Years and years ago, long before Deccan Herald’s kids’ supplement Open Sesame stopped, and when it was still a broadsheet, I was given a Ruskin Bond story to illustrate. It was called ‘The Fight’ and was set in the hills. It was about local boys in a turf battle over a secret pond in the forest. I loved the story — it reminded me of the Niligiri Hills I grew up in. I painstakingly did a few watercolours for it, never expecting to be transported back to those hills again. But I turned lucky. The Deccan Herald School Edition decided to serialise another Bond classic called ‘The Hidden Pool’. So not only was I back in those quiet mountains, but I suspect this hidden pool was the same one those boys had fought over, all those years back! Only in this case, Ruskin Bond’s earliest novel, the pool is where the most unlikely of friendships blossoms. So over the past few weeks, I’ve been feverishly churning out illustrations (2 a day!). And this time, I cheated. I used Photoshop!
‘The Hidden Pool’ is an evocative story set up in the hills. The friendship between a Brit boy in India for a short time, his Indian classmate and a poor vendor, plays out against the foothills of the Himalayas…lots of swimming in the pool, a trek up the hills to visit a glacier, nights spent in lonely dak bungalows…this week the serial concludes, and I’m suffering from withdrawal systems! Here’re are some expresso Photoshopped ‘hidden pools’.