Double delight of jungle world
Rubinder Gill

The Thama Stories
by Kamala Laxman.
Puffin Books. Pages 124. Rs 150.

The Thama StoriesDelightful adventures of little Thama, the beautiful and happy baby elephant, elicit more than a chuckle as the stories progress. Kamala Laxman has written happy and simple stories for children, chronicling experiences of Thama with other creatures of the forest, who he wins over with his childish naivet`E9 and pranks. To add to the delight are illustrations by the famous R.K. Laxman. Thama and his friends and their expressions are caught excellently by the master.

Naughty Thama lives happily with his mother and stumbles from one experience to other, as the old guard of the jungle looks on indulgently at his antics. His good friend, the little bird Gumchikki, comes to his aid more than once with his magic, sometimes turning him into a small, tiny baby elephant and at others working his tricks on Pasha, the wicked old tiger who is the terror of the jungle, to save Thama from his clutches. Terrified Pasha vows never to hurt anyone again and turn benign and Thama’s friend. His other cronies include Hebavoo, the old python, Mangu, the monkey, Anilu the squirrel and not to forget Garagasa, the crocodile.

Thama’s experiences and pranks are varied. He is almost gobbled up by Pasha before Chikki casts his magic. Another time he befriends his own shadow in the well, talking to it and saving from his own food to take little snacks for his friend. Only old Hebavoo knows what Thama is up to and comes to love the naive baby dearly. Thama is confronted with the truth when he jumps in to meet his friend residing at the bottom of the well.

Another time Thama frightens the whole forest with his appearance after playing in the mud and rolling around in dry leaves. He is at a loss to understand why everyone is running away from him. After the wicked beast gets a bath from his mother, it turns out to be beautiful Thama.

It offers an excellent visit to Thama’s world of wonder and delight.