Sunday, April 13, 2014


This is my favourite illustration; two lovers escaping into the unknown. The story I had to illustrate for IQ Magazine was set in the tribal jungles of Arunachal Pradesh in the North East. In the descriptions in this story by Mamang Dai, the lovers who escaped under cover of darkness seemed very small and almost insignificant in the midst of the overwhelming  natural forces around them.
When I look back at this illustration, I like the fact that there is a sense of mystery, beauty and excitement in the atmosphere that has been created. The mountains and the stars seem to envelop the lovers in a protective way as the river supports and carries them forward into the unknown.

“Love is always a voyage. All travelers whether they want to or not are changed.
No one can travel into love and remain the same.”
 ~  Shams Tabrizi


In my body you search the mountain
for the sun buried in its forest.
In your body I search for the boat
adrift in the middle of the night.

~ Octavio Paz
Many thanks to Sajana J. for sending me this poem to accompany the illustration.

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
~ T.S.Eliot

What I listened to while illustrating this picture >
The Unknown

The Unknown

Who is the third who walks always beside you?
When I count, there are only you and I together.
But when I look ahead up the white road
There is always another one walking beside you
Gliding wrapt in a brown mantle, hooded
I do not know whether man or woman
- But who is that on the other side of you?
~ From The Waste Land.
T.S. Eliot

It is important to have a secret,
a premonition of things unknown.
It fills life with something impersonal,
a numinosum. A man who has never experienced 
that has missed something important. He must sense 
that he lives in a world which in some respects is mysterious;
that things happen and can be experienced which remain
inexplicable; that not everything which happens can be anticipated. 
The unexpected and the incredible belong in this world. 
Only then is life whole. For me the world has from the beginning been infinite 
and ungraspable.
~ Carl Jung

It never ceases to amaze me how great literature and divine music gives expression to those strange, unfathomable choices and complexities of human existence.


April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.


J.S. Bach (1685-1750): Double Concerto in C minor, BWV 1062 

Bach's music sets in order what life cannot
~ Otto Bettmann

Friday, April 11, 2014

Amrita Sher-Gill

During those rare moments while standing before exceptional art, apart from engaging in it, one also becomes acutely aware of the puerile virtual eye-candy that we are constantly fed with in the name of art and illustration on the internet…How insidiously bad art creeps into our psyches and takes root into something malignant that eats away at our souls. Do we even know why we click the ‘like’ button anymore? Are we even aware when we comment with trite platitudes?

What first struck me about Amrita Sher-Gill’s paintings was the integrity in her work. When I stood among her paintings I felt as the same sense of reverence one gets while standing under an old and ancient tree. None of the photographs of her paintings will equal standing before her actual work, the strength and subtlety she created with her brush.
This excellent exhibition was ‘curated’ in the true sense of the term by Yashodhara Dalmia. One could appreciate and follow the progress and development of Sher-Gill’s work, the elevation of her painting over the years into simplicity and abstraction. One marvels at the sheer speed of prodigious achievements in the succession of her canvases in the span of her 28 years.

If Milton Glaser said that the function of art is to make us aware of what is real, Sher-Gill’s work did that for me but also much more. Her work has that quality of truly great creation, it has depth. It is a strong and beautiful reminder that life and art are connected and are reflections of each other. It is also a reminder that how we live daily and what we see constantly influences who we are and what we create.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


For Current Conservation magazine. Illustration for an article about Plant Pathogens.

There exists neither heaven nor hell,
nor gods nor devils,
neither spirit nor soul
nor angels,
nor miracles;
nothing to pray to,
so no need for prayer.
There is only this wondrous world
and the glorious natural cycle 
of life and death.
Examine it closely
and it should be enough.

~ Dalai Lama

Solitude in Siberia