Getting the monkey off my back!


For almost a whole year, I have had a tough time trying to negotiate my way around a project that I was very enthusiastic about. It began in the month of April last year, and I had rather grand plans for it. Now, looking back to what I had planned, I think I ended up trying to bite off more than I could chew. Perhaps it was too ambitious.

Being the superstitious person I am, I wanted to keep the project a closely guarded secret, and then reveal everything later on. For I am of the opinion that you should never divulge your plans before executing them. Otherwise, the plans never materialise. But, as luck would have it, that did not happen.

Due to unavoidable circumstances, word got out that I was working on a short video. And very soon, what was supposed to be a month’s work just kept getting delayed and delayed and delayed… I began losing interest.

With great difficulty I managed to get the footage together. But by that time, I had begun my freelance project. Once I was done with it, I thought, well, time to finish what I had started. Even as I was thinking about getting to work, the annual creative minds competition was announced, and I was selected to work on a small 2D movie. Unfortunately, it couldn’t be completed on time, and ended up being shelved. It was quite a setback, even though I was shortlisted for the finals in another category.

Soon after things had settled a little, I decided to get back to my project.

But this time, technology let me down. Not once, but thrice. Something or the other just kept cropping up. Finally, when things did work out, over six months had gone by and I was getting frustrated. I thought I would quickly finish it and get it off my back. But, when I took my finished project for evaluation, it received a very negative reaction. One after another, people came up with flaws and suggestions to fine-tune it.

I did the video-editing from scratch and created animated footsteps. That again took a lot of time. The next time I got it reviewed, I was told the audio was not good enough. And that there should have at least been some sort of an interview in it. That really threw me into a fit of rage. I had given up.

Then one day, my uncle paid us a visit, and saw the project. Not bad, he said. Just add one interview. That should make it complete. I was severely dejected. But he told me to complete it. He made a few suggestions, and they were very good ones too. But I was mentally tired. The very thought of looking for an interview, editing the video again, and changing the whole story, was too daunting.

The video was now haunting me. I felt like I had let myself down and I was severely disappointed.

It took me a few more months to actually think about touching it again. I kept thinking every morning about doing something about it, but it never happened.

There are times when you plan for things, and they never work out. And there are times when you don’t consciously plan for something, but its there, lurking quietly at the back of your mind, without you realising its there. It was just one of those days, I just mechanically opened the file and started editing the audio. What I had feared would take me weeks, I ended up doing in a day. Well, not exactly a day. But the major part was accomplished on that day, and some fine-tuning the next day.

And today, I feel that I have done it. For a major part of the process, I felt I could not accept the outcome. It was a failure. It failed to impress anyone.

But over the last few months, I have come to accept it for what it is. Partly because I have little choice, and partly to get over the setback. Unless I learn to accept it, with all its flaws, no one else will. It still does not have the interview, and the audio is yet to be evaluated. But unlike the other times when I was scared of a negative review, I can say right now, that I am satisfied with the outcome.

I have finally realised that I was looking at it through a completely wrong perspective. I was trying to impress others. Ideally, whatever we do, we must always strive to do it for ourselves. If there is an external benefit we are seeking, it will never make us happy. But if we are satisfied, no one else matters. It was not for others that I took on the project. But for myself.

It was not exactly what I had imagined it to be. There are perhaps a million flaws in it, some of which I am aware, others, which I am yet to be told about.

Perhaps sometime in the future I will look back and say, that’s crap! But right now, I would say its done. I know its not yet got the final nod, but no matter what will be said about it, I’m not changing it. It may not be complete, or perfect for someone else, but to me, its just right!

A beautiful message


For this post, I owe a close friend of mine for sharing this video. It’s so beautiful, and even before it had reached half way, I had goose pimples (that’s what they are called right?) all over. Just wanted to share it with anyone who’s interested.

Patriotism has no language… A beautiful message…

Belated happy Holi!


It's Holi!
Holi hai! (translation - It's Holi!)

