Monday, October 5, 2015

Extra Large

I have a hundred thousand problems to deal with but right now it feels damn good to draw extra large once more.

Dogs and Roses

Sunday, September 27, 2015


I’ll read my books and I’ll drink coffee and I’ll listen to music, and I’ll bolt the door.
~ J.D. Salinger

About a week back, I was trying to complete yet another drawing when I found myself getting into knots over the picture, frantically erasing and redrawing over and over. Then I paused and looked at the work and realized how mentally exhausted I was. And why wouldn’t I be?  I realized I have more or less single-handedly dismantled my life in two different cities on one side of the world and assembled it again in a completely different world on another side. I will be taking a break, a much needed one, from everything.

My website has a new wardrobe. Take a look >

Friday, September 18, 2015


On the way to the shops, I almost always pause for a moment at the gate of this tiny house and admire the colours of the Rangoli on the steps and the vermillion enhancing the doorway.

One does not want to idealize on the blog. Around me there is noise and filth, but beauty like this in the midst of ugliness makes one stop, admire and breathe easily for a moment before carrying on.

India's Chaotic Lesson in Letting Go

Friday, September 11, 2015

Back to Work

"And lastly, when other things in life get tough, when you’re going through family troubles, when you’re heartbroken, when you’re frustrated with money problems, focus on your work. It has saved me through every single difficult thing I have ever had to do, like a scaffolding that goes far beyond any traditional notions of a career."

Thursday, September 10, 2015

I am Elephant

This illustration is for my mushroom hunting friends who will be leaving their forest in Sutton to live in Montreal. I drew this picture so that Aaney the Elephant and champignons will be with them wherever they go.

Since returning to Bengluru I find I cannot quite remember whether one has to say le elephant or la elephant (something all students of French will agree has caused them to bang their heads on their Francaise textbooks and die), so when translated from French, the words within the bubble in the picture read ‘I am Elephant’. Aaney of course is the word for elephant in Kannada, the language spoken here.

The card was meant to be a surprise but since it has been well over two weeks since I posted it and since I am fed up with waiting for the package to reach I have decided to put up the picture on my blog.


Monday, September 7, 2015


My long time blog readers will know that entwined hearts and tangled vines carefully rendered in graphite is rather unusual subject matter arriving from my table, but I made this picture for a friend of mine who is going off to Italy. She is someone who has shown immense grace, kindness and dignity towards those around her while she was going through challenges of her own.I admire her for that. She once told me what her dreams are and it is that which is what I have tried to depict in this picture. I hope her stay in Italy makes her dreams come true. This is my heartfelt wish for her.

Monday, August 24, 2015


There are few experiences nicer in this world than receiving thoughtful gifts, especially if they are what you'd always wanted and they are given to you with love.

1)Beautiful deckle edged paper posted to me from across the world  by a lovely, thoughtful former flatmate. I love that it is wrapped in red, my favorite colour.

2)When I admired a beautiful red cup at a friend's place in Toronto, she bought a similar one for me as a farewell gift.

3) A teeth clenchingly expensive but utterly gorgeous red sketchbook that I had silently admired at a store in Montreal.A few days before I left, a surprise package arrived and in it was the very sketchbook I wanted.


Saturday, August 22, 2015


My birthday this year could not be more different from the one the year before. Last year I drew in my sketchbook, there was a Plum tree in front of me, I was in a strange land. That evening I dined with a friend at her home and ate my first artichoke, a rather strange flower that I’d never eaten before. I was halfway around the world, far away from all that was familiar, uncertain and wondering where my choice would take me.

This year I am home.  I have received my things, am unpacking them and setting up my studio once more, bringing a goal I worked at for four years to a full circle or spiral as I prefer to say.But when I pause and reflect, I cannot help thinking what a year it has been, clashing contrasts of seasons, bizarre adventures, strange encounters, unbelievably wonderful friendships, horrifying uncertainties, bone-chilling winters, springtime forests and a steady, certain journey back home, back to being myself, back to my studio and back to doing all that I love most.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

What is it Like?

Being a new immigrant feels like a fish being compelled to ride a bicycle, in other words, you have to completely discard your identity and assume a new one and that is something which feels grotesque and unnatural, much like what the illustration portrays. My friends will vouch that throughout my entire stay in Canada the expression on my face was exactly like that of the fish on the bicycle. 

