When I was expecting my son last year, there was one piece of advice almost everyone showered on me. To read, listen and watch stuff that the baby would enjoy. As I wondered what shows/movies to watch, the first name that came to my mind was none other than "The Jungle Book"
Every evening, Mr. Hubby and I would leisurely watch Jungle book episodes and I would go back to my childhood.
As all children of the 80's and 90's would agree, Jungle Book had a very important role to play in our childhood. Not even a single child would be seen outdoors at 10am on Sundays as all of them would be glued to their TV sets watching Jungle Book. So much was the craze that once when a classmate of mine got a pencil box with Mowgli printed on it, the entire class went in a frenzy to buy similar pencil box!
What was so special about a simple tale of a jungle, a human baby and animals that it is still engraved in our hearts and minds?
The first thought that comes to my mind is the song, "Jungle Jungle Pataa Chala hai, Chaddi pehenke phool khilaa hai" and the smiling faces of Mowgli, Bagheera, Baloo, Pappu, Ka and others. I must confess, the title song has such emotional value for me that often when my 9 month old son has trouble falling asleep, I hum this song and rock him to sleep.
Jungle Book is not just a story. It is the story of our lives - of triumphs and failures; of loyalty and deceit; of friendship and animosity; of love and jealousy; of discipline and rebellion. Each character and each scene of Jungle Book resonates the songs of our lives. Perhaps thats why Jungle Book strikes the perfect chord and it was the perfect choice to have fun and at the same time refresh the lessons of life...
There is a Mowgli in all of us -
As a kid, the biggest reason which kept me hooked on to the Jungle Book was Mowgli. I could somehow relate to him on several instances. Like Mowgli, I too had my moments of mischief, fun with friends, rebellion, concern for my loved ones and aggression for anyone who dared to challenge me.
Family & friends
Jungle Book taught me very early in life, the importance of family and friends. Despite being a human, Mowgli was treated no different by his family and friends. Often, when I used to see Mowgli being pampered by his mom Chameli, I too used to become a small child and give my mom a bear hug! It is important to choose friends wisely, for good friends show us the correct path and stand by us in every situation, just like Bagheera, Baloo, Ka and Pappu! If you look around at your friends, you will always find a Bagheera who shows you the right path without being preach; a Baloo who may not be stylish but is the most sincere and sensible; a Ka who knows it all and a Pappu who is your follower!
Break the rules and face the music
Nobody could have taught this better than the Jungle Book. Time and again, we see repercussions of breaking rules of the Jungle. Be it crossing over to the forbidden side of the river, or ignoring the instructions of elders. My mom often made good use of this fact and often used to tell me, "see what happened to Mowgli when he didn't listen to his mom and went to the forbidden part of the Jungle. You too should listen to what mamma says!" and I would nod my head in affirmation. What an age of innocence it was!
Face your fears
Mowgli was the super hero who never shied from taking risks and faced his fears. Fears also remind me of a funny incident. In one of the episodes, I saw Baloo telling Mowgli the Mahamantra of Jungle "Hum ek hee vansh ke hain, tum aur main"(We are no different) and Mowgli successfully uses this mantra to drive away the wild dogs. Once when a stray dog got after me, instead of running away, I decided to use Mowgli's mantra. However, to my surprise, it had no impact on the dog. Fortunately an elderly uncle was passing by who shooed the dog away and saved me the torture of anti rabies shots!
Us before Me
The animals of the jungle were very particular about the safety of the Jungle. When the rivers dried up, all the animals collaborated to share resources and decided not to hunt till the water problem was resolved. Whereas we humans think of serving our individual interests first. I wonder why do we humans forget this lesson in times of crisis.
Loving our environment
I used to be in awe watching Mowgli using climbers to move from tree to tree in no time! While I could not find climbers to try my luck, Mowgli for sure was my inspiration to climb trees. From guava to Jamun to Mango I didn't leave a single tree despite often being attacked by angry red ants peacefully resting in the tree trunks!
As a parent, I feel there cannot be anything better than Jungle Book to teach your child the lessons of life without sounding preachy. I look forward to the day when my son grows up and I can watch Jungle Book with him and share my memories!
Jungle Book releases on April 8. Catch the movie and relive your memories!