Travelogue 13 – some of what indeed happened in Toronto

As against what did not exactly happen in Toronto, here is some of what did happen there.

This was at the backyard of the Math. department of Fields Institute (with some coffee stain on it), where I used to read or doodle cutting talks. That girl in the picture here is not me. I never sat there. One evening, while I sipped my free department-coffee and watched without interest like a regular caffeine-addicted voyeur, a couple played table tennis on the cement slab in front of the girl in the picture. Though it is actually some sort of a fountain – not a table at all. Suddenly they stopped playing and started kissing. While they kissed, each held the other’s face with one hand and the table tennis bat with another. It was a complicated dance that they were performing.

Backyard of Fields Institute Math. Dept.

Backyard of Fields Institute Math. department

This was drawn at Beverly Park – where I felt right home since everybody else including the birds and the bees looked high on pot and keen to hump. The whole park smelled of joints. After a while the girl on the left with the hibijibis in her hair started crying – probably got too stoned.


Firangis’ Ganja Park

This was at the shore of Lake Ontario at the end of Spandina Avenue – another spot I used to spend time cutting talks, even though it was a long and boring walk other than the Chinatown bit. The shore was beautiful because the lake was deep and blue and mysterious. It was a warm and sunny day, though windy. Both me and the seagull were too comfortably tucked up to move. An oldish Canadian man came to me and said – `Hey I’m an author and I need an illustrator!’ Then he saw my drawing of the seagull and said – `Oh but I need a really good one at that you know?’ and left.

The ruminating seagull

The ruminating seagull


Recently I drew this picture and wrote this poem –

I smoked a cigarette

And she smoked a cigarette

She smoked a cigarette

And I smoked a cigarette

I smoked a cigarette

And she said – No smoking,

‘cos we ran out of matches.


My dear artists 5 – Sudha Pillai

When I thought of featuring My Dear Artists for the first time, the aim was to proclaim my awe and respect towards my friends, or associates, who turned out to be amateur artists – and very good at that, and whom I met through professional or personal channels that had nothing to do with art. As it turns out these days, internet is prevailing over even my own little privy hall of fame, and I sometimes wish to include names, with whom I have not shared a smoke, or a trek, or a day out to an exhibition; but whom I nevertheless like to think of as my associates, or more precisely web-associates, whom I have met through social networks or blog surfing. Finding a new artist – irrespective of her already existing fame or the lack of it – in a remote blog or a deviantART page or such like, following an artist’s work over months in the web, suddenly stumbling upon her work in a physical space – a magazine, or a gallery with a flash of recognition – a combination of all this gives me such a high!

Superavana : scribble by Sudha Pillai

Sudha Pillai and her scribbles have been a source of great joy to me for the last few months. Journalist, writer, photographer, audio-visual medium expert Sudha currently is the Features Editor at Bangalore Mirror (Times Group) and a voracious scribbler through one of her Facebook pages.

Other side of the rainbow : scribble by Sudha Pillai

Last December, couple of her pieces – `Burden’ and `Mundane’ got me hooked to her page. `Burden‘ was a depiction of a squatting man with a hundred cobblestones closing in upon him from top – but with a hint of an upward gaze from below his hat – as if he has not entirely submitted to the crushing weight. `Mundane‘ was a checker-board decorated by trios of two adults and a child in each box with permuting genders – accompanied with the caption : It is the same with daddy-mommy, daddy-daddy or mommy-mommy. Which country allows a child to make such a decision on her own? Not ours! 

Here is Iron Chanu Sharmila –

Will the tube burn down the veil : scribble by Sudha Pillai

The narrative style and the strong, intricate lines in grey-scale in her drawings are confident and cognizant. It is often clearly a voice of a journalist – touching on issues such as yet another outburst of AAP racism by poet-leader Kumar Vishwas in Black and White or MP Home minister’s comment on safety of women in Chennai in relation to the amount of their body being exposed in public in White ribbon,  harassment of artist Balbir Krishan for being queer in Hangmen etc.

