Asterix and his friend Obelix have turned 50. These Gauls had become our family favourities a few years ago. I came to know about these through my cousin and we borrowed the same from the lending library in Kochi. My father and brother too got interested in the same. I used to go to the library to hunt for books along with my sister. This was in early 80’s. As these were not simple comic strip but a slightly sophisticated one it needed a special orientation to enjoy one. First I was not interested in reading them like I enjoyed Jughead and Archie comics. The Mansion of the Gods was the first book I read. I think there were only 7-8 books in that library. We finished that with in no time. Then we borrowed the same again and again and I fell in love with that comic series.

After my wedding when I was in Calcutta my husband too shared similar interest and we could find Asterix in lending libraries of Gariahat pavements, in South Calcutta. These libraries worked on a simple mechanism, they take the cost of the book as deposit and when the borrower returned them after reading they collected a nominal reading fee adjusting the deposit. As these libraries were close to our house we found these libraries easy to take a book and forgo the deposit to own it. This also helped us in some ways as, if the book was not a new one the deposit was only a percentage of the price of the book. Pretty soon our collection increased to 10-12 volumes which is still in my collection.

Even before my son was born I had my nephew who was 4 1/2 years staying with us as his mother was into taking up some special studies. He had this habit of asking for stories from Asterix. I used to get into a fix wondering how I could explain this young kid who was only into his LKG this complicated humour and ended up concocting my own big yarns of the Obelix and Dogmatix which if Goscinny had heard probably would have hired me as his understudy and every night I imagined Goscinny turning in his grave when I wove a new yarn for my nephew. But I did fancy my nephew enjoyed my yarns as much as I enjoyed Asterix and Obelix. By the time my son was inquisitive enough to enquire into Asterix and Obelix I had become an expert and my son was soon an addict even before he got into school.

My son was fascinated to see the duo Asterix and his inseparable friend Obelix finishing off the wild boars and Obelix running for more and more. Later we bought few more Asterix comics. I think we have about 20 in our possession. I feel these books make me relax and I do not mind going through them over and over again. My son too became a fan of the same series and now a days he has switched over to e- reading.

The story is woven around the Gauls in a village who have not surrendered to the Romans. They have funny names and expressions and they are innocent people who indulge in eating, fighting and making merry. The way they bash up the Romans after taking up the magic potion and collecting their helmets as souvenir and having a banquet at the end of each adventure with Cacophonix tied up to a tree is sufficient to make the mind light and brings out giggles very often.

The contribution made by Mr.Goscinny and Mr. Uderzo is quite great and the translators also need equal praise .

Mr. Goscinny is no more and Mr.Uderzo is in charge of the cartoons and the script now. He has taken care that this comic series will continue in the future after him. Now there are about 34 books on Asterix and his adventure. People who are not into reading these comics can very well give a try as each book is hilarious. If at all there is one book which you never find it boring after repeated reads it is Asterix, as you can always find something to feel cheer and funny about in each section of the page.

In fact my son would have read each of our possession may be hundred times over. Quite often we have woken up in the middle of the nights hearing giggles from my son’s bed room only to find him tucked in the bed with an Asterix in hand and profusely enjoying with bouts of laughter. He has become an incorrigible Asterix addict.

Long live Asterix and his Friends!

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