More desi than thou


sunday mag pic 1

Enjoyed illustratsunday mag pic 2ing the two tongue-in-cheek articles for the Sunday Herald a couple of months back. They were on how, it’s now high fashion to rediscover our roots. And the deeper we dig, apparently, the more high-fashion we are!




Doodle Walls at ‘Bookaroo in Mumbai’


There’s nothing like being given a blank canvas to fool around on — for someone who loves doodling. And when that ‘blank canvas’ is an ENTIRE WALL that I get to invite about 70 kids to scribble on, it sounds like a delicious mess! Just hope that’s a sturdy wall… it’s not often that kids are told, ‘Go ahead, sweetie, write on the wall! I will clean up after you…’ It’s usually the other way around.

Thinking about whaeyebrowst quick little tricks I could teach kids, that they could try out immediately, I remembered a comic strip I’d done some years back for a newspaper… it featured an eye-brow-less pair of characters… a tiger and a rat. The speech bubbles were also empty. So kids were invited to write their own dialogues, based on which animals they cast as the hero and villain.  And to add on the eyebrows in ways that matched the character’s mood or what it had said.

I thought I could combine ‘eyebrows’, that are a super-easy way to add expressions to a face, with something tougher — kids often struggle with drawing the limbs of animals. They tend to visualise those four legs like human legs, straight and long. So I thought I’d add a few tips on ‘joints’. My two sessions ‘Eyebrows afriends or enemiesnd Elbows’ on the 22nd of February will start off with a reading from my short story ‘Friends or Enemies’ illustrated by Lavanya Naidu, in the ‘Prankenstein’ (Speaking Tiger) anthology.

Really looking forward to some craziness from the kids.

Check out the action-packed schedule Bookaroo has planned for Mumbai kids at:


The Deccan Herald short story contest winners


This September, the winners of Deccan Herald’s annual short story contest (conducted by Sunday Herald) were announced. I illustrated a couple of the prize winning stories.

‘Crockery’ by Jessamine Therese Mathew

dh sec prize

…and ‘Sea-crets’ by Pragya Joshi

small pic for 3rd prize Sea-cretsbig pic for Sea-crets


Ollie’s Adventures


Was feeling a bit jaded with the ‘impersonal-ness’ and almost ‘plastic’ feel to Photoshopped illustrations. After unearthing my colour penciled pics of poor Ollie — Ruskin Bond’s ‘tragic hero’, I felt better. There’s something about the graininess of hastily used colour pencils. Ollie’s a youngish resident teacher at an all-boys’ boarding school. His tragedy is that he’s entirely bald. So is always the butt of the boys’ jokes. And like all hostels, the action begins after moonrise…flying wigs, sleepwalking students, ‘ghosts’, midnight violin concerts, etc.

Ollie ad 2Ollie ad 3Ollie ad 5Ollie ad 4Ollie's adventures 1Ollie ad 6

Closing chapters


I haven’t read ‘The Room of Many Colours’ in its entirety. The School Edition sends me a few chapters at a time, to be illustrated, at regular intervals and that’s how we’ve progressed so far. And since the book is really a huge collection of short stories and novellas, I’m never sure which part we’re at — the middle, or end.

The last story this week gave me a sense that the book is winding down. It has the feeling of an epilogue. An old Mr Bond, basking in the winter sun and looking back on a life time spent deeply involved in what appears to others as ‘doing nothing’!  Considering he’s one of India’s most prolific writers, all those who swore he’d amount to ‘nothing’ must be turning in their graves!

Here are a pair of ‘before and after’ pics of a younger and older Bond…both on the same wall, doing nothing! I loved illustrating this story, particularly.

.young ruskin on the wall pic 1 older ruskin on the wall

Another School Year Begins With Mr Bond


week 3, day 1, pic 1 (house of cols)

‘The Room of Many Colours’ is another Ruskin Bond collection of short stories. The Deccan Herald School Edition is serialising it this term. Thankfully, most of the stories are set up in the hills. So for a few hours every other day as I illustrate a story, I get to pretend I’m not in traffic-congested, buried-under-garbage Bengaluru, but breathing in the clean mountain air on some lower Himalayan slopes, in a time capsule frozen in the 1950s maybe.

Gentle, haunting stories, with the author’s crazy family members popping in for a guest appearance now and then.

Week 3, day 2, pic 1Week 3, day 3, pic 1

Goodbye, Uncle Ken


unc ken chap 4, pic 2

chap 26, unc ken pic 1Deccan Herald’s School Edition shuts down now for about two months till schools reopen in June. The last issue was on the 29th of March, and it carried the concluding chapter of Ruskin Bond’s ‘Crazy Times with Uncle Ken.’

I’ve spent a hectic few months in the company of this batty uncle of a young Bond. I’ve loved illustrating his antics. Don’t we all have one such character in our lives…someone who refuses to grow up, is generally indulged by elderly parents and who is the butt of most of the family jokes? This balding, often unemployed, perpetually hungry ‘uncle’ is some sort of Calamity Joe…managing to attract mice, monkeys, crows, bats and ‘spirits’ with regularity. I’m going to miss him terribly.

. chap 27, unc ken, pic 2 Chap 25, unc ken, pic 2 chap 20, unc ken, single pic chap 17, unc ken, pic 1 chap 12, unc ken pic 2 chap 12, unc ken pic 1 Chap 3, unc ken, pic 1 unc ken chap 4, pic 1  chap 15, unck ken, pic 2