clutter happy!

Some work in progress!! Will put up pics of the finished works soon... these are for storycards for a publishing house! Priced at Rs.2 each, they will be translated in 11 regional languages and sold at teashops, handed over to schools in bulk! Hopefully many kids will read this lovely story and love my bright pictures! HAPPY!!

Paper strings and mumsy things

This post might sound like rambling but I am going to go ahead and try and put down the stringy muddly thoughts that currently crowd my head... It started with a delightfully, messy worktable, strewn with paper, bits and things, cutter blades, scissors, glue and all my fat 8B pencils.

While I am working on some lovely little paper teacups, one part of me is nagging me to clear the mess away before Little Thing (from now on referred to as LT in this post or any in the future) gets back home from school. And I find myself sighing and thinking, "I wish I had a studio with a skylight and white walls, potted plants, big wooden work table and clutter, clutter, clutter!"  A place I could disappear into and and swim around in old, baggy clothes and my paints and paper. A place which does not allow any access to husbands or LTs unless they break the damn door down or in LT's case holler the walls down!

And while I think these terrifying thoughts, I put my cutter blades away and tuck the sharp scissors somewhere high where LT cant get at it. I do these things on auto mode all the time. I go to my bachelor friend's house and put knives away from the edge of the kitchen platform, I gather all the glass/ceramic cups and put them in the middle of the table where stretched little toes or fingers can't get at them, while he grimaces at me. You get the drift? If you are a parent who is reading this, I know you have that knowing smile on your face right now.

So here is my big shout out question. How does one work and create in a home with a LT? How? How? How? How does one make the time or the space? How do mums do it? Ok... if you are offended because I am only addressing mums and you think I should be gender neutral, stop reading, go take a walk, take the rubbish out, whatever... the lion's share of care giving for a child falls on the woman, so go away if you think otherwise. I have been trying to paint and work and create ever since LT came thundering into my life and have been able to do so only rarely. Most of the times, I am working, LT is in my lap grabbing at my pencils/brushes/paper/glue/sanity or insisting that she 'helps' me. And I am almost beginning to cry and wonder why did I not put her in daycare or get a nanny?!

No nannies, no daycare. I just cannot entrust the care of my LT to anyone else thank you please (except grandparents, the poor old dears, but they shouldn't be made to do what is my job all over again when they should be reading, knitting, playing with LT or just plain being).  So whats the point really of all this rambling... nothing... I am just saying, all you mums out there, whether you are working from home, outside of home, focusing on childcare and home alone... here is my salute! you are Amazons.

And now I must don my mommy avatar. When she sees me from the window of her school bus, her eyes as big as saucers, she will smile at me, the brightest of smiles and jump into my arms... or she maybe sleepy and confused and her features will settle when she sees me and she will curl up and sleep in my arms, her cheek pressed against my heart, while I carry my precious bundle across the road, up to our home and lay her in bed. It's all good...


box of party things

for my little one's birthday i went a little overboard making things! i hate the crap that is available here for chidren's birthdays... the same old disney cartoon characters in crappy materials that are unsuitable for little children in the first place. i also wanted to recycle stuff as much as possible. i have used recycled paper for all the little products, and used up the scraps as well. the theme was wild animals and i had fun making these.

i didn't want to put in the rubber band or elasticy thing that masks have, i have seen little kids struggling with the masks and getting a nasty sting from the elastic, so these have colourful wooden sticks instead!

party hats with ribbons. pink was the popular color among the girls (sigh). big happy paper flowers!

return gifts. i made these little boxes with recycled paper and the tags were printed out. the boxes contained a wooden animal bookmark, a card and some chocolates.

toothpicks for the fruit chaat. i cut out some tulips with a regular stamp cutter and stuck them on with PVC glue. these little details were loved by the kids (and the fruits were all eaten!)

i repackaged these yakult bottles with paper scraps and bits. these contained strawberry-banana smoothies. i think the kids drank the 'healthy' smoothies only because the bottles looked like this!

the party table all done up! the cake and mini muffins are made at home by a very talented friend! i am liking making things. i have been working with paper and used up stuff like cartons/empties of all kinds/cans. pics coming up soon!


