Baba Yaga. India Ink, pencil on paper.
Baba Yaga, Ivan Bilibin
Hedgehog in the fog
Once upon a time, in a very far away land we all grew up on Russian fairy tales. We bought books published by Mir Publications, Moscow. They were cheap and translated into our languages. And they were wonderful.
If my childhood memories are made. in equal measure, from the Indian mythology and the tales of brave Ivan, the youngest son of the farmer, it is because of Mir Publications.
But that was then.
When Soviet Russia went away, the books went away too.
The stories, gone.
Baba Yaga, the tormentor of my dreams, gone.
I hang on to memories from the days. And I scourge the internet for anything, anything that would bring back those books I loved and lost many moons ago.
I recently came across Vladimir Arkhipov’s wonderful book – ‘Home-Made’. A book about contemporary Russian folk artifacts. And I could see the creativity with which the men and women of the then Soviet Russia led their lives.
I stumbled across, thanks to Anvita, on a very beautiful Russian cartoon film, ‘the Hedgehog in the fog’, and my heart was overwhelmed by its beauty.
And searching for Mir Publications I came across many a post mourning its loss. And I saw, once again, the illustrator who coloured my dreams as a child, Ivan Bilibin.
I do not know the politics of life, of nations and of the world. All I know is, without Russia my childhood wouldn’t be half as sweet. And my memories not powerful enough to make me write and draw them for the rest of my life.