About this blog

And here I am, adding yet another blog to the long list of blogs that I seem to be miraculously managing amidst all my daydreaming. This one, however, is for the mundane day to day happenings

Thursday, 24 December 2009

From Frustration to Flying Elephants

Being an unrecognized artist and an unpublished writer can be quite a frustrating business. Especially when one does it on a full-time basis. I can verywell imagine what America must have felt before being discovered by Christopher Columbus. There is always a part of you that keeps telling you that success is just a few more miles away, you will get there in good time, and hence you must keep going. But there is also this other part that creeps into focus every once in a while (most often accompanied by an unpaid bill or two) blaming you for having put everything else at stake to pursue your dreams. In the resulting implacable debate, it is always the former that succeeds and ends up convincing me to carry on in the path that i have chosen. It tells me to get there or die trying and I just heed

Fort Cochin turned out to be far more beautiful than i had expected it to be. Last weekend I got to hang out there with a bunch of awesome people. There is never a dull moment when story-tellers, writers, editors, and artists gather around a coffee table. And there I was, right amidst a group of fellow-sapiens, sipping on a cup of earl grey, and deeply engaged in trading tales for tales. After that, we took a stroll about the harbor and I realized for the second time since Vasco how much i loved the sight of ships - sailing away and coming in from far far away, each having a story of its own to tell. There was this red cargo ferry, the color of blood, heading off towards the horizon. Its name, 'The Red Pearl', was painted across its back in bold white letters. I kept watching it till it looked no bigger than a tiny speck of blood from a pin-prick on the surface of the water. Oddly enough, it reminded me of the umpteen times I've had my skin scraped by thorns while playing with my cousins in my aunt's rose-garden. From somewhere off the shore came what I think is a destroyer, going by the the stuff I have learned from my grandpa's lectures about the different types of ships and boats that they use in the Indian Navy. It was the same greyish blue color that the sea was during that hour of the day. On its deck, in the scorching sun, stood motionless and in attention, eight navel police men in lightning-white uniforms. They looked just like the front row of white pawns in a game of chess that was just about to commence. The knight...rook..erm...captain...Master chief at arms..or whoever he was - that pompous man in the slightly more dignified looking uniform - seemed to me, judging by his vigorous lip movements, to be abusing them. It was bad enough to be made to stand out there under the burning gas-ball. I thought about how much I would have hated the guts of Mr. Pompous-in-a-more-dignified-looking-uniform, had I been one among the eight hapless pawns standing in attention on the deck and being shouted at

On the other side of the harbor were Chinese fishing nets that looked like those giant catapults that were used to haul rocks at the charging troops during the medieval days. If you have played 'Age of empires' or any of its succeeding strategy games, you would know what I am talking about. We stood there watching as one of the contraptions was being pulled up from the water, expecting to see a truck load of ill-fated fishes rising to their doom. Instead, in the middle of the giant net, jumping up and down as if on a trampoline, was a single fish hardly a foot long. Those Chinese nets could have been put to better use if they had been improvised to catapult people from one side of the harbor to an awaiting giant cushion on the other. It would any day have been more fun than traveling across the harbor on a slow boat

You might find the streets of Fort Cochin to be very similar to how you would have pictured an 18th century port-town to be: Intricate paths of cobbled stone, with antique shops, old cafés, inns, and foreign currency exchange counters tightly packed together on either sides. You get to see people from almost every corner of the world trotting, walking, and cycling around as though they all belonged there

Before sundown we were seated in a rattling mess of a red bus heading to a friend's house where we were being put up for the night. As the bus tossed us about while careening through the pot-hole infested roads of Cochin, my mind shifted from its former state of frustration to my regular world of flying elephants, white whales, and steam-punk cloning machines made out of dismantled old train engines

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Loners Inc.

I recently happened to have a conversation, more like a debate actually, with a fellow artist and a good friend of mine about what it is that makes artists and writers tick. We both ended up agreeing to one point. Most artists and writers are by nature introverts and the lack of human interactions actually seem to be helping us in exploring a lot more inside our heads than outside. Yes, we do miss out on a good deal of social life, sometimes to the extend that we get referred to as being anti-social, which is not quite a good thing. It is not as if we don't enjoy being with friends. It is just that we prefer solitude by the end of the day so that we can sort things out in our heads and cook up something worth our while. We need time for some serious daydreaming. After all, we make a living by trading our dreams

The flipside of this is that we learn about human nature more from movies and literature than through actual interaction. Our social circle stays restricted to just the handful of people we are able to share our comfort zone with. So coming up with characters and images that every reader/viewer can relate to becomes a challenge at times. Finding a balance between art and social life continues to remain a tricky business to me

Getting back to life, and things around me, I woke up today with a semi-gothic poem ringing inside ma head and I wrote it down first thing in the morning. Dreams fade away by mid-day and are best documented before breakfast! Then I found time to read Will Eisner's brilliant work, New York - The big city, and it inspired me into thinking why not document the unique things that happen around where I live, in what Rosh mockingly calls my Indo-French style :). Then i made a very long list of all the things that one gets to see only in the streets of Trivandrum, one of the Southernmost cities of India, and the homeland of yours truly.
So here I am, presenting to you all, Trivandrum - Life in the small city (link)
Merryn is on a train headed South to her home as we speak and I wish her a safe n happy journey. Come back to me soon!