Continue reading

Mademoiselle Laocoon

Random drawing (gimped) sort of inspired from Laocoon and his sons and vaguely from Saturn devouring his son though it’s not clear who is devouring whom in this one, or if anybody is devouring anything at all for that matter.

Or, like a friend of mine commented – ‘I really like the Laocoon etc… Tho’ to me it looked like Kali ma first and was wondering why shiv is running away and looking so small!’


Mademoieselle Laocoon

After finishing this I got obsessed with Laocoon for a while and saw these various awesome reproductions based on Laocoon here, here, here and here.

Here is the rough version of the drawing and I in fact prefer this one; the upward face looks more upward-like (it was bit of an effort to get there, and then screwed it up later somehow) and in any case my sense of colour sucks etc.

mademoiselle laocoon unplugged


More probability talks last week. I’m growing to like them! For example the one on alleles, which are like stuff that make people different from each other etc. – pretty cool and all. Who knew math and bio had all these mutual applications and shit!

In many ways the talks are very liberating.

However these are couple of drawings I made during the talk.

when end up having unbiological children


alleles are as individualistic as we come

While uploading this post, I found this sweet website of cartoons on biology – specially this one on alleles. Also, here is a nice cartoon on lethal alleles that I found in a blog post by the warak warak method.


Merriments in cauldron

Again a few older drawings – based on cauldrons. The first two were originally in colour, but my sense of paint sucks.

cauldron and chinese lanterns

The above was the inception, and here is the aftermath –

my merriment in cauldron

When I was taking my undergraduate courses, the bus from the university to my home passed by a fish market. There, some days when the sellers would have just started packing up for the day, sat a most pretty girl on an upside down cauldron, smiling from ear to ear in the background of the clay platform, fish stink and yellow halogen lights. Her father owned the stall right next to the main road. I used to fight for a window seat everyday just to see her.

Couple of years later, she got married. But she would still come to the market, often replacing her father, selling fish, not smiling any more, looking serious.

Eventually she stopped coming altogether.

I planned many times to get down from the bus and talk to her, but of course I never did.

The cauldron series is dedicated to her.

cauldron, meat and fish

Travelogue 12 – what did not exactly happen in Toronto

In the mean time I went for a month’s trip to Fields Institute, Toronto. Amazing place. Amazing conference. Amazing regret at finally not being able to see Art Gallery of Toronto. Amazing thrill to identify some of the Canadian artists by their work from road-side exhibitions.

However, here are the drawings of various semi-imaginary stuff  I picked up there:

Meandering mind, meandering pen:

There were two different types of talks among the ones I did not listen to. Here are the broad representations:

The more happening ones –

meandering mind, meandering pen 1

The less happening ones –

meandering mind, meandering pen 2

The terrible talk week:

I had to deliver a talk myself to earn my travel grant – it was quite an embarrassing business – specially the point where I was rolling my eyes and shaking my hands vigorously with a completely fake air of confidence and serenity, while giving a horribly wrong answer to a trivial question asked by a professor. However like all bad talks in life, the shame of it wore off after a few days (contrary to popular belief,  the week before the talk, though filled with intimidation caused by the unknown fate is often way better than the despair caused by the known fate during the week after the talk) –

the talk week

the talk week

Vagabond city:

Probably like any other big city, roads of Toronto are full of vagabonds, musicians, addicts, peddlers, beggars, sex-workers and so on. Many of them have an ethereal aura around them. At some point I was thinking of drawing something like a parallel city. This one was drawn in that same line – modelling on some of such characters, who caught my eyes –

city of vagabonds

Mathematics in the ancient days:

Bellevue Square Park was one of the fittest places in Toronto for culturing certain kinds of creativity 🙂 . Among other such creative jewels, Carlos came up with this thought about Mathematics in ancient Europe and we could not stop laughing for about twenty minutes due to various reasons –

math anciencia

math anciencia

Going back:

It rained a lot during my stay there in July, and it rained a lot the day I was coming back. Here is one, drawn while sitting in the airport, licking a maple-sugar lollipop obtained for free from a restaurant three days back and watching yet another twisted movie by Wong Kar-wai –

maple-sugar lollipop, wong kar-wai and rain-clouds in the airport lounge, toronto

Two more from Toronto trip are on their way – at least inside my head.