No country can give you everything that you want. If in one country you finally had the hard won life you created for yourself, centered on what you value most, another country might have eventually given me the quiet and dignity that I desired. However in my case, it seemed to be at the expense of all that I had striven for till now. ‘What do I value more?’ was the question that I asked myself frequently in the midst of my immigrant dilemma. The longer I stayed on searching for something which I began to suspect did not exist, the further away I kept moving from the path that led to all that I held close to my heart. The consequence was great unhappiness and an acute loss of confidence. Whichever part of the world you live in, the truth is what an illustrator who has also been through it all once told me – “The only happy place is inside our heads, when we are drawing and being kind...”

Sunday, August 9, 2015

An Elephant in Sutton

As regular blog readers know by now, the biggest highlight of my stay in Canada was meeting and befriending The Mushroom Hunter and his girlfriend, my very first Quebecoise friend, The Green Tea Drinker. Their lifestyle was unusual and beautiful and I felt blessed to be invited and shown a glimpse of that in real life. Now when I am on the other side of the world, I continue to be charmed by them in their letters and pictures to me and none more so than the last letter showing the creation of a work of art they made for me their Indian visitor. I publish an extract of the letter and photographs with their kind permission here -

Hi Priya,
Here is my long overdue email.
As I had expected, this year is a truly exceptional one for chanterelles. I have already made a provision of frozen bags for the winter, and the chanterelle season still goes on for another month! I am in paradise!
This is a picture of the first bolet of the summer… right in front of my house!

At the end of a usual hunting day in July (these are all chanterelles, also known as giroles) :

After I’ve picked them, I clean them, I slice them…
And then I cook them . the mushroom in the oven are bolets that have been dried in a dehydrator : the last step before putting dried mushrooms in a jar is to shove them in the oven at low temperature for 5 minutes, in order to remove all remaining moisture.

Finally, here is a very nice specimen of a “russule charbonni√®re”, which we have eaten in an omelette the very next day

Last week, I also picked some delicious black raspberry with my hat

As for “something Indian in the garden”, there where complications. As you will discovered momentarily, this was supposed to be a “living sculpture”. We’ve been growing beans and vine on it for two months now, but… We had several incidents. First, the beans we planted were too old and did not grow. The new ones were growing well, so much so that our groundhog in residence, Lady Gaga, took notice and took a bite… and another… and another. So we took action and put a protective net all around the structure to make it Lady Gaga’s proof. After that, everything seemed to be coming along nicely… until the dreadful Night of the Deer… The beast, coming from nowhere, devoured almost completely all the plants on one side of the structure. So, again, we installed more protective nets in the hope to save whatever remained. And then came the beetles. These little scoundrels ate and are still eating our vine…  So, in a nutshell, the structure which was supposed to be entirely covered with living stuff by now, has been stripped down time and time again, leaving the following result, which I now present to you without further ado-
Can you guess what it is?  No?
OK, here’s a clue : it’s an animal.
OK, this animal lives in your country.
Still no idea?
OK, OK, how about this : one of your deities has its face?
Do you see it now?
By god sake, Priya, it’s a bloody elephant! Do you notice the familiar (and huge) silhouette? OK, now, do you see, right in the middle,  the big ear… and next to it, the tusk and the trunk? No? OK then, can we at least agree that it is vaguely reminiscent of an elephant? Yes? Good! Good! That’s what I was going for anyway… The vague is so in vogue nowadays, don’t you think?

Anyway, two things make this sculpture YOUR elephant :
~ the spirals all over its body, in reference to your beautiful post on the concept ofspirals;

your walking stick – the one you chose when we went hiking together – which is now part of the sculpture, but also removable, in case anyone needs it for a walking expedition. 

So in a sense, you are still here with us

Monday, July 20, 2015


It is well known that the creative mind makes connections from all kinds of arbitrary happenings, so here is a list of things that inspired this confession in the form of these drawings.

Firstly my beloved late cat Cindy and her hearty appetite.She was so chubby and cute, I'd wanted to gobble her up for a long time.

Then a handsome cat who who for a while made my garden his own.I tried feeding him in the hopes that he would stay, but I think there were other people who were feeding him more.

The third last picture of absolute bliss is inspired by this picture.

The second last picture of course from the unforgettable turkey at my first ever thanksgiving dinner.

And finally the entire confession is inspired from a story I once read in the newspaper many years ago about a cannibal who advertised for a victim. Bizarrely someone actually offered himself up to be eaten. Fried in butter. Just like the hunted mushrooms placed before me in a house by the edge of a forest not too long ago.

All those varied incidents, resulted in this -

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