There are some stories you read once and forget. Then there are a select few tales you love going back to time and again. So it happens with the stories of famous court jester of Sri Krishnadevaraya, the emperor of Vijayanagara empire — Tenali Raman or Tenali Rama. One of the eight poets at Krishnadevaraya’s court, he was noted for being quick-witted and brilliance that resulted in a number of stories about him.
I, as a kid, had read about Tenali and his adventures. In fact, I remember watching a television series sometime in mid-2017. I am not sure if it is still on air. But when Toonz Animation India Pvt Ltd’s recently released The Best of Tenali: Tales of Wit and Adventure, a comic-book omnibus by Puffin Books (Rs 499; 324 pages) highlighting 10 rollicking stories of wit, wisdom and hilarious antics found its way on my workstation, courtesy my younger daughter who got it as a gift from an aunt, I grabbed it with the same enthusiasm as I had done decades back.
The stories are about the charming Tenali, the shrewd Rajguru, the silly Tingary and Tenali’s pet cat Sundari on their many adventures including chasing a flying machine that goes berserk, rewriting the Mahabharata and outwitting an evil puppeteer. However, the biggest plus of The Best of Tenali: Tales of Wit and Adventure, I feel, is its presentation, especially the illustrations. They are just fantabulous.
A must pick if you like reading tales of the yore.