An Event in the Life of Kolynos Thankaraj
Story and art by Prakash Moorthy
This comic is a quirky satirical story, centring around a forest guard who only wanted to be a desk clerk, and an extraordinary incident that rounds off his day of retirement.
The Kolynos Smile
Kolynos was a brand of toothpaste that was popular over most of the 20th century. The name derived from the Greek ‘kolys nosos’, meaning ‘disease protection’. Ads posited its major benefit as the ‘Kolynos smile’.
Here’s an ad for Kolynos toothpaste from the 1970s: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAjizYlsivM
Since it was sold to Colgate-Palmolive in 1995, it has largely been sold in South American markets.
The ‘Rajamalai’ where Thankaraj is sick of working is another name for the Eravikulam National Park, located in the southern Western Ghats near Idukki, Kerala. It is best known as a home of the highly endangered Nilgiri Tahr, a type of mountain goat.
The national park is composed mainly of grasslands and shola forests. This grassland-shola forest combination is typical vegetation of the valleys of southern India.
In the course of the story, Thankaraj “attains serious Cubism”. Cubism is an early 20th-century art movement that revolutionised European painting and sculpture. In Cubist artwork, objects – including human figures – are broken up and reassembled in an abstracted form. Instead of being depicted from a single viewpoint, they are instead visualised from a multitude of viewpoints. Pablo Picasso was a founder and is the best-known proponent of Cubism. Much of modern art developed thought processes based on this pioneering style.