Last week my brother asked me to make an e-card, if it can be called one, for the festival of Holi. He told me he wanted a splash of colours and gave a small reference image to work with. I wasn’t quite sure how to go about it, so I took a short cut! I downloaded a few paint spatter brushes and applied them randomly, and viola! It was done!
Now since the bulk of the work was done using brushes, it’s only fair that I should give credit to the sources of the brushes. There’s one called Bombay_Wisps and one that’s called benblogged(splatter). So a big thank you to them for putting out stuff so that other’s can use them :).

On my brother’s suggestion, I decided to upload it here. I admit, its late. But anyway, here’s wishing everyone a great Holi 🙂

The pigeons shall inherit the Earth!


They enter at will, and leave as they please. They go about their daily lives without any reluctance, as if we don’t even exist. And should they choose to fly, we must bow down and make way. For it is their territory, and we must not come in their way.

Our balcony was a beautiful place. Actually, it was part store-room, and part junk-yard. But it was ours. Until they invaded.

Our association with pigeons is a long one. In fact, no conversation is ever complete without a little anecdote about the pigeons that have enslaved us. I’m not joking. Today, the little feathery bundles have wrecked havoc in our balcony.

Our master - the pigeon

At first, they seemed so cute, so innocent and so adorable. With their beaks they would peck at themselves, pick up sticks, build nests and occasionally crash into a window. When they had initially arrived, we had welcomed them with open arms. We allowed them to build a nest and raise chicks. One by one, they came and soon, there there were more than we could handle.

Now, our balcony is ruled by the most dreadful of dictators.

Okay, maybe they don’t curtail people’s freedom of speech, but they sure know how to get their way. Their means are subtle, but surely effective. They are such beautiful judges of people. They know whom to trust, and who will harm them. With just one little tilt of the head and the most melancholic look, they’ll make you dance to their tune.

In many ways, they are like spoilt children – stubborn to the core. We’ve tried several times to prevent them from building a nest. Every single day is a constant battle to weed out the sticks. But they just won’t give up. They know, that no matter how many times we tear apart their half-built nests, we wouldn’t harm them.

And to make matters worse, they’ll just decide to lay eggs on the floor – and abandon them. So now we feel guilty of killing yet another unborn chick. There can be nothing more cruel than that!

If any pigeon is reading this post, my request to you is, please don’t ruin our little open space… You’re definitely welcome to visit, but its still our property, and we’d like it to remain so…

Identity crisis


If you’ve ever lived away from relatives, away from your native place, then you have experienced what is called an identity crisis. You are a second generation migrant, so you do not fully understand the local culture. But you do not know your own culture that well either. Since you visit relatives in your native place, you are in touch with your culture, but just about. So you’re stuck somewhere in between. Neither fully here, nor fully there.

This identity crisis is something that sets in early in life, and never goes. Loyalties are divided. Your ancestors belong to one place, but you have grown up in a different place. You have adopted certain qualities from both sides, and you are trying to find out where exactly it is, that you belong. Where you live, others find it hard to understand your roots. And you find it hard to adopt theirs. You prefer your own culture, and wish people around you would try to accept you for who you are, and not try to impose their own culture on you.

In your native place, you feel like a stranger. You have not grown up in that environment, not had the chance to know so many relatives, and find it hard to speak the language that is supposed to be your mother-tongue. You have a few relations with whom you have been fortunate to interact with your whole life, and there are a host of others whom you have probably met once in your life, if you’re lucky. When you meet them, it feels like some formality. You do not know how to react, you feel uncomfortable.

Then there are special occasions, like weddings, when everyone shows up, and you feel completely out of place. You don’t know most of the people, and they don’t know you. Half of them are living on the other side of the country, and the other half on the other side of the world. Many times, you have to double check and find out how it is that someone is related.

This is when you begin to doubt if you really belong there at all. So where do we belong?

I’ve never been surrounded by relatives. It’s always been the four of us. Five, till my grandmother(father’s mother) was with us. Relatives have always been at a distance. I hardly know anyone on my father’s side, as he hardly is in touch with anyone. The little I have come to understand of my father’s family is when we get news of a wedding, or a funeral. It’s very strange. Even if you’re completely cut off from family, somehow, from somewhere, the letter reaches you.

