Life, People

People watching in Kolkata, 2: Own your presence Bengali!

Continuing from yesterday’s post on people watching, here’s another trip from last year.

“We spent seven beautiful days in Kolkata – beautiful days of Lakshmi Puja and Bhai Phonta. Though we both had to work a lot we got to spend some time with near and dear ones. And lots of near and dear food. Like chandrapuli, darbesh, narkel naru, malpua, chamcham, barfi, kochuri, jilipi and much more.”

I was reading Land of Seven Rivers by Sanjeev Sanyal on the journey and thinking about the pluralism and the melting pot that is India.

On this trip we “went to Seagull and bought lots of books, and finally sat down to draw at the airport.”

“Airport people are the best to draw. This restless Japanese tourist was not calm. Maybe his legs were aching. Maybe it was his heart.”

I was looking at the body language of the people around and thinking that “Bengalis always look so apologetic to be present. Like they don’t own the right to exist. They look too humble and sit as if they are trying to disappear into the background.

Be here, own your presence Bengali!”

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sketchbook

People watching in Kolkata

A trip back to my childhood home in Kolkata is always a bit disorienting for me.

Home: A constant reorientation of the self. Peeling back all the skins from the past.

In between all the usual socializing, I try to carve out some time to sit and draw the Bengalis, and secretly make snide comments into my sketchbook.

Thinking, how some people are totally unprepared for such close inspection. Including me of course. Flury’s, one afternoon in June 2018.

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List

14 years ago on inktales: October 2006

It was the first year of this blog and I was already documenting memories!

Before I forget – about my first real boyfriend. I bullied him into the relationship, broke up with him without warning and years later made these terrible drawings about him.

This post called Meeting in which I see the genesis of those early whimsical stories

and finally the tiger that graced our cricket matches once, was designed and animated by the brown boy.

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art, People, travels

Deez’s Evil Eye birthday

One evening in San Fransisco from a couple of years ago has been on my mind for the past few days. Deez was celebrating her birthday with some friends, and I joined in, glad to have caught up with her on this the trip. Here are my journal pages from that day.

“How many times in your life do you meet strangers and they have read your blog? Nothing like a surprise burst of celebrity-dom to bolster my ego!”

“In full entertainer mode I regaled everyone with stories of how the brown boy and I got together, and how did our little tornado come into our life.”

“We went for a long moonlight walk through the streets of Mission, took in the street art and curiosities peculiar to the culture. Arati told us stories of how the Mission came to be, and Deez her past selves that had moved through the area. We had awesome Mexican food and laughed so much.”

“There was happy birthday flan and we remembered all the stories of a dragonfly childhood. Remembered all the missing friends and how important they are.”

Here are some of the street art I saw:

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Reflection

Holding on

THURSDAY • 15th Aug holiday: Apart from mourning for democracy, spent grieving for my lost sense of humour and my declining sense of poetry. Which reminded me of what Lekha said once: “One day you’ll wake up and you won’t be able to recognize yourself…”. And how much of what is really worth it. “What is the price of your sense of self,” I ask the universe. “It’s a cup of coffee and a cookie,” says the brown boy.

This one is for Punam and Deepa.

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Life, List, sketchbook

A decade ago in inktales

Some of you may know that I’ve had this blog for nearly 15 years. The earliest post was May 2006. Here’s a post from those hot summer days when Delhi was baking and I was sitting in our top floor walk-up in East of Kailash, using our old Windows desktop to write those posts. This is the first one with the anteater –

who was going to be one of the characters in an alphabet book I was illustrating at the time. At the time I really didn’t want to be a designer and only wanted to illustrate children’s books, and didn’t even know how important this anteater is going to become in my life!

Here’s another book I illustrated at the time, which someone has even made into a read aloud story on Youtube!

Anyway I was trying to remember what I was doing ten years ago in September 2010 – it’s only been a decade but feels like a generation in the age of the world. I had just returned from Sweden and had probably started working in TIL by then. By September I had found my groove with drawing again, and was as usual worrying about inspiration, drawing and happiness in Creative block and Being happy.

Finally when I read Plato and Platypus walk into a bar in 2016 it all made sense for me…

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