I was a guest at the Madras Gymkhana Club last month.
The Gymkhana’s 125 year history has many quaint anecdotes , such as this one about Santa Claus coming riding in a cycle-rickshaw to the Club’s annual Christmas party :
I dare say this must have been a particularly delightful turn of events when it happened, with someone first requisitioning the Club Committee (in triplicate) for funds to hire reindeer and a sleigh for the celebrations. And the Committee ,after much deliberation over many a sitting, deciding to go with Selvam and his rickety old rickshaw instead.
The image ( especially Selvam’s shirt ) was formed in my head long before I put ink to paper ; when I did sit down to sketch it last week , it drew itself.
Basavanagudi. Traditional Bangalore.
Where mornings begin with a walk in Krishna Rao park, past the laughter club’s guffawing women and the old men who enquire “Why you did not come yesterday?” Where you stop at Vidyarthi Bhavan for a ‘strong’ coffee and step outside to smell the roses (and jasmine) at the Gandhi Bazaar market.
Where residents went ‘tut-tut’ at the ‘modernization’ when the swanky Upahara Darshini opened in the late 80’s (but promptly proceeded to indulge in its delicious malnad kadbu and talked about its automatic hand drier over conversations at the Katte BaLaga).
Basavanagudi, land of the December Peanut Fair around the benevolent Big Bull Temple at the Bugle Rock park. Where Bhavani Bangle Stores , seller of velvet-cloth-flower-painting-kits (as seen on the housewives show on Udaya TV) and Maybeline for the middle class added an additional floor to accommodate customers. Where Sangeeth Sagar tried the same , failed and went back to the narrow column of a shop selling Rajkumar hits on cassettes now also on MP3.
Where the annual Vidyaranya Ganesha festival grew from hosting the local ‘Blue Boys’ orchestra to inviting Daler Mehndi to perform at the Acharya Patashala Grounds. Where many a young impressionable mind grew up reading the dog-eared Asterixes , Tintins and Amar Chitra Kathas at the Public Library at the Indian Institute of World Culture.
A Basavanagudi that’s now choking thanks to the ugly plastic coconut trees on DVG road outside the numerous kitschy Gold Palaces that we are told belong to powerful ministers. Where it’s perfectly okay to ask at Sreenivasa Brahmin’s bakery :” Eggless items are there ? ” Where little Brahmin boys play cricket in the lanes near the Shankar maTa and as adolescents , discover Swami Vivekananda at the Ramakrishna Ashram.
Where Subbamma, maker of deep fried snacks sold her wares from a tiny shop near Surveyor Street. Where the rationalist H.Narasimhiah walked the streets of Gandhi Bazaar during a solar eclipse to prove a point. The same streets Maasti Venkatesh Iyengar took not so long ago from his house in Gavipuram to the Basavanagudi Club, handing out toffees to children along the way.
I’ve lived in Basavanagudi all my life. I drew this map a couple of years ago for Savita, a close friend who does the Traditional Bangalore Walk for Bangalore Walks, run(?) by another friend Arun Pai. It’s a wonderful way to spend a weekend morning – discovering a part of Bangalore you probably didn’t know about over a walk and breakfast. You may sign up here. Better still, send me a mail identifying (any number of) the five places marked on the map above and the person with the most correct answers (lucky draw in case of a tie) shall be invited to an all expenses paid FREE Traditional Bangalore Walk (courtesy Savita). Contest ends 12th June 2009.
Arun Pai does the Victorian Bangalore Walk (around the MG Road area) and there’s also a Lalbagh Walk (Tip : breakfast at MTR ! ). These are fine people you should be spending your weekend with.So , people – if you are in Bangalore, mark your calendars for a Saturday/Sunday morning !
Recommended reading : Multiple City – Writings on Bangalore compiled by Aditi De
Today, I shift gears on my blog.
I present to you the first in a series of short-stories-in-a-graphic-novel/comic-book-style. That’s a mouthful, so I’d like to call these shorts ‘Inga’ (that’s short for Indian Manga or Indian Graphic Art). I know the name’s a bit lame for a comic-book-genre (and brings to mind Swedish imagery ) but hey, it’s short and Twitter-friendly.
So here you go, my first two-page Inga titled ‘The Secret’.
Any resemblance to any living/dead person/place is a figment of your/my imagination(?).
Please use the comments section and tell me what you think . Thanks !
Update (18th May 2009) For the record : The technique WORKS. Really.
Hmm, Moore/Gibbons fans – no comments about the last panel ? It’s a tribute.
Technorati tags : inga indian manga manga graphic novel comics the secret jai iyer
I drew this sketch of Koshy’s restaurant (for an upcoming comic-short-story) over the weekend. Then I found out it was Prem Koshy’s birthday last week. I’d call it coincidence, but I’m guessing he’ll say : “It’s all destiny, Mashtre !”
I’m posting this sketch as a birthday gift. Happy birthday, Prem ! Here’s to more beverage and baritone.
It sucks big time to be a pig these days, everyone’s avoiding them like the plague.
‘SWINE FLU’ is such a crass term. Doesn’t help them pigs one bit.
As the mad Sabbah suggests, ‘PIGGY SNIFFLES’ is a much better term. No?
After all, pigs are people too , you know.
The MangoMan (the Aam-aadmi) is a curious phenomenon in India. A reality-dance-show/cricket watching, potbellied individual most of the time (with no identity whatsoever , leave alone a secret one) , he acquires immense superpowers once every five years, including the ability to change the course of the entire nation with his finger. Sadly, these powers do not last. Or so he thinks. When he does, that is.