Do ghante late hai.” It’s two hours late.

Our hearts sank as Father relayed this information to us.

It was in the early 1990, We were making our annual trip to the Cowbelt, accompanied by poori-aloo in a silver foil, paper soap, and luggage secured by chain and lock.

As the suitcases were deployed as makeshift stools, we eight year olds looked around anxiously for the hawker with the acronym A.H.W. painted on his cart. We’d been waiting for this visit to the railway platform for 15 days. Why? Because we knew the new set of comics had arrived.

Before we succumbed to the action-packed DC/Marvel comics rip-offs, we waited for Chacha Choudhary.

An old man who looked like a Haryanvi Tau blessed with a brain which works faster than a computer.

He was accompanied by a 15-foot tall alien, Sabu, who wore a kachcha (briefs), ear rings and gumboots, and causes volcanic activity on Jupiter if you rubbed him the wrong way.

Sabu travelled abroad by sitting on top of planes, and if you are late for something, he could send you flying to your destination with a gentle kick. His war-cry was “hu-huba”. He consumed 108 rotis and 20 litres of lassi for lunch.

Chacha Chaudhary had a completely vegetarian dog named Rocket, a nagging wife, lovingly called Bhaagyawan, who loved to cook halwa and mattar pulao, and a twin brother named Chhajju Chaudhary, who not as bright, but was useful when it came to dodging enemies. Once, aliens abducted Chhajju, mistaking him for Chacha, and took him to Mars. (According to Diamond comics, there are three planets with intelligent life in this solar system.)

There was a worthy villain, named Raaka, a dacoit who turned into an immortal giant after drinking a magic potion made by Chakram Acharya. He was mostly a T Rajender clone.

Dhamaka Singh and Gobar Singh, the fierce dacoits, were forever trying to outsmart Chacha Choudhary, armed just with his stick, his turban and assisted by his dog Raaket.

In hindsight, it all seems unbelievably ridiculous.

Yet, we waited for each new episode of Chacha Choudhary, for its simplicity, for the overall good naturedness of its characters, for its constant effort to prove that it was Chacha Chaudhary’s brain that saved the day, not Sabu’s out-worldly strength. (Also, I must admit, for the free sticker or a fridge magnet that sometimes came with the comic.)

We never knew who created Chacha Chaudhary or seemed to care about this. Pran’s signature on top of his comic titles appeared to me as random as Roman numerals. Ironically, by the time we came to know who the creator was, we had moved on.

Pran Kumar Sharma died on Tuesday. He may not have been Bill Watterson, sketching complex life lessons in three panels or less. But he was certainly India’s Walt Disney, for the amount of unbridled joy he spread through his creations.

Pran used to sign off every issue with the line, "If I can make one person happy, will consider my mission complete."

I can’t speak for others. But to one small boy sitting by the window of a train flipping pages 20 years ago, Pran had more than fulfilled his mission. 

Asthana tweets as @GabbbarSingh.