My Review | The Jungle Book, by Rudyard Kipling
Updated: Jan 17, 2021
I always wanted to experience the original, the source that inspired many films and media adaptations and contributed to my magical childhood, and glad I finally did. I remember those precious Sundays of the 90s when I would be glued to Doordarshan- the medium I would not trade for Netflix or social media of today- and rejoice the Disney version with Gulzar’s iconic signature song ’Jungle Jungle Baat Chali Hai’. That song also reminds me of the banter back then, by a bunch of girls on Mall-road Shimla, aimed at my Khaki NCC(National Cadet Corps) shorts while returning from school-’Chaddi pehen ke phool khila hai’, but all about that some other time.
When I started reading the seal’s story, I kept thinking for the first few pages, how this piece of the puzzle would fit into Mowgli’s world. But I soon realized that Jungle book is in-fact a collection of short stories with Mowgli’s being one of them. Even better. Mowgli's story was mainly to revisit childhood memories of a known world, but this book presented with the opportunity of discovering more short stories or rather more happy endings.
Rudyard Kipling was born in India and the influence is evident in his work. I was delighted to find the abundant use of words in the Hindi language for names of characters and places. I can imagine the effort that goes into studying animal behavior in order to tell stories from their perspective and clearly, Kipling did his homework.
Though I enjoyed all of them, the stories of seal Kotick and mongoose Rikki-Tikki stood out for me, of course apart from that of Mowgli. This treasure of short stories would have surely stayed with me for a long time(like Mowgli-story did) had I read them in my childhood.