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

Sketch editing


The unedited flowerpot

During one of our still life sessions, we were told to make a flower vase, with flowers in it of course! Nature, and anything to do with plants is a very exciting prospect for me. I’ve often joked that I have no interest in humans 😛

So I began, and had a good start. But then it all went horribly wrong. The backdrop was a sheet of tarpaulin, and I really messed it up. I was a little sad, because some of the flowers had come out pretty decent. But the leaves and the background really let it down.

So here’s where the software came to the rescue. Initially I thought I would paint it digitally, with the sketch as the base. It was a rather tedious process. It took me a hell of a long time to do it, and with other work piling up, I sort of abandoned it. Then, when the time came to get my portfolio up and running and post stuff on the blog, I got back to the file. It was then that it dawned on me that I needn’t waste so much time! While a clean painting would look nice, I simply did not have the time, or the motivation to complete it.

Edited Sketch

This sketch was completed on 1st November 2009. So it was already stale. So I used some short-cuts and just adjusted the colours using standard colour-correction tools and presto! The ugly background had disappeared! 🙂

So while this sketch is not part of my gallery, I think it is pretty decent enough to have its own post 🙂

The special ones


A couple of years back, I joined sketching classes. The classes included study of still life, perspective as well as the study of human anatomy. But I kind of got stuck at still life!

There is something about putting pencil to paper, and just looking at an inanimate object. Its just sitting there, patiently waiting for you to make its portrait. It doesn’t feel conscious of your presence, it doesn’t move about, and it definitely does not need breaks.

Like I mentioned earlier, every sketch has a story behind it. Here’s one of them:

Our sketching batch was wound up within a couple of months and our faculty member had told us to continue sketching and show him our work. But, as it turned out, I had stopped doing anything. As the months rolled, I began getting negative thoughts. I was sad most of the time and maybe I was on the verge of depression. I felt like I had nothing to do, a feeling of utter uselessness. I remember crying miserably on my mother’s shoulder and telling her how I felt.

She somehow consoled me, and although my tears had dried up, I was still sad. So, out of sheer desperation, I picked up my sketchbook, emptied a little ‘kullad’ (a small earthen pot) and began drawing. It was late at night and everyone had gone off to sleep. I stayed up till midnight and completed the sketch.

A Kullad and A Seashell
The Kullad that saved me

The very next day, I attempted to sketch a rare, odd-looking seashell right next to the mud pot. Soon I felt my self belief returning.

My mother remarked that the sketch looked sad. But I will always respect it. It’s not the best, but it is the sketch that saved my confidence.

First Step!


I’m still trying to figure out how to put up stuff here… Late last night I managed to set up a page for my sketches. I also created a page describing myself (looks more like a summary of my Resume :)).

While writing this post, there is an advertisement that comes to my mind. Its for a wall-paint and the tag line roughly translates to ‘Every house has a story to tell’.

That’s precisely the feeling I get when I see my sketches. The photographs you see on the sketches page were all clicked by my brother and then they were digitally edited quite a bit to make them look presentable :P.

Sadly, I realised that I had actually misplaced one of the sketches. 😦 While I have its photograph, I don’t have the original. My mother consoled me, saying that it could always be made again. So it’s a lesson for me to be careful. At least I realised it before any of the recent ones disappeared.

So that’s one story. There are so many more stories to tell… Will try to post the details of the sketches soon. That’s it for now.

A big thanks to my friends for their comments 😀

Cheers!

Hi!


Like every human being in the world, I like to share stuff. And that’s precisely what this blog is. It’s my little life that I’d like to share with anyone who’s interested. I’ve been procrastinating for many months now… And I’ve finally created my first blog! Yippie! 😀

Today also happens to be my grandmother’s birthday (my father’s mother). I was really very fond of her and I’m glad my first blog coincides with her birthday. She would have been 92 had she been around. God bless her soul.

So that’s about it for now. I have a few plans for this blog – let’s see how things shape up.

 

Cheers!