Sunday, 3 April 2016

Mirroring Personalities With The Jungle Book!


जंगल जंगल बात चली है... 
पता चला है... 


Does this prompt you to hum along to a familiar yet timeless childhood melody? 

It does, Yes! 

Whose arrival does it proclaim? 

Who else, but the innocent yet playful 'man-cub' Mowgli's! :) 


भारत के इन जंगलों के बारे में कई अजीब कहानियां हैं। 

मगर सबसे ज़्यादा अजीब कहानी है मोगली नमक एक छोटे लड़के की। 

यह सब तब शुरू हुआ जब एक अजनबी आवाज़ ने जंगल का सन्नाटा तोड़ दिया। 


Thus began, humanity's tryst with fauna that interwove with itself, lifelike emotions. Visualize a three-year-old being introduced to such an interesting avenue of familiarizing herself with the nuances of being one of the elements of the wilderness as opposed to seeing the wild come to life, from the point of view of a 'man-cub'. 

But, of course, it would intrigue any inquisitive child to learn how these two very different worlds came to collide with one another and explore each other's companionship! 

Yours Truly was no different a child, then. Just as mesmerizing as Mowgli's first chuckle which drew Bagheera to him, was Panther Bagheera's narration to the children of the nation. It seemed to draw its audience into the narrative. 


What fascinated me the most as a child was the fact that the 'man-cub', in no time, became his foster brothers' favorite. The pack of wolves along with their parents Rama and Raksha, adored Mowgli as his foster-family! 

Mowgli too, considered them as one of his own, not realizing the bitter fact, highlighted by Bagheera as an initial pointer, that Mowgli was not meant for survival in the wilderness. He had to be united with the village-folk, one day or another. 

It, of course, broke many hearts, when the separation had to come soon, in the form of the leader of Wolves, Akela informing the pack of the return of the fierce Shere Khan, thus prompting the decision of Mowgli's exit from the wilderness! 

Bagheera being Mowgli's closest confidante chose to break the news to him, to which a puzzled Mowgli questioned the beast's intention of drawing the life out of him. Mowgli, as a child, wanted to persuade the Tiger instead, that he would not grow up to become 'एक और शिकार का शौक़ीन मानव', but in vain.

While Mowgli's dislike of Bagheera's remark of him not being able to climb a tree to rest on one of its branches for the night, was quite evident, a striking parallel came to mind when he himself admitted thus.

और फ़िर, मेरे पास तो पंजे भी नहीं हैं...  :(

While the night's episode began with Kaa, the Python's deceitful gaze, coupled with the repeated knotting of his tail over the narrative's length and ended with the trumpeting of Colonel Hathi's contingent's orchestrated march at dawn, this Jungle adventure had just begun! 

जंगल की ताल पे हम... 
मतवाले मस्त कदम... 
धरती हमदम... 
चलते हैं हम... 

न रुकेंगे कभी हम! :)

Another fable that came along with the customary patrolling was 'सन अट्ठासी के वीर चक्र की कहानी'. 

Colonel Hathi's strong belief of a 'man-cub' being included in the contingent hinting to rebellion highlighted his principled outlook


While Mowgli's idiosyncrasies prompted Bagheera to let him be on his own, Mowgli ended up bumping into Baloo the Bear, and his easygoing डूबी डूबी डूबी डी डू, and we thus spoke of bare necessities which Baloo thought highly of! :)

अपुन इस जंगल में सब देखेला है... 
पर यह चीज़ तो बहुत सही चीज़ है! 

It was as if one had been introduced to a new dialect altogether, all at once! Papa Baloo's छोटे मियाँ had just been learning the ropes of growling like a bear, when Bagheera took no time to describe him as मस्तमौला, भटकू, जंगल-छाप बालू! 

Well, of course, Papa Baloo believed that the village-folk would spoil Mowgli and make him turn into a human, to which he ends up taking Mowgli's responsibility entirely. 

Who can forget their signature steps to मस्ती की गुदगुदी चाहिए, बस मस्ती ही चाहिए? Not me. 

In all this fun, the monkey shenanigans successfully kidnap Mowgli to take him to their ape-king, King Louie, leaving Baloo helplessly approaching Bagheera to rescue him. 

King Louie on the other hand, tricks Mowgli into believing that he could stay back in the jungle, provided he lets King Louie become like him. Baloo and Bagheera reach just in time to learn that Louie is hell bent on learning to make fire, instead, as Shere Khan, the Supreme is scared of only fire! 

Their foot-tapping tune captures Baloo's musically inclined free spirit, to which Bagheera brings him back to his senses by saying, इस वक्त भेजा चाहिए, भंगड़ा नहीं

While they manage to barely escape with Mowgli in tow, we heave a sigh of relief too. By the time one realizes, Mowgli's journey has become our own too! :) 

After a fair share of gimmicks overnight, Bagheera succeeds in persuading Baloo to let go of Mowgli, to let him settle with the village-folk, but Baloo's persuasion in turn to Mowgli falls on deaf ears. 

Innocent Mowgli feels betrayed by his Papa Baloo and runs off, deep into the wilderness, only to be recaptured barely by Kaa, and comforted by a venue of vultures, who too, are unwelcome and displeasing to the creatures of the Wild. 

