Life, People, sketchbook

Journal drawings, 2019

Drawings from my journals about some of the lovely people I have met here. Most of these are drawn from memory, like cartoonists often tend to do, but the discipline of drawing from life is always required.

This was drawn the day I started feeling like I belonged…

A lovely Andhra dinner at Teju’s – it was also our friend Pallavi’s birthday that day.

This is a drawing from the farewell party for the warm and wonderful Harini.

Drawing these I felt I needed some practice drawing from real life: See how the lines are different…

Madam Uma is always present but absent as Anu likes to say…and I really like the drawing of Anu below where she looks so much like her daughter…

❤︎

Title by CS Lewis

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sketchbook

One nice thing

It’s a milestone indeed when one of your friends says something nice about your work. Here’s Nityan, artist and erstwhile potter, who is an inspiration with his beautiful sketchbooks and his prolific expression.

“The only difference between your sketchbooks and mine are that you draw so much better…”


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travels

A weekend with Lekha

A couple of years ago I had a free weekend on a work trip and I flew up to Seattle to spend it with my friend Lekha. She had planned the most marvellous time for us.

First we had brunch at Pike Place Market and then we walked to the Olympic Sculpture Park. I saw most of the sculptures for the first time so you can imagine what an experience it was. Here’s the biggest Calder I have ever seen, the Eagle.

Here’s me in front of yet another inspiration from my past, Ellsworth Kelley. He had used weathering steel, knowing that a patina of rust would gather over time, and the piece would continue to change visibly over time.

My first Louise Bourgeois “Father and Son” was an experience to behold. Later I got more interested in her work and found she had a complex and troubled relationship with her own parent with a lot of dark metaphors running through her work.

“When you draw, you suddenly see what you’re afraid of.”

Louise Bourgeois

It was such an experience with Lekha – we were meeting after years and there was so much to catch up on. Amidst Richard Serra’s grand and majestic Wake we talked about our deepest feelings.

Later on, I read Frank Gehry talking about Serra:

“Serra went to the shipyard, saw the way the ships were being built, and became entranced with it. It became a power thing for him, to make powerful gutsy statements that fit his personality. “

The sculpture park was so beautiful and perfect it filled the art-shaped hole in my heart.

The next day we had a fabulous brunch at Toulouse Petit and saw some of Lekha’s favorite pieces of “hidden” art at SAM.

In the afternoon we lay on the grass in the park and watched the boats on the waterfront. On the flight back I quickly drew everything before I forgot – it was such a lovely holiday!


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Life, sketchbook

Let’s be enemies!

Over the past few years, we’ve moved cities, homes, neighborhoods quite frequently. Every new house needs a new social life, but before we’ve been able to settle down to do that, we’ve moved again. Here are some drawings from a couple of years ago when we had just moved to yet another new house.

[It’s been so long since I made any friends that I’ve forgotten what one does with them…until I read this book with Orin yesterday: Let’s be enemies by Maurice Sendak. Friends do things together – like playing and birthday cakes and making sand castles.]

[I wonder what activities a solitary person like me will do with a friend? Work? Draw? Eat. Talk. Cook. Watch a movie? I need to do more things. I need to make new friends.]

“She always believes the solution lies outside herself. Tsk.”

Anteater
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People, sketchbook

Men and women

I’m lucky that some of my best friends are empathetic, inclusive, generous and kind human beings. They usually take a lot of pains to show that they are not, by the way, but sometimes their views on women are so illuminating to me simply because of their gender.

“Women and babies: They take all the opportunities (given to them) and squeeze everything they can out of them.”


“Probably they don’t feel as entitled as men,” qualified the brown boy.

But they are always, always, more intellectual, says Pacificleo, having tried to become one himself just for dates during his social butterfly youth.

Ladies, do you agree? Do you squeeze everything you can out of opportunities? Maybe we do it sub-consciously, I never feel like I do anything with opportunities! But I am clearly intellectual, at least!

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Food

A new year

What better way to welcome the new year if not with food and drink. I’m sure the Anteater would agree. From the last 2 years I found that food has been such a recurring theme – If I’ve not Instagrammed it, I’ve probably drawn it.

