Friday, March 17, 2017


The picture above shows beautiful sheets of drawing paper including some extra large sheets of excellent imported paper at half the price I pay for a sheet of Canson. I also got 100 sheets of regular tracing paper to cover my work. 

For the 20 years I've been going to Marudhar Papers, I struggled with them in my Hindi and they struggled with me with their English. There was a certain amount of brusqueness from them. Discounts were grudging. Then this time suddenly a barrier broke when I tried Kannada and they, Marwadis, replied in perfect Kannada. I praised them: How well you speak Kannada! They blushed and became extra accommodating. "We know you have been coming to us for a long time!" Just before I left they said, "Wait madam, gift, gift!" and gifted me this nice spiral bound notebook. I am totally floored.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A Bangalore Montreal Dialogue

Every Sunday, Julie and I upload all the drawings that we do that week on a tumblog called Hello Every Sunday. You've seen the icon on the left and yes, Facebook readers already know, but since I love my blog I must put it here as well.
Over here in the about section you can read why we do what we do. 
Otherwise do follow us and cheer us on as we drive this little monster forward every week throughout this year.

The top and bottom pictures of the first four photographs are mine, and the pictures in the middle are Julie's. See the difference in lighting of the two countries - the golden winter light from South India and the blue winter light from snowy Quebec.

Here are pictures of the sketchbooks that we are using and that we arrived at by trial and error -
This is the sleek sophisticated fancy Stillman and Birn which Julie decided would meet her needs.

And the bright and chubby Lekka Pustaka (account book) which dazzled me with its red shirt and swore to fulfill all my desires.

When I look at how different the sketchbooks are from each other, I cannot help but think of all the opposites in this project: The cultural differences in the two countries, the different colors of the light, the opposites in temperatures, the fact that we drink tea and coffee respectively, Julie's systematic way of working and my last minute jams... Still, art communicates through all kinds of differences and boundaries. I am sure that towards the end of this project we both will carry away with us a lot more than we ever expected when we started this.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Over at a Blog Down Under

I am guest writer over at Local Story Space, a wonderful Australian blog featuring creative women. I decided to write on the subject of what Beauty means to me, why it is so important to me and how it inspires what I make.
You can read the post by clicking the link over here >>>

Thursday, February 2, 2017

One Glorious Spring Summer Morning

Since a meeting with new Banglurean blog friend and avid instagrammer Priyanka Sacheti Mehta was long overdue, I invited her for a walk at Lalbagh which she happily accepted. I remembered how gracious my Kochi and Kolkata hosts had been to me and tried to emulate them. I remembered that the first great Bangalore experience usually always consists of the walk in Lalbagh and the meal at MTR afterwards. If you haven't done this, you haven't seen namdu Bengluru.
Here is what we saw during a glorious Springsummer morning today. Isn't it utterly gorgeous? Every visit to Lalbagh always has new surprises in store.

This new creepsome element below right next to the rose garden gorden - Snow White's cottage no less! And with the requisite dwarves and Bambi flitting around as well! So much imagination I tell you!

 Then MTR. When people I meet with say things like, "Oooh, I've eaten and come off, I'm not hungry". And, "Let's share just one plate of Idli", I usually delete them from my list. I was satisfied to note that Priyanka enjoyed food with enthusiasm. We ate a 15 course meal at MTR. They kept bringing course after course and dessert after dessert. They kept saying things like, "Just try a leeetle bit to taste, now go on, try some more..." and then, "Wait, it's not over yet! Other things are coming!" How much more bozz, we've eaten so much already? "Arrey madam, still several more are lined up!"

So here are the pictures that I managed from that orgy. I've managed to photograph the start of the meal with the pooris and the colorful end - the famous candy colored MTR ice cream with the saccharine sweet cherry on top. The entire meal was pretty much the food equivalent of the glorious Silk Cotton tree that I've posted as the first picture.

This was one very satisfying day :)

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Printmaking at a Studio in Kalighat

So thanks again to the kindness of my Kolkata host Dithi, who had a knack of reading my mind and knowing exactly what interested me, I got to do printmaking at Kalighat, at the fourth floor studio of her teacher Ramen Kastha.
I did the drawing for this etching no doubt, but he did all the hard work of putting the various chemicals and then operating that heavy printing machine while I watched on owl eyed with amazement at the complex and intriguing process that goes into the making of a print. These are the works that emerged and I am thrilled to bits with them. 
Thank you Dithi and Ramen Kastha.

Monday, January 9, 2017

The Sweet Shop Man

In the first photograph, Dithi Mukherjee photographs the sweet shop man at Kalighat. Notice the calm confidence with which he poses for her, see how he looks directly at the camera. 

The last picture above is taken by Dithi. Each time I see the picture, I have to pause for a moment to admire this man's serenity and contentment.

The Time Of My Life - Kalighat

When I said I was visiting Kolkata as the guest of DithiMukherjee, a friend of mine said: If you have Dithi to show you around Kolkata, what more could you ask for? And indeed I am not exaggerating when I say that for so many of us here in the South of India, Dithi epitomizes Kolkata. It is from her blog that I learnt everything about the great city, its Gods and Bengali culture. 

When I drew this picture of Kali above in 2012, from one of Dithi's photographs, I wished I could see Kolkata in real through Dithi’s eyes and experience all that inspired her so. Then one day that dream came true when she quite simply read my mind and intuitively led me towards all that I wanted to experience with her characteristic warmth, enthusiasm, generosity and love. We had a lot of fun and we were in sync. I was shown contrasts and nuances, colonial past and colorful present, I was made to taste the best of foods in the most unusual of places and my sweet tooth was pampered and indulged like never before. 
They say people who love to eat are the best people and whoever said that was most definitely talking about Bengalis! Get two Bengalis together and tell them I am a visitor, they will get into a heated debate on the best places to take me and what to feed me. I totally understand their passion now and I can only look back on my stay in Kolkata with the happiest of memories thanks to my lovely Bengali host.

These are some of Dithi’s beautiful paintings. You can see what I mean when I say that this is the essence of Kolkata.

Both images top and bottom courtesy of Dithi Mukherjee

It was from images like those above that I learned about a place called Kalighat; not a village outside the city as I once thought, but in the city itself. On my first evening, I was taken there for that unforgettable  magical walk through the streets of Kalighat at night and I visited there again the next morning. While I was not gasping at everything around me, I actually managed some images. Here are the better ones, but they are only a shallow reflection of the actual experience -

Sweet shops everywhere selling offering to the Goddess Kali

I was taken inside the temple to see the Goddess

Devotees queue up outside the temple

Life in the surroundings

Everyone knows that beautiful red and green house in Kalighat

My very first kulhad chai. The kulhad smelled of the fresh earth with which it was made. The chai was excellent. 

A ride back home in an old yellow Amby! It was a bit like sitting inside a World War II tank as it trundled through Kolkata roads, but it reminded me of childhood and the only car many of us knew then and who would have thought there were so many of those still around? This too is part of the Kolkata experience.

My favourite picture of Dithi and me :)

I feel this blog post does not do justice to my experiences in Kalighat, there was so much more, much much more which I am quite simply unable to express effectively.That is how saturated I am by the memories. I know something will eventually manifest themselves in paintings and illustrations, they always do, but until then and since I am totally and utterly shameless, I am adding below a few links to some posts in Artnlight where Vineeta documents her experiences of Kolkata and Kalighat so beautifully through her pictures and words. Do pause to take a look -