Hot Noon in Ahmedabad

The yellow leaves crunched under my shoes as I trudged towards the institute. A great many trees, but no shade. How strange. Lugging my laptop bag, I looked up at the sky, or rather where the sky should’ve been, and all I could notice was a bleached white canvas that dazzled me blind for a few moments. I wore my retro sun-glasses through which I managed to spot three little black specks on the canvas far above. Three large birds of prey doing the rounds, hoping to chance upon some small dehydrated poor thing.

At this moment, I was passing by a bungalow that always fills my heart with a heavy silence. It seems to be abandoned for many years now. The distressed nameplate reads M.A. Koreishi, followed by the house number and the name of the road. Like every other day, I peeked in. The car, once white, was still there, covered in cobwebs and a great many old and decayed leaves. The windows of the house were grey and dusty, some broken by the neighbourhood kids during a game of cricket. Some old clothes hung on the clothesline in the balcony upstairs. The family must have left in a hurry. Or maybe one day, while out on their morning walk, they must’ve wandered too far and decided never to come back again. What if they had been witness to some terrible tragedy – disease, abduction, or the riots? Ok. I chided myself. Enough now, really.

It was definitely getting hotter and I still had to walk about 300 meters more. You can do it, you can do it! Just an incy wincy bit more. I must admit, it was difficult to focus on the gates of the institute when the asphalt of the ground you were walking on was ready to melt. Even the sweat on my forehead evaporated within seconds. It was like facing a giant turbojet blowdryer at its maximum power.  A tiny voice inside me chirped happily. Not too many days till I make my way to cooler climes. Charged with this thought, I raced to the gate with a street dog chasing me madly. I was there, at long last. A peacock looked at me quizically on the path. I caught a breath, smiled at the silly pompous bird and made my way to the lab.

Because my mind’s all over the place, and I dont want to draw tonight

The blades of the old fan were moving ominously. It has always made that slow tick-tick sound, but somehow I never noticed it until now. Right now, when the air is in its moment of transition, from the cruel 38 degrees of the day, dipping down to a sudden 15 of the night. I scratched my skin. The dryness left a couple of white lines from my nails. Today had been a good day. If by good you mean productive, naah, not really. But throw in a pretty awesome thriller on the big screen, an unhealthy burger n fries for lunch after that, an ever growing playlist of brilliant music, some ranting, some catching up with people, and a great many cups of chai while pretending to be lost in some deep philosophical shit. Well yes. That was my day. And now, back to the ominous fan. It would definitely act as a pretty neat prop for some horror flick I make someday. The cobwebs hung from the edges of the blade, holding on for dear life. And at that speed, it wasn’t really cutting through any air. I almost felt sorry for the fan. The blades, pregnant with dust, looking down at us mortals glued to the computer screen. With these hopes and expectations, and deadlines and realities, fighting to hang on to us with dear life. The room collapsed into a slow moving dance. And as the pixels on my screen blurred, my eyes shut.

The Bengali Proverbs Project

A set of ten illustrations depicting some well-known Bengali proverbs. I’ve used contemporary Bengal as the setting with characters from typical middle-class background reacting to various humorous or tragi-comic situations. This is a student project undertaken at design school to help young students, who study Bengali as a second language, understand the nuances of the language through illustrations that they can hopefully connect to.

Each of them were first hand-drawn on A4 cartridge sheets with black ink and brush pen. They were later scanned at 600dpi and digitally coloured on Photoshop. I also wrote little stories of about 100 words to support the illustrations. The final book can be viewed here.

Innocence Faded

Woman’s Day is around the corner and my mind went for a walk. Incidentally, it is also the day Holi will be celebrated all over India. And like every other year, I shall not be taking part in the festival. The most commonly available colour of Gulaal/Abeer (coloured powder thrown at each other during the festival) is red – aggression, passion, lust, love, power – all rolled into one.