Here’s a “rare” family Friday dinner. My in laws were visiting and we went to Amalfi in GK2.

Here’s the food I ate on a quick weekend trip to visit my family in Kolkata. I always think that love in Indian families is all about food. Most of us didn’t grow up with verbal articulations of love, and we demonstrate our love, especially in families, by cooking for and feeding our loved ones.

Most of the food below was made by my Ma and Chhotoma.

“Whoever eats fish curry with roti?”

Said my mother

I gained 2 kilos with all that love!

This is a drawing I made while eating by myself and reading a poem one day. I forgot what I was eating and I can’t even remember the poem, but I enjoyed it enough to draw about it!

What if I could gather all the people who taught me to love around my dinner table? We would drink coffee and eat pizza.

Antara would be chopping onions because she’s always doing something, and whenever I chop onions I think of her. Snehasis would be listening to his wife and observing the world to make fun of them later. Ananya would be under the table reading because she doesn’t always like to socialise. Lekha would be sitting quietly and smiling in happiness. Atul and Reshmy would be having some long and complicated conversation where they would both not be listening to the other. Viv would be drawing happily. I forgot to draw Orin but he is the one person who forced his way into my life and made me love him.

Dinner of love stories

Let’s hope 2019 is all this, and more.

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People, sketchbook

To new friends

Two people, who have since become dear friends, began their entry into my life with the following introductions:

friends

What pressure, now I see, for me to be the messenger of “new things” in their lives. Novelty, thy middle name should be “Soo”.

Have you ever given a thought to why you become friends with someone?

From the sketchbook called Captivity, Feb 2017.

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sketchbook

Monday with the anteater

Most of you know that the anteater suddenly landed up in my sketchbook way back in 2009. I like to think that he is the representation of all my absent friends, and for me, drawing a conversation with him is like getting a hug!

Here’s one from a Monday:

zen

[Anteater: What are you up to?

Soo: I’m being exasperated.

Anteater: Aha. I’m being zen.]

His smugness kills me. And here’s another one (drawn for you, pacificleo!)

waiting

[Soo: I’m waiting for you to talk to me…

Anteater: Hmmm…?]

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Life, sketchbook

38 weeks/2015

Those nine months were of course transformational, and not just in body. Slowly I got used to the idea of giving up some control over myself. Here are some pages from the sketchbook at 8 weeks and 12 weeks. But as personal growth, I called it my year of spirituality.

These are some pages at 38 weeks, when I took out some time to document what I was thinking:

P006

Things that I will miss: People being nice.

“Are people being nice because they are, or because I’m pregnant?”

And that was practically the only thing I could think of! Here we are sitting in a Starbucks, only because they have decaf.

P000

P001

“Did not think these days would ever come! The last few empty days of our lives…so much has changed, not least my waddling walk!”

P002

“But how did I keep my sanity through change? Being the sort of person who always fights against it, making transitions much harder than they have to be.”

“Well, I’m not proud of it…”

P003

“Well, mainly it was the demanding project that kept me super occupied. The Vedanta podcasts were the most calming element of these turbulent times. And also Kindle in it’s many formats.”

P004

“Of course there were surprises.

This amazing miraculous human body. Really I could bow down to the phenomena of it; if only I could bend.”

P005

What really helped: Friends and family. Even the most misogynist of people, i.e. me, who would avoid human contact if she could, had to concede to this. Prashant, Indira, the brown boy, my sister and my nephew, and family friends 2π and Snehasis.

P007

[Aside: I was reading Enchanted Objects by David Rose and thinking, we need new shapes for tangible technology. I really cannot keep drawing these “flat rectangular slabs of glass”.  A fabulous and inspiring book if you’re interested in technology and design.]

In retrospect:

Soo: “Even my (drawing) style is the same…you would think this transformation…”

The brown boy: “Hahaha…you have to work harder than that!”

And by the way, I went into labour less than 48 hours after drawing these pages!

Letters Home Part 1 | Letters Home Part 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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