On my mother’s side, I’ve tried fruitlessly to keep track of the hundreds of relations. It’s hard enough trying to get to know your cousins who have grown up in completely different circumstances and environments. Add to them you parent’s cousins, and their kids, and your grandparent’s cousins and their families!

I sometimes envy my friends who have practically every one of their family members living within five kilometres of their house. At least it is easier to keep track of them! On festivals they can visit each other, arrange get-togethers with cousins and enjoy.

It must be so much fun to live in large families, or at least in the same town as most of your family. You can decide to meet up and have lots of fun. I’ve heard my parents tell stories of their childhood, when the entire family would be together, and all the cousins would get together and play a game or enact a play, and just have a great time.

But when you live thousands of miles away from them, you begin to feel all alone. It feels like there’s no one around. And the feeling becomes worse when there is a festive occasion. Your friends are busy with their own families, and your family is far far away…

What’s in a name?


That is the question a very famous playwright once asked. So if there really is not much in a name, why is there so much fuss over it?

When we are born, we are supposed to take up the ‘family’ name. This family name is dubbed the ‘surname’, or the ‘caste’, and who knows what else. More often than not, we are forced into taking up the father’s name. Why? After all, wasn’t it my mother who brought me into this world, taking a lot of pain and making a truckload of sacrifices? I’ll admit I’m a feminist, but my point is I’m equally my mother’s child, and my mother admittedly deserves much more credit for bringing me into this world.

Even application forms ask for the father’s name. And the government takes the liberty of attaching your father’s name after your own name in your passport. Well, its my name isn’t it? It’s a mark of identification right? Then at least allow me chose my name. What if I decided to adopt my mother’s name? There are matriarchal systems in India too. And I’m really proud that somewhere, women are given their dues, and I wish there were more such systems.

And then there’s this whole issue of changing your name after marriage. Well, am I no longer my parent’s child? Well, this debate will keep raging as long as humanity will exist.

But what drove me to write this post is not the feminist angle, but the regional angle. Yes. This is the part when I complain that South Indians are alienated in India. You see, we put our ancestors’ names before our own name, and usually use it as an initial. I have lost count of the number of times I have to sit down explaining to people around me, “No, that’s not my name, that’s my dad’s!”

Here is where most of the government application forms allow us some leeway. They allow us to write our names the way we want to. There is just one space for name. So I can feel free to put an initial before my name.

But what’s with these private companies? Why are there 3 columns for my name. I have one name. I don’t have a middle name. That’s the American way, or maybe the British way. I don’t know. But I sure know that it’s not the Indian way.

The other day I was trying to book tickets online. And for the billionth time I was asked to fill in my first name, middle name, and last name. What’s worse, it was supposed to match the name on my photo identification.

Well, how do you suppose that’s going to work?? You tell me to provide my name, and then you tell me how I should write my name by providing 3 columns. And then you expect it to match the name on the government identification, which of course has a single name with an initial!!

So now, even centuries later, Juliet’s famous lines have fallen on deaf ears.

The disease called cricket!


Warning! I am about to sound clichéd. But that’s OK. You see, I am an Indian. And all Indians have this genetic disease. For anyone curious to know the various symptoms and effects of the disease, I hope this will provide enough fodder.

Firstly, I am very excited about writing this. So much so, that immediately after last night’s match, I began drafting a post about it and I did not get sleep for quite some time. And I did not even watch the match! So that just proves how severe the infection is.

Yesterday, India took on England in the world cup. All of us were sitting and watching the match in bits and pieces. We just got the news that we had won the toss and decided to bat first. We had a decent start, and there wasn’t much excitement. Then word got around that Sachin Tendulkar had started hammering the Englishmen. Ah! Now things were interesting. We all gathered around the television to admire the little master as he effortlessly scored yet another century and smashed yet another record. Everything was as per the textbook!

And then the wickets began falling. One, two, three… And then panic set in. “Go inside! You’re a bad luck charm!” “Switch it off!”… Well, hopefully you got the picture.

One by one the wickets tumbled. With every fall of a wicket, we felt like we were being stabbed. It was agonising. Soon, we were all out!