Wednesday, 9 December 2009


One of the joys of being an artist is that we get to watch what can be described as our own style gradually evolving. As children, most of us start off after being inspired by one or more of those art-Gods out there. As time advances, something unique to each of us starts showing in our work. Whether it is the good kind of unique or the bad kind of unique is what decides our success or failure in as an artist. Then again, the beauty of art, like that of any other form of beauty, lies in the eyes of the beholder. In the end, it all comes down to the Darwinian theory of natural selection. If the unique traits of the artist are appealing to the viewers and à la mode, they get passed on. If not, they face extinction. As simple as that

As a part time artist, I have been experimenting with umpteen different styles. Its not until recently, after art and storytelling became my first priorities, that I switched predominantly to a style that I felt I can do most justice to in terms of expressiveness. Of course, I am aware of the fact that I am nowhere close to my evolutionary best and perhaps there is no such thing as one's evolutionary best at all. The only thing one can do, I guess, is to keep competing with ones own best piece of work so far. That way you get to evolve in the direction you are meant to evolve instead of ending up as another poor man's Mr. X or poorer man's Ms. Y. The world, or nature, if you prefer putting it that way, cant possibly require more than one Mr. X or Ms. Y, can it? If it did, each of us wouldn't have been born different, right?

Okay.. time to get back to more mundane things. The day had been rather productive. Rosh, despite spending a good deal of his time waiting outside the burrow in the nearby field, hoping to get a clearer and closer picture of the lesser Indian civet, found enough time to finish two out of the three cover pages he is supposed to finish by the end of this week. They have come out really well too. Good job, bro. I am done with the letters for the first chapter of our graphic novel, and spent my spare time writing the script for a short comic. Its going to be a 4 page psychedelic shortie, and I hope to get it done during my leisure hours. Thats not all, folks; here is a piece I did during today's warm up session: link. Hope y'all dig it!

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Day 1

This being the first day since I started this blog, which is chiefly aimed at tackling my occasional writer's blocks, I've decided not to leave it untouched. So here I am taking a break from finishing up a rough draft of the pages of the graphic novel that I intend to take to a meeting on the 19th. Rosh, my colorist, and the closest I have to a brother, just walked by muttering "I just realized that the only woman the Hulk can do it with is the Elastigirl"

My letterer/girlfriend/love of my life (definitely not in that order) seems to be in bit of a mess post an episode involving blood, guts, and mutilated body parts, the gory details of which you can read in her journal, if you have the stomach for such stuff. Which means I'm gonna have to do a rough version of the lettering as well; which in turn means, I've got my hands full for the next ten days. So I'm gonna have to put my short-story 'Jaque and Jill' on hold for a bit. Let me apologize to all of you who are eagerly waiting to read the rest

I have posted some of the doodles that were done during the sketching session a La Café coffee-day last night . Maybe sometime today, I will be posting a picture that Rosh took of the strange visitor (which, to my great disappointment, was later found to be, as wikipedia tells me, a lesser indian civet, and not a denizen of wonderland) that came out of a burrow in the neighborhood. Good day to you all!

Monday, 7 December 2009


I was never a big fan of Eurodance pop groups and that is prettymuch the reason why i was never into Vengaboys. No offence to anyone; It is a highly subjective thing and is purely a matter of choice and taste that i found them to be quite irritating
But today, to my own surprise, I found myself humming 'To Brazil'. The credit, however, goes not to the Vengaboys, but to Terry Gilliam's masterpiece - Brazil
Never before, have i found a movie to be equally funny and disturbing at the same time. The movie offers you an alternative vision of not only the future, but also of the past and the present; and that too, with a steam-punk touch to everything
In a grim looking future, where society is controlled by a massive monolithic organization, a benevolent bureaucrat lands himself into trouble (and pretty deep...erm.. trouble at that) for trying to point out an administrative error
The movie deserves praise for its sheer originality in terms of both the characters, and the designs of environment and props. Despite being 24 years old, the movie is a visual treat even by today's standards. Jonathan Pryce, as the meek bureaucrat Sam Lowry, does a very convincing job; and Robert de Niro's cameo as Archibald "Harry" Tuttle, an illegal freelance repairman who defies the system by fixing things for the sheer joy of fixing them and that, sans bills, receipts, or any other administrative complications, leaves a long lasting impact
If you have read the novel 1984 by George Orwell or the graphic novel Oink: Heaven's butcher by John Mueller, and liked either one or both of them, then this definitely is a movie for you. It will take you on a trip you wont forget anytime soon and leave you with enough food for thought to last you at least a week
So in goes Brazil into my mile-long must-watch movie list