Children

Pearl of wisdom

Illustrations: Sahil Upalekar  

Phew! Thirty! I can’t believe I’ve been around for 30 years. Seems like yesterday when I saw the world for the first time. I rolled out in a flash of colour and, of course, there was a big shindig. Everyone clapped their hands and danced for joy. I smiled.

My initial years were a challenge. I was big — yes, quite big — but not stout. But I was robust. Every Saturday, I took a walk around the country. People waited eagerly for me to visit. More often than not, when I landed up at their doorsteps, there would be a fight. And, it was not just the kids in the house who fought over me. The parents and even grandparents joined in. It was nice to feel wanted. I made them think, I made them laugh and, sometimes, I even made them cry. But, regardless of the reactions I evoked in them, I was always welcome. The good part was, week by week, the number of house calls I made was increasing.

An eventful year

Pearl of wisdom

The year 1990 was eventful. Some people say, “Oh, you were born in the year the Hubble Space Telescope was launched.” Others say, “Ah! Yes, that’s the year the World Wide Web gained a public face…” and yet others remember it as the year the F-16s and F-15s flew over the burning oil fields in Operation Desert Storm. Or, they nod sadly and say, “Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady, resigned that year!”

In my time, I have seen many wars, political upheavals, natural disasters and non-natural disasters too. Beginning with the Gulf War in 1990, I have seen the quite a few, including the Kargil War. Yes, you could say I’ve been in the wars.

These 30 years have also been eventful ones on the silver screen and with the printed word. This wizard child, Harry Potter caused quite a stir when he made an appearance in 1997. And I, in my inimitable style, must take credit for some of his popularity. I have spoken about all the books and movies in the series … have literally watched him grow.

But all has not been fine. I have seen the assassination of great men and women like Muammar Gaddafi, Benazir Bhutto, Rajiv Gandhi, Olof Palme, Anwar Sadat to name a few.

In the five years since the world wide web was made public, there were 45 million people using the Internet. I can proudly say that I am one of them. In fact, today, my work is predominantly done online. That’s progress I say.

I have watched several world leaders come and go. It’s been a long run.

But leave aside all that’s happening around the world. Let me tell you about myself. I’ve met with success. I am now what people would call ‘compact’. I have had a facelift three or four times. Today, I am more colourful and appealing. The stories I tell are specifically tailored for you. I bring you games and puzzles too. And, now, I pay my house calls on Friday.

Every year, when I celebrate my birthday, I think of all of you. I think of how much you mean to me. My birthday parties are different. It’s more exciting than just a cake and candles. Don’t get me wrong, that’s fun too.

Pearl of wisdom

A painting competition, an all-India quiz and even a commemorative postal cover came out in my name as a part of my birthday celebrations. I’ve had some special turnouts at my quiz shows. One time Narain Karthikeyan came and at another Karun Chandok. Can you beat that? On my 25th birthday, I celebrated with a host of programmes – almost 13 of them. From a bird walk and a snake walk to a beach clean-up and even a fitness workshop.

Sadly, this year, though a milestone birthday, is going to be a quiet one. That’s why I decided to tell you my story.

Do you know who I am?

If you haven’t guessed it as yet, let me tell you. I am Young World. I am a colourful 16-page magazine brought out just for you. In my pages, you will find short stories, history, geography, games, quizzes, crosswords, folk tales and even some spooky tales. The best of my stories have been brought out as books so that you keep them on your shelves and read them whenever you want. A few years ago, we decided to open our door to aspiring editors among our readers. We started a Guest Editor programme and it’s been exciting to have young minds work on my pages.

My first masthead showed two children looking out at a million stars. And, that’s what Young World continues to do for you: it brings everyday wonders into your life.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2021 5:03:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/pearls-of-wisdom-young-world-30th-anniversary-special/article33132389.ece

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