But we had a big score. Yeah, it should have been bigger, but 338 was still a match winning total. Some consolation.

But, as we soon found out, the pain had only just begun. The English batsmen were off to a flying start. Boundaries flowed mercilessly. We could not bear the pain. So we decided to take the anaesthetic. We switched off the TV and went for a walk. But the horrors of the match followed us, and we kept in touch with the commentary every few minutes. Strauss was in sterling form and he lead the team with a brilliant knock. 200 for just 2 wickets, and plenty of time in hand. The match was all but lost.

Some people had gathered outside a small retail outlet. We joined them as a decision was referred to the third umpire. Complete strangers were discussing with each other what the decision should be. “That’s out! Clearly!” “Yes! Absolutely!” But then the umpire did not agree with us. It’s open to debate if that decision was correct or not. But I’ll say it was wrong!

We continued, with heavy hearts to reach home. And then I received a message. The eerie silence of the empty streets was interrupted by the sounds of people cheering. Something had happened. We tuned in. 4 wickets down! Ah! Finally, some respite. A sight for sore eyes. But there was still a long way to go.

We stuck by our superstition and turned off the broadcast. And sure enough another fell. We tuned in again. And then another… But they continued to make runs comfortably. We turned it off! Every time we turned it off, a wicket fell! Soon they were 8 wickets down! Well, surely we couldn’t lose it now! And then they hit a six. And then another! Oh no!

The tension was unbearable. Last over – 14 runs, 2 wickets. We turned it off yet again. We waited patiently for a few balls to be bowled. We waited for some cheers, some sounds. But the sounds outside, and the messages on the phone were discouraging. It was all lost.

Well, at least we did not see it! We tuned in to the result. And we could scarcely believe it.

It was a tie. A TIE.

For all the sacrifices we made, after all this emotional trauma, no result!

They say cricket is a funny game. But for those suffering from this disease, we just don’t seem to get the joke. Whether or not cricket is funny, the joke’s definitely on us!

Holy water!


Imagine that it is the festival of holi. You’re walking down the road and someone throws coloured water at you. How would you react? Right now, I can think of two broad possibilities. One, you take it in good humour and continue playing in the spirit of holi. The other option is that you get frustrated and angry and try to take revenge on the person who threw water.

Well, you could argue that there is a possibility that the stranger was actually not a good person and that there was some really bad intention involved. But for now, let’s just assume it was in good humour.

The point I’m trying to make is, our life and our happiness depends on our perception. If we choose to look at life quite literally and seriously, and choose to look at only the sad aspects of our life, then our life will only seem sadder.

Right now you’re probably wondering where all of this came from! Well, this morning when I was brushing my teeth, an overhead pipe cracked and sprayed water all over my head! Fortunately it was clean water 😛 Is it time for Holi already?

Self Evaluation Time


Past couple of days I’ve really been busy trying to evaluate the assignments I’ve done over the past couple of years. I thought I would collect all my work for a portfolio. Most of my stuff was scattered and I’ve been meaning to get a little organised for quite some time now. But for some reason or the other, I’ve not been able to. Well, this time, I somehow managed to do it!

Since setting up the blog, I’ve been meaning to post my stuff online. So here it is! I’ve added two more galleries with some of my best stuff. Apologies for the low resolution. I realise most of the work is amateurish, but its been a roller coaster ride doing most of the stuff. Most of the vector illustrations are really old. And frankly, I’m kind of disappointed that I’ve not been able to create decent works over the past few months.

Going through the files, I realised a gradual drop in enthusiasm, as well as originality over a period of time. And I’ve realised that creativity cannot be forced. One has to have a free mind, and most importantly, the ability to live up to expectations. As long as there is no expectation, there is no pressure. But as soon as someone expects something out of you, it shows. I can now appreciate those people who have to shoulder the responsibility of managing clients, employees and peers in the work environment.

To face tremendous pressure, and still deliver great results, is the mark of a great commercial artist. And this holds good for every field.

Well, that’s all for now.

Since I’ve posted my sketches, it’s only fair that I say thanks to our sketching faculty. Thank you sir! Please visit his Blog Here