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Pipi's Summer (Part-I)

Pipi's Summer (Part-I)

A Chapter by Antara Kundu

Little Pipi experiences her first train travel, but alas, the REAL train is nothing like what she had imagined! And so begins my teeny-weeny book of fiction with a few hand-drawn comic illustrations :


When little Pipi finally saw a REAL train, she was so upset that she hardly wanted to travel to mamabari any longer.

Well, it was a chain of boxes alright - and that too with doors, windows and wheels which her matchbox-train didn’t have. But as luck would have it, they expected Pipi to sit IN a box, and not ON it!

Pipi went all grumpy while Papa carried her into one of the boxes and got her seated beside a window with rusty metal rods.  The scariest of beds, high and still higher, hung all around. One look at them, and she knew that the naughtiest of kids would be banished to the upmost beds. There they’d have to sit alone all through the night until the train reached mamabari, or worse, they fell down and broke their teeth!

The poor girl was so scared that her heart galloped like a race horse and her teeth began to chatter. All she could think of was to curl up in Papa’s lap and be the quietest little kid the world had ever known.

But to her utter surprise, Papa touched her chin, ran his hands through the curly mess of her hair, asked her to be a good girl and strode towards the door of the box. In the blink of an eye, he was standing on the other side of the window " waving goodbye to them! And the real shocker was the huge, unruffled yawn let out by Ma, following which she too waved back at Papa. No questions were asked. No eyebrows were raised. Poor Pipi finally realized that she had fallen prey to yet another hush-hush conspiracy of the grown-ups.

Now the box was full of huffing, puffing, sweating and jostling strangers Pipi had never met before. As tears swelled up in her eyes, Pipi could almost hear them whisper to each other " ‘Who’s this girl with a bird’s nest for hair? Now see what an annoying crybaby she’ll turn out to be!’ With her face pressed hard against the rusty rods, the girl whimpered as softly as she could; but Papa showed no sign of moving back inside. Rather the floor started swinging, there was a loud and very long whistle, and he just shifted slowly out of the window without moving his legs! 

Pipi couldn’t believe that Papa had a real pair of roller shoes, and he’d never bothered to show them to her! How much more could she take in one single evening?

Decidedly, Pipi boohooed out - loud and louder. She had to have Papa back. What if she never saw Papa again? What would she do without Papa? How could she make the train move backwards so that her Papa could board it? Why did nobody listen to her? 

Pipi decided she’d flood the entire train with her tears and drown all the staring, whispering strangers, unless they did something to bring her Papa back. And she’d definitely have tried it out hadn’t Ma wiped her tears away with a hanky that smelt of fresh jasmines. Pipi loved jasmines. Unlike the loud roses, the jasmines in the small grilled balcony of their apartment spoke to her with a warmth that smelt of truth. She chose to believe Ma when she told her that Papa would join them in a day or two " and right at her mamabari. 

Meanwhile, it was getting dark outside. Wind blew in through her window. Lights and giant shades of many a shape ran in a mad rush outside their box. “Has the train entered a magic tunnel?” " wondered Pipi. Initially she was excited and curious. But within an hour or so, her eagerness gave way to monotony. The tunnel grew dark and darker until all the shapes merged into each other " and all she could see was the strange assortment of tiny lights spread out high above and below. 

“Who knew how far the tunnel stretches " may be right up to the land of the mama-s!” - She thought before she turned her attention to the many odd faces around. And for the first time, she felt somewhat sad that they’d all go away to their own mamabari-s, never to meet her again, once the train reached its station. 

Pipi decided to talk to them. 

Notes and Translations:

Mamabari: Mother’s home or maternal uncles’ place.
Dadu: Maternal grandpa
Dida: Maternal grandma
Mama: Maternal uncle (mother’s brother)
Mashi: Maternal auntie (mother’s sister)
Boro: Eldest
Mejo: Second eldest
Chhoto: Youngest
Didi:Elder sister or female cousin
Dada: Elder brother or male cousin

© 2013 Antara Kundu

Author's Note

Antara Kundu
I'm not sure how to categorize this book since it will contain at least 2-5 hand-drawn comic illustrations in each chapter - and is yet nowhere close to what can be called a graphic novel or a comic strip. Any suggestions will be most welcome :-).

My Review

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I love how you've described Pippi's confusion at this new experience and her anxious thoughts and reactions to what is happening, especially that part about Papa's roller shoes! I'm interested to see more interaction between Pippi and the grown ups. Does she ever voice her concerns? Lovely drawings. Are they your own?

Posted 7 Years Ago

Antara Kundu

7 Years Ago

That's a very constructive review Elizabeth. I'm so glad that you could make time to go through the .. read more
I like the imagination and creativity you used in this section of the story! I LOVE the pictures and the fact that you used Hindi words (those are Hindi, right?) :)
Good job! Keep up the great writing!

Posted 7 Years Ago

Antara Kundu

7 Years Ago

Hey, I'm glad that you liked it jvava. The vernacular words are in Bengali, by the way :-).
I love the innovative story with words and images.
I am sure children with some background in English language will enjoy the story.

Posted 7 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Antara Kundu

7 Years Ago

Thanks Zainul. Yes, I'd have to be more careful about my choice of words in the later episodes, keep.. read more

7 Years Ago

Odvut shundor hoese,Antara.
Amar khub valo lagse.
Kotha ar sobi mile ek mojar adda!

Posted 7 Years Ago

Antara Kundu

7 Years Ago

Khub shundor review comment, Zainul. Onek dhonnobad :-).

7 Years Ago

You are most welcome,dear writer.
I am really enjoying your style of presentation.
Wish .. read more

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4 Reviews
Shelved in 3 Libraries
Added on June 27, 2013
Last Updated on June 28, 2013
Tags: Comic, Illustrations, Fiction, Creative


Antara Kundu
Antara Kundu

Bangalore, India

A Development Consultant, Specialist - working in the IT-Telecom sector. Perennially caught between irritating To Do lists and random (somewhat messy) thoughts on life. Struggles to manage time for 's.. more..