My girlfriends part 2

Starts with K, not the oldest but my second oldest girlfriend. How did I miss the first one – was I not so devoted to her? That can not be so. I’ll plunge into my subconscious regarding this forgetfulness and come back to her later. But even before K or the yet unmentioned one, all of it starts with…


The series starts here.

My girlfriends part 1

The first in the series My girlfriends. All characters are stark real. Any similarity to any fictitious character is purely unintentional and coincidental.

I have been postponing uploading these for ages thinking that I would finish the series some day, but well.

Also, this is my first first sincere effort to make a full size comics.


Manole the master mason

This is based on the story of master mason Manole – the Romanian mythological architect. This comes in the 36th page of the book that I would write some day or never. Made the drawing more than a year back. Such a relief at finally having finished it yesterday. No clue how I came up with this, deviating/reinterpreting from the original story, but what the heck. For one thing, it seems I drew Manole with his tongue out and I suspect I was thinking of a gender reversal of Kali when I did that. In any case what do you do when you make regular mistakes in life such as stepping on your husband or incidentally/accidentally strangling your wife? We Bengalis bite our tongue and regret, such as this:

Also Manole is soon going to be a dead man – already is – having killed his beloved wife for a stupid monastery and a cruel prince. The tongue-out, blank look might just be a premonition of the end! Who knows!


Drawn with micron pens and later (because the scan quality is sh**) contrast-edited with gimp, using a xerox filter to give it a look of an old book that nobody issues (and nobody will) from the library. Here is the picture without the write up.


Apparently the wife was pregnant too! Yikes! I wonder whether Manole got time to finish the lunch that she was carrying for him before he got thrashed himself!


Windmill. But I was also thinking of calling it Mixie grinder blades screw.

This drawing is dedicated to the Dude, who complains, whenever I draw nudes I give them hanging breasts and cheerless tortured faces. Here is a cartoon of cheerful, non-hanging breasted nudes. With the upwardness of the breasts, the general flow of energy in the composition has literally gone against gravity a bit.

The windmill girls are made up like dolls – their nudity protected in plastic shells, playing little children’s games, happy at being pierced and rotated around, looking up to thank the holy brotherhood of heaven for their good fortune. Asaram Bapu would have liked them.

Travelogue 10 – I hate children

When it comes to this particular drawing, my weariness at children is outshadowed by my excitement at having drawn this with real fancy drawing pens, if there is something like that. This is the first production out of my new set of Sakura Pigma Micron pens and I am sufficiently thrilled having possessed one bundle of those – finally making me feel all pro (not to be judged by the quality of the drawing but by the leaps of my heart at uncapping each slick cylinder of ink every single time).

Coming back to the drawing…


Performing “Life and times of Mr S”

Day before, there was a basement 21 book-launch of poet Vivek Narayanan – his second collection of poems named Life and Times of Mr S.  Performing poetry – the event was called.

Listening to poetry is not really my thing. If at all I get something out of a poem – it is like a one-to-one thing. Presence of anyone else, even the poet, feels like an intrusion. So I was just sitting and drawing – intending to make a cartoon out of the whole solemn situation.

The cartoons did not happen – just couple of sketches. The situation kind of grew on me. There were paintings and sculptures comfortably scattered all around and they trespassed into my sketches here and there.

Strangely, I also ended up buying a copy of the book.