The final showdown with Shere Khan results in a severely injured Baloo rescuing Mowgli from the clutches of death, yet again, coupled with the alertness of those vultures. 

A lightning stricken tree branch provided for fire, which was no match for a helpless Shere Khan, जो अपनी 'दुम जला कर भाग लिया'

Just as the narrative is about to end on a sad note, with Baloo's death and Bagheera's declaration of him being a Hero, Baloo springs up to life saying, 'ऐ, बन्द मत कर बग्घू, अरे मस्त बोल रेला है!

It was as if life had been summoned back into lifeless being, that even the audience would rejoice at such a good news! 

All's well that ends well, especially if our Mowgli is smitten by a village belle, to be back where he belongs, while Baloo and Bagheera return to where they belong, isn't it? ;)


While as a child, I was intrigued by the mannerisms of each character in this fable (and continue to do so in a corner of my heart and mind, I believe), as an adult and a parent, I have been better able to draw a parallel between each of the character's personalities and the life lessons they impart. 

As engrossing as the narrative was, for a naive three-year-old, it was, is, and will be interesting for me as a grown-up, with its many adaptations too. 

As a parent, I felt a certain newness on re-exploring the fable with my child, appreciating or condemning certain qualities or shortcomings in each character as the narrative proceeded. 


Take for instance, the fact that Mowgli's was the most familiar characterization, for he was to be the star of the story, the one around whom the fable's numerous situations revolve! 
As a fictional feral child, he is able to evoke in his audience - children and adults alike - the emotions of amusement, sadness, anger, disappointment, and bewilderment, at various instances in the fable. 

On one hand, Raksha and Rama fit the bill in abiding by the gender stereotypes of the Wild, with the male choosing to hunt while the female rears her cubs. On the other hand however, be it in print or on celluloid, Raksha has always been portrayed as a mother who knows her business. It is this parental instinct which always binds a mother to her child, and Raksha to Mowgli too. 

The jungle is wilderness, and such wild attitude translates to danger for naivety, thus prompting Bagheera to mentor Mowgli to escape from the clutches of the ferocious Shere Khan, by persuading him to leave the jungle and return rightfully, to village-folk. 

Bagheera's art of persuasion is to be applauded, while he talks Baloo into his plan of Mowgli's return and Colonel Hathi to send his contingent to search for him when he runs off, into the jungle after being supposedly betrayed by Baloo. His stern attitude acts like Mowgli's guardian angel at more times than one and he is the perfect mentor to this man-cub! 

Kaa's deceitful gaze mirrors the fact that we as individuals too, could be led astray into unpleasant avenues, and one must exercise a certain degree of self-control in order to prevent probable mishaps. 

Baloo comes across as a generous teacher and friend, whom Mowgli addresses as 'Papa'. His uninhibited and exuberant outlook towards life in the jungle leads to Mowgli learning a trick or two regarding the Law of the Wild, from him. Baloo cares for Mowgli as his छोटे मियाँ and puts up a brave face, twice. Once, to prevent his kidnapping by the trouble-making monkeys, and second, to save Mowgli from the clutches of Shere Khan. 

Baloo prompts Mowgli to learn to fight like a Bear, from him, and when the man-cub lands a powerful punch, he is quick to remark, सही जगह पे फटका दिया, which leads me to believe that no matter how big a problem may seem to be, in its scale and stature, once one knows how to deal with it in the right manner, it is nothing but a mere grain of sand. 

King Louie presents another face of selfish treachery, by luring Mowgli with the rights to stay back in the Wild, provided he lets him in on Man's secret to making Fire. Just as monkeys are close behind Man with respect to evolution, Louie and his apes are the closest equivalent to Mowgli in the fable, thus repeatedly pursuing the man-cub, हम बनेगा जैसा तू! His myopic plan to threat Shere Khan with Fire, thus tilting the Jungle Throne in his favor is foiled by Bagheera and Baloo's wittiness. 

Shere Khan comes across as a ferocious beast, who has his own weaknesses - Man and Fire. He wants to suppress a potential hunter - a harmless man-cub by nipping it in the bud itself. This predator is shown riding high on his immense physicality as opposed to other animals who fear him for their lives. 

Mowgli comes across here, as a confident, fearless individual who emphasizes the fact that he can care for himself in the wilderness, while not being bothered by any Shere Khan. What outwits the Tiger on the other hand is the fact that the man-cub was the first of his kind, who refused the join the league of other apprehensive and terrified creatures in the jungle. 

Towards the end, it is not physical stature, but the presence of mind, that leads Mowgli to outlast the Tiger in the big, wide, and wild Jungle


There is not just one favorite character or memorable instance from this classic by Rudyard Kipling but the beauty in its narrative's entirety which leads me to believe that each incident and character in the story complement one another and lead the fable to achieve its rightful beginning and end. 

I believe that there is a Mowgli in each of us, guided towards right or wrong by its alter-egos in the form of such fauna's personality traits as in the Jungle Book. This fact leads me to be of the opinion that my entire experience with The Jungle Book, as a kid and as an adult, forms for a beautiful #MyMowgliMemory

Would you like to share your #MyMowgliMemory with me too? :)


I’m blogging about #MyMowgliMemory at BlogAdda.

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