Book on Women - First of the Series

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Some of the pictures from my latest work, a book on the history of women's movement for rural and semi urban readers. The narrative evolves around 7 women who meet and talk about different concepts, life and what it is like to be a woman in today's India.


The book is scattered with debates, songs and poems.




I found the text quite bold and rather well written. There are references to Mira, Sita... debates about the 'nobility' of Ram who stood by as his wife had to undergo a trial by fire.





These 3 illustrations are some of the final options I arrived at for some text on patriarchy. The client and I had a hard time getting this one right. The concept of patriarchy is more easily explained with words, putting it down into a defined visual proved not very easy. Especially because pictures can be interpreted in so many ways... but then that's what is rather magical about visual language I suppose.


A few of the motifs and borders that will be scattered around in the book.

This is the first of 4 books. And it is exciting to be part of something that you know will lend to some change however small, but significant nevertheless.

The Lives of Women

Working on a very interesting project right up my alley. The first part of a series of 4 books on the History of Women's Movement for an NGO based in Ahmedabad. The books talk about several issues; based on a play format, and the audiences range from rural to semi-urban to urban. The books will be published in both Gujarati and HIndi and the attempt is to try and not resort to any stereotypes, keeping the characters generic.

Its been fun evolving these characters. These women meet and talk about their lives, societal norms, patriarchy and some the arguments presented in the book had me sit up!

For instance, in one segment, the women are talking about Ram, Ram is historically presented as the ideal man who was always righteous. The women question how he could have subjected Sita to the trial by fire? They say that if Ram was all that righteous he should have gone away with Sita, when her chastity was questioned, he should have forsaken his kingdom, as she had done when he was sent into exile. That was the right thing to do.

There can be several counters to this... but the idea somehow seems so simple and logical. I like the fact that the writer of the book has presented interesting and even somewhat radical ideas like this... it heartens me further that somewhere, there will be this woman, or women who will read this text and choose to look at their lives differently.


I've been tagged by Ankit. It's a game of blog tag. Where bloggers tag fellow bloggers with an assignment, and the blogger then has to tag someone else. My friend Ankit tagged me. The house rules: * Each person tagged has to write random facts/habits about themselves. * Those that are tagged will have to write a post on their own blog (about their twelve things) * At the end of your blog, you need to choose two other people to get tagged and list their names. * Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

My 12 random thingummies: 1. Unless all the furniture, stationary, stuff, cushions, dabbas, randomness are not arranged in neat right angles, I get ulcers. 2. I love making extensive to-do lists and ticking off things I have done with a fat, black pen. 3. I am obssesed with my hair/or lack of it :( 4. I go crazy in food stores, I love buying tons and tons of food and stocking my fridge. I have a huge fridge which I paid big bucks for just to do this. 5. I secretly think that I must have been an Egyptian in my past life. I am deeply fascinated by the pyramids. 6. I have 6 lovely saris hanging untouched in my cupboard. I take them out, look at them and put them back. 7. I was always cast as a boy in all my school plays. I had a 'boy-cut' till I was in 9th standard. 8. I am deeply terrified of horror films and spiders. I will not watch Arachnephobia even if I was paid gazillions (of euros). 9. Every single time I order a fruit juice... it has to be Mosambi juice. 10. I have always wanted to learn to bake. A quasi Vianne Rocher (Juliet Binoche in Chocolat) of sorts. A french accent would also be nice. 11. I am crazy about freshly, brewed filter coffee. I drink upto 3 cups a day. 12. My dream is to have a house with a shingle roof, vegetable garden with a wide, comfy jhoola.

So these were my 12 random things. I now tag Shami and Shreyas.

Absolute Life

And I don't mean this as an ode to any inebriating beverage! I mean that I embrace absolute life. Its an incredible feeling to wake up and feel a bounce in your step and a nice breeze in your heart. I feel just about as colourful and cheery as this page. Here's to new beginnings and renewed resolves! My new blog-avataar (thanks to the toils of the husband) has me chirruppy and syrupy. Here's to a post everyday!