The following sketch is that of the Short prayer to sound – performance of a poem from The life and times of Mr S – with Maarten at sax.

short prayer to sound

The recitation was followed by a conversation between the poet and Sharanya Manivannan.

conversation – vivek and sharanya

My sketchbook project 2013

It was a lot of fun working on my Sketchbook project 2013. Wish I had some more time, but it felt great as it is, and I’m already so eager to work on the next one, with little less sloppiness about the participation!

Here goes:



An obsessive’s treasure

An obsessive’s treasure

An obsessive’s treasure

An obsessive’s treasure

An obsessive’s treasure

Fallen angel

Fallen angel

Fallen angel

Fallen angel

Fallen angel

Fallen angel

Fallen angel

Where the evil things are

Where the evil things are

Where the evil things are


Just thrilled at the thought of being part of the travelling exhibition organized at Brooklyn Art Library!


My first formal illustration for a novel (I’m so excited that it’s embarrassing) – and rejected – due to age mismatch between the characters and the real ones in the fiction. So I make a new set for the novel and put it up here instead 🙂

Thanks a ton to author Meera Srikant.

A corporate company employee’s dream regarding her quality manager…

One of Those Brighter Days

I think I have a habit of folding my elbows whenever I am in deep contemplation.

My life these days seem to revolve around my prolonged lower back pain and knee injury. It is not that my body is undergoing a particularly difficult phase due to these mild handicaps, but it is as if my brain has taken them to be vigorous insults on itself. I just went back through some of my old cartoons made during past six months – I simply look obsessed with these anatomical discrepancies.

Incidentally I joined Padmini‘s classes few months back. In the class, my inherent ineptitude, combined with sudden familiar blasts of pain and consequential stupid feelings often result into reveries such as this:

Travelogue 07 – Mermaid’s Grave

I don’t know why I call this Mermaid’s grave – probably to emphasize the fact that I indeed drew a dead mermaid (more like an ugly merkid) in a grave or whatever in the picture and people often tend to miss it.

mermaid’s grave

An old drawing made during my extremely short stay in Nashville, which is a city with a river and a fake Pantheon somewhere in the US. All I remember about that city is, it becomes beautiful when it rains. It was a statue sitting under a tree in twilight that inspired this one.


These days I’m meeting a lot of creative people, who strongly believe in ‘alternate ways’ to make this corporatized world a better place via sympathetic collaboration and sharing ideas. Artists, academicians, administrators, administrators, administrators,…., administrators,…

Drawing description: a little frustrated, but nothing serious.

Gods Must Be Bored

These days I’m too busy trying to make myself important and useful (hence hardly any time for drawing), poking my way up through holes here and there in the layers of the professional pyramid, trying to connect and correct and what not. I’m bored.

On the brighter side, I’m still failing – to connect or correct or whatever..

Gods too must be bored, time to time, being constantly made important and useful by the devotees. They also must be in the need of peace, a private space or at least, some cheap entertainment…


Drawn on a holiday.

A Classical Disaster

a classical disaster

Kajri is a form of Indian folk music, often sung by classical and semi classical musicians practicing Hindusthani gharanas.

The word Kajri is possibly a derivative of Kajal – meaning Kohl or Black. In a country of sizzling hot summers – the black monsoon clouds bring with them relief and great joy – with a need to sing out loud. This is the moment for the Kajri to be sung. According to a folk tale of Mirzapur – there was woman called Kajli whose husband was in a distant land. Monsoon arrived and the separation became unbearable….she started crying at the feet of the Kajmal Goddess. These cries took the form of the popular Kajri songs.

Even now, sometimes the dissatisfied soul of that unfortunate woman haunts the practitioners.

