anonymous: You are very right!

    PS: Welcome to my blog; appreciate if you leave your name.