Sunday, May 29, 2011

1 Minute for the Limca Book of Records

Looking back, together with the Kerala Cartoon Academy, UTHRATAPPACHIL, the 12 hour nonstop live caricaturing yajna conducted at the Thrikkakkara Temple, Ernakulam has been the singlemost satisfying venture undertaken by both of us. Immense thanks to my senior cartoonist friend, TVG Menon -Vasily Vascillowich Chettov as he reminds me in his mails that he really is - who posted this greatly presentable video on the YouTube ! Sudheernath, the then KCA Secretary floored everyone with his compulsive organising capacity. I am still awe-struck !

The Kerala Cartoon Academy has never been able to garner this many cartoonists and PR resources at short notice in the 29 years of its existence. This video is a celebration of all that the KCA has been standing for. Equally, this was KCA's tribute to a cartoonist who unlike most others was too lazy to take interest in getting his works published and opted to be a silent though slow worker, instead. Thanks KCA !

The ceremonial lighting of the traditional lamp (Nilavilakku), cartoonist's more talented playback singer wife in solemn prayer in the brightlit background, the resonating Panchavaadyam and the mirth and expectant bustle of the caricature seekers and devotees, one elephant to other elephants, all caparisoned in grandeur, the expanse of the stage set to liberal measurements said for the music dramas and the long patient queue winding down from the dias - all those were great blessings that would grace only very few artists in this world. Nowhere else, this kind of celebration of an art form other than the temple arts inside a temple premise would have taken place.

Each caricature elicited peels of laughter from men and women of all temparament, might be only for a few seconds. Men and women, many of them, laughed for the first time in their life looking at themselves. There was no rancour, no bad blood. After each caricature nudged to the subject in thanks, I regretted the extra flourish of the black marker pen or the lack of it, as I have, eversince and everbefore, been doing. But, all not artfully but sportively compromised to the compulsive faltering of lines happening during fast live caricaturing. One 92 year old lady, Ananthalakshmy Ammal , a classical vocalist who was there to sing before the deity blessed me many times and danced in the centre stage like a pro ! A young farmer from Muvattupuzha whom I drew in the morning waited till 8pm just to put a simple garland around my (non-existent :() neck ! I thank them all. My fellow cartoonists, most of them junior to me in age, constantly saw to that there was minimal lag in seating one subject after the previous one lifted oneself up. At the end, the tally was 651 caricatures in 12 hours, @ 66.36 seconds per caricature.

Once again, I thank all my friends, the 651 subjects, the supporters and the grace of all the powers that stay beyond me, far away from my ignorances. The KCA or me may never be able to do a show like this. This kind of thing is once in a lifetime for a cartoonist.

Truly, once-in-a-lifetime !

Smiles in the Naturopathy Hospital

The Naturopathy Hospital, Tirur, Malappuram District run by Dr. Radhakrishnan is perhaps the best institution in Kerala to equip patients on discharge to face life with more kindness and smile and with much less ill will and calorie intake. The three months my 84 year old mother spent there made her lighter by 10 kilos and stronger in her joints. A congenital asthmatic, Amma was almost fully deaf, which made her to strongly feel inferior and singled out of all crowds. In fact, it was not as much Amma's constant reading habit and beaming countenance that allowed her to survive the laming loneliness in that distant colourless place with a different culture with dignity as the overwhelming love & care, the poor Muslim housewives and their innocent beloveds showered on her. It was not a show but the only possible spontaneous response to a fellow human being who suffered alone and silently. I thank all of them who stood all along by my mother, deep from my heart.

Please see below see of the caricatures I had drawn on two of the many occasions I visited Amma. A fair representation through two aged Muslim locals, a kid, an activist young man and the hospital Guruji :)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Facebook readers

In the past, I have often come across absolutely absolute strangers with mostly non-caricaturable features who, after a short quizzing on public roads where such meetings always happened, would reveal themselves as my dearest Orkut-Facebook-Blogger groups buddies-incarnate. The massive size and the cat eyes, always beat my natural tendency to lie low, remain unseen and observe with abandon under that feigned immunity.

Now, months after the last such incident, it was the turn of my Telugu facebook friend from Bangalore,
Sridhar Comaravalli, an SBI retiree who bumped against me yesterday afternoon, his musician wife and Tanwi, the 8 year old sweet daughter of his long time friend, on tow. Sridhar is now on a splurge shooting away stills on his present travel spree. We hit upon each other through cartoons. Minutes later, when my good friend with the bhasma laden, satwik face departed, I had nothing else to present them with other than what my right hand has been indulgingly churning out without complaints for the last 35 years whenever I demanded....

Good bye, Sridhar, madam and the sweeeeeet, book-lover Tanwi :)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Mattanchery revisited !

It was after a long gap that I had to visit Mattanchery, yesterday evening, a dead city full of llingering old smells of spices and small time tea shops. A small function had been arranged to felicitate the team behind Kerala's first Konkani film. I took Dinesh Shenoy, my recent friend and a local, too along to the function. Dinesh, my opposite in girth is a killer in painting heritage buildings in sepia on canvas, each of which he finishes in exactly six days. Anand Kamath, an immensely caricaturable face and my friend, was the force behind this konkani idea. He was game enough to my suggestion of a 1 minute caricature-gift to each of the team members. In no time, A4 size paper was hailed for from the shop opposite and I drew out a slew of black markers in anticipation of the imminent soft kill to happen on paper.

The 15 caricatures I drew are here. Please have a tour :)

Dinesh Shenoy the artist of Me in Sepia (below)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Childrens' Summer Art Workshop 2011

Day 1 of the Orthic Childrens' Summer Camp and Art Workshop .

The small Nanappa Hall of Orthic Art Gallery run by my bearded, deadly artist-looking Kaladharan was full with kids, 10-16 age group. The kids , like all others before them, were spellbound watching my size. Seconds away, this would snowball into mocking glances and hushed laughs. The cunning fox that I am, a walrus-bulky me was drawn on the board in a minute. The kids could not control what had been kept on leash till then.

Parity was declared then & there. Great peace prospered in the tiny hall for the next 2 hours !

Each and every child participant could be finished off in less than a minute apiece, that too after explaining aloud the curious, caricaturable facial features that are to be observed by prospective caricaturists.

Below you can see the beaming faces of the participants and the kids with the unexpected trophy in his/her hand