I had the opportunity to experience one such disastrous performance of Kajri…

The Revenge of Mara

Mara attempted to tempt with promises of glory and pleasure only to get scornfully rejected by the young ambitious monk, who was clearly well-aware of all the weapons that the King of temptation could have thought of using against him. Mara shrugged helplessly and went on with his old tricks, appearing as a hideous demon and sending an army of likewise revolting and terrible creatures, as he did before many times, and failed once. The demons dutifully launched a volley of arrows at the trainee, but as those projectiles approached they were transformed into flowers and fall harmlessly to the ground – all the while the hideous smile of internal peace never fidgeting away from the boy’s shiny lips (it was not for nothing he was the top student of his monastery). The daughters of Mara, Tanha (craving), Rati (lust) and Arati (discontent) tried to coerce and seduce him, but he, who have had much stricter practice of not being seduced by prettier dames and handsomer men during the more vulnerable time of his life, just kept chanting, sending powerful radiowaves through the fistful of hair on his bulbous head as he turned the prayer wheel in his hand, and then …

The Revenge of Mara

(Drawn on a thin paper with pen and pencil).

Travelogue 06 – Nature’s Call

It was wild boars that were supposed be in the beautiful forest. Every time I walked through it, small rustling sounds of leaves shivering, dead branches falling, a gentle breeze – I thought I was going to see one. The biggest four legged animal that I saw, not considering thousands of mice, was this squirrel. It did not like me much I think. I must have scared it a little. It jumped at a nearby tree within a blink of my eyes, stayed still for a few seconds as if like an outgrowth from the stem. And then went up till it thought it was beyond enough my reach . Sun was setting behind the dark green hills that formed a glorious background of the silhouette of its fluffy brown tail. It looked at me with indifferent contempt, and shat…

Brennender Berg

“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and take a dump” – Ralph Weirdo Emerson

Travelogue 05 – Self Flagellation

“Of course, living is another way of killing oneself: its drawback is that it takes so horribly long” -Imre Kertesz

Few days back I visited a new continent.

It was full of friendly angels with halos around their head. I had lunch with them everyday.

I am a boor when it comes to cutlery. Besides I was nervous by the aura of their halos.

The lunch table discussions were often illuminating, but I was busy with my self-flagellation. It can be fun.

Introspecting my sorry and envious soul was as good as visiting a new continent every other day.

Time to time, when others were not looking, I would give it a shot to enhance my non-existent self-confidence.

But all of a sudden the conversation would turn my way, choking me a bit.

Everything was so VERY beautiful there. And I probably had better sleep than I ever had in my life.

Self Flagellation


Travelogue 04 -Three Blind Mice

Three blind mice are one of those characters that keep appearing in literature, painting, music, movies, commercials and what nots. I was once part of the famous three in my own way, couple of years back.

Three Blinde Mice,                                                                         

Three Blinde Mice,

Dame Iulian,

Dame Iulian,

the Miller and his merry olde Wife,

she scrapte her tripe licke thou the knife.

That happens to be the violent tale of three blind mice. What on the earth had they done to have their tails cut off savagely by the miller’s wife? Oh they ran after her, they ran after her. And that one blind mousely act soon made them famous through centuries, with their poor tails severed with a carved knife.

Some say that these unfortunate mice alludes to the execution of the Oxford Martyrs – Ridley, Latimer and Cranmer, the protestant bishops, as ordered by the vicious wench, none other than Queen Mary I of England or Bloody Mary (no slice of lemon for you there) – a rather symbolic reference since in reality the bishops were burned at the stake, not blinded, small mercy.

The three blind mice are also part of my favourite animation series Shrek. All stories involving the triplet have a violent touch.

This cartoon was drawn at Nashville, Vanderbilt University on a rainy day based on the cheerful thought of what would happen if my thesis advisor’s wheelchair, pushed by my co-advisor, had stumbled upon a rock, which it could – any moment while traversing the beautiful generous slopes of the campus.

three blind mice

Wasted Miracle

On Moses‘s plight these days: Once the unmatched commander of the Ten commandments, now pitifully stuck between Pir Aga Khan and St. Peter at a never ending tourney of alternate interchangement of Wine and Water

Drawn with a Cello Pinpoint XS, on the back of a particularly difficult-to-read paper on different myths mingling in an increasingly global culture, where symbol systems and networks of myths are pushed to the edge of chaos where they either transform or collapse (er…).