Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My vodaphone book

After a long while and much problems this post is finally up. It was hard figuring out how to present and arrange all the pages, vertically in two or three columns if at all or whether to approach the whole idea from a tangent, through this grid format. Alongside were attendant compression etc. problems. Either I am dumb or someone should put a dummies guide to blogging images out there!! :)

So finally amid much busy-ness and uncertainty, here it is. Ta dahhhh. A series of sketches from a new book of mine, that was made for me by my teacher and friend Tarun. The little book is hand-made and completely jugadu; I love it!!! Especially the cover, made from old vodaphone post-paid billing envelopes. I received this wonderful gift just before a trip to Pune and New Delhi, and since I had not drawn for awhile, I set myself the task of completing it on the visit.

Of course, I did nothing for the first few days. Then I went to visit my grandparents, and if you pay attention you will see most of the sketches were from their house. They are actually done over a day and a half, and yes, I am surprised at myself too. But I really felt like a switch had been flipped to 'on' inside me, and I could not stop drawing.

Materials and medium: Rotoring pen (0.2mm), Ink pen on paper.
Thank you to Mummy, Papa, Saroji Athe, Patti, Thatha, Ruchita, Jasjyot, Tarun and the Chinar room at the India habitat Centre in New Delhi. Please do let me know what you think.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

May it end

This is a sketch I had done last year, as I spent the summer here in Ahmedabad.

It is very hot.

Of late, I have been getting up very early and then running indoors to my office where I hide away all day.We all turn to each other and murmur 'climate change', then flip on the switches of AC's and coolers, and keep them running all day. But how can we not? I glance outside my window and wince as I see the sunlight glinting off the tarmac.I feel its force stretch out to me, through the walls and the glass window, right past the cool air swirling to settle around me.

How can the daily wage earners survive in this heat? They must walk around on the roads all day and wait to earn their money. Wait as the sun and the hot air weigh down upon them. How have things come to this pass? When will we reach the point of no return, from where we cannot invent tools and create shelter to protect us? When will we all turn to dust in the heat?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

For women

For the last month and a half, I have been working on a publication on Indian women. It has been both exciting and nerve-wracking, as I have served as a co-writer, illustrator and graphic designer on this project.

The poster above was done at a day long workshop that was held to generate original content for our book. It is completely hand done, and I am particularly happy about the straight lines and clean finish. I've come a long way in the past few years. :)

The idea is to evoke that transition period from girl to woman, as the title suggests "Growing Up". More that anything else, I wanted to visually depict how at this time, we as women begin to see ourselves as others see us. As objects to be possessed and reshaped. I am not saying that this is the case always, but every woman has felt this way to some extent or the other. But as for this piece itself, it was therapeutic to draw and complete. Perhaps when you write your fears/feelings down on paper, they seem to become more manageable.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

My book!!!!

My first book as an illustrator and designer has finally been published. :) It is called "Monkey Tales" by Rohinton Mody and is a retelling of The Jataka Tales for young children, published by Mapin Publications and Harper Collins Children's books. It is surreal but amazing, and also unbelievable that this moment is finally here...

I have attached a sample of the illustrations below, featuring four of the protagonists from each of the stories in the book. They are done in a collage/ cut-out style using natural textures. I thought this was a wonderful technique to use for children, who would find it ( I hope :) ) visually attractive.

Do have a look in stores and let me know what you think.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The year I was born

A few weeks ago, Professor Dipankar Gupta from JNU (Jawaharlal National University), New Delhi came to Ahmedabad. He addressed a gathering of people, mostly students, and spoke about his research. Currently he is working with victims of the 2002 riots in Ahmedabad and looking at what he calls "memories of carnage."

His words reminded me of a long buried 'field study' I had done during the course of my studies, as a young student of 19.

I was born in New Delhi in the year 1984, a few months prior to Indira Gandhi's assassination and the Sikh riots that followed in the city. Growing up, I had occasionally heard about the events of those times but only in a hazy manner. Upon posing questions, I was always given the same response; it was a long time ago, why should we talk about it now? This was a response I faced even while I subsequently made my student documentary film on the poet Wali Gujarati.

A certain kind of politics and politicizing in India, especially in film-making, is looked at askance. Why are you bringing up these questions and courting trouble? What do you hope to gain? These are the questions your potential audience asks you. And on the other side your work can be hijaked by the media and other organisations, and presented as something it is not. Others feel free to criticise your vision as a director because they think you were scared of telling 'the truth'. What is the truth? Is film-making truth?

In both my documentary film : "Words in Stone" and this audio documentary "1984" (below), I have tried to look at the idea of change and memory. My films do not deny certain events took place, but instead of getting caught up in oft repeated arguments and finger pointing, they look at real people and how they were shaped by these events. In collating and presenting these personal narratives, both these films present a truth that cannot be denied. To date as I watch and listen to both of these works, though many problems within them strike me in terms of their form and their structuring as films, I am satisfied with the questions I set out to find answers to and the reasons behind my search.

These works will always remind me of those unheard stories that lie waiting around the corner of our homes.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Time catching up

At this moment I feel like someone stepping into a confession booth; about to begin by asking for forgiveness since it has been so long since my last post. For the few people who actually bothered to feel upset about this, I thank you and I wish you a happy new year, with this new posting, which will hopefully signal more to come. And I also share my new year's resolution to do the same.

What to say, I guess time really did squeeze and congeal for me back there a bit. I really cannot believe it has been so long. There is a lot of news and much to share, but most importantly I am happy to tell you that my first book as an illustrator is now done and is in the stores for sale! It is called "Monkey tales" by Rohinton Mody. Go out and get a copy!! :)

But more on that this weekend, along with the long overdue credit sequence for the film "Saray".For now, here are these few moments that I have collected over this time, to share.

From last summer:

In July:

A question I am still trying to answer:

As for my last post "Mar adentro", I will say that work has happily begun on that project. Watch this space for more developments! :)