Sunday, September 21, 2008

Chuck and Geck - down memory lane again

Wow!!! To read this story after nearly 30 years!! The magic was all still there.
I could almost smell the fir trees, feel the deep snow under my feet, glimpse the bears and wolves far off and see the long stream of steam trailing behind the train as it snaked thru the crystal clear Taiga morning.

Thanks to my friend Seema, who seems as much excited as I am by the quest for classics and my childhood favourite books, I managed to get hold of a volume of short stories by Arkady Gaidar. And Chuck and Geck (I had thought this was Chuk and Gek earlier- thanks to having read the version in phonetic Malayalam) is one of the gems in this book. Now I can hardly wait to finish the rest of the stories.

Seema managed this amazing feat with her usual flair- she just bullied some of her bookstore owner friends- and out pops the volume in 2 weeks flat. What I have been looking for, for the last 25 years!!

I had spent so much time in my childhood reading up Russian and other erstwhile Soviet states’ folk tales that Chudo-Yudo, Baba-Yaga and the Russian Bogatyrs, not to mention Ivan the brave and Vassilisa the beautiful had become as much part of my imaginary world as Vishnu, Shiva, Asuras, Devas etc. To be able to read these stories from the USSR from around 1935-1945 would be a great treat.

Thanks Seema.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is always nice to come across someone who feels the same way about literature. Like a kindred soul, as u said. I used to be a voracious reader when I was younger. Now I read whenever I can snatch some time away from my responsibilities. There is something comforting about having your favourite books around you, especially the ones you have read as a child. They are like old friends. I still have my collection of Enid Blyton books, which I dip into occasionally. While I don’t share your interest in Shakespeare, I can appreciate how an interest in one subject can lead you into another. I am doing a course in Entomology & am reading books on the subject. The section about the evolution of insects in these books has led me into the fascinating world of fossils. Now I am looking for books on this & also geology
I enjoy visiting secondhand bookstores to look for out-of-print, old & rare books. I have been looking for a book called “Cheaper by the Dozen” by Frank & Ernestine Gilbreth. It’s a hilarious account about a motion study expert with a family of 12 kids. I read it when I was a teenager & thereafter I lost it to someone who did not return it.
By the way, Chuk & Gek has been made into an award-winning movie too.
Nice to share this with you.
Au revoir!
Seema

Roon said...

Somehow - I have never heard of "Chuck and Geck"... will search for it now. By the way, just to turn you a shade green - am just about to get my hands on the complete set of Phantom comics from a secret source ;-)... AND I have the time to read it in leisure !!! Dont you envy me ?

Sukanya said...

I loved Chuck and Geck--read it in Bengali and English many moons back. Unfortunately I no longer have that book
I also used to love reading Alexandra Raskins "When Daddy Was A Little Boy"

Anonymous said...

WOW. So I'm not the only one searching for this book. I read this in Telugu. Kids of my generation will never forget those glossy color books from Russia. And the translation was authentic too.
Thanks to internet, I'm able to read chandamama and hopefully one day some one will put the pdf of this great kids book

Anonymous said...

Chuck and Geck is available in PDF at arvindguptatoys.com.. cheers

David Aplin said...

Great book. I read it in my childhood and never forgot it. Our copy, although it was a sturdy cloth-bound hard cover, was torn to shreds bit by bit by myself and my two brothers. I wish I could find a copy and read it to my son. Alas, it is a different world...kids click and point and don't read as much as we did when we were kids.

Ramgopal Vallath said...

Hey David,
I thought these stories only sold where the erstwhile USSR had influence. Like India. I managed to get this thanks to my friend Seema. I agree about kids today, though luckily my daughter reads.

jolly said...

in my childhood, I and my brothers and sisters travelled several times with chuck and Geck. In that travel, we felt the shivering cold and saw the moon is growing day by day.It was a malayalam translation. Now, after 30 years I searched Chuck and Geck to travel once again with my children. But I found them nowhere.

Ramgopal Vallath said...

Sukanya, Jolly, Anonymous, I think Arkady Gaidar's books are now available in amazon.com. you can check.

Anonymous said...

It is bringing tears to my eyes after just now finding chuk and gek as pdf ,its after 30 yrs i will be reading it again but this time to my kids ..These were the gems(ivan ,vasilisa ,heera moti) my father introduced us to and i want to continue the legacy by introducing these simple and touching stories to my children...I also have found -papa jab bacche the(when daddy was a lil boy) and its already become a favorite with my kids ...these stories are unforgettable

Smitha said...

I cannot express how happy I am to find this blog. I share the exact same story- names and place/time differs. I have been looking out everywhere to grab hold of this book as I had lost mine, years ago. Thank you guys for letting me know that I can purchase the book from mathrubhoomi books site. I just purchased 2 copies and will be gifting to my little nieces- but only after reading it again, myself :). I want them to experience the same emotions and joy. Kudos guys.. u r the best ♥

Ramgopal Vallath said...

Dear Smitha, it is a pleasure. So glad you could find the book.

green_love said...

Unbelievable! I thought I was the only one looking for Chuck and Gek! I feel an immediate connection to all of you. I can not count how many times I read this book (in Tamil!)when I was a child. Every detail of that train journey and all those illustrations are still fresh in my memory! I was deliriously happy when I found this book on line in a Canadian book store several years ago. I gave it to my younger sister (who was equally fond of this book) as a birthday gift which is the biggest sacrifice I have ever made! Now I am looking for a copy for myself! I will swoon with delight if the Tamil version is available somewhere!
Am still a big fan of Russian literature. Am re-reading all the great works. My father worked for the Soviet Cultural office (literary section)too (not by chance!)

First words said...

Its so nice to see all of you, the lovers of chuck and gek. i cannot how many times i read it in my childhood. i still remember their train journey in a frozen winter December. Moon in the snow falling winter night. That time, winter and snow are absolutely an romantic memory for a child who lives in the tropical region. It is a very touching story and involves children in a boundaryless and ageless manner. In fact, i was searching for the book for my 11 year old child. i know it is reprinted in malayalam, but i need it in english. it is such a lovely piece of literature.....