Saturday, May 25, 2013

Brain Matters

Thanks to a post in BangBangBangalore, I got to know that there is a Brain Museum in this city. We went there this morning bursting with curiosity. We stared slightly dazed and bewildered at different kinds of largely unlabelled brain specimens on the shelves and threw wild speculations at each other. 
Then to our luck Prof. Shankar, the man who had created the museum, came in and asked us, ‘Would you like to touch a real human brain?’
What do you make of someone who asks you a question like that? But Prof. Shankar was serious. And he had already decided we were going to touch a brain. He opened a basin in the corner, removed a human brain and two hearts and placed it on a tray in front of us.
He asked us to hold it and placed it in our hands, he showed us how a brain was placed inside a human skull, he explained the structure of the brain to us.

Then, he asked us to wash our hands and walked with us around the museum explaining the different kinds of brains on display there. We got to see the brain of a person with an aneurysm, a schizophrenic’s brain, a cross-section of a speckled brain eaten up by tapeworms, the damaged brain of a person in a scooter accident, brain with green moss like stuff growing in it and many many more brains each one exhibited there for a specific reason. There was a duck’s brain, a tiny rat’s brain and the small smooth white brain of a four-week baby. 
Disturbing, some of you might say, I thought I would never be able to stomach holding a human brain in my hands, but I did, and thanks largely to Prof.Shankar’s enthusiastic and fascinating explanations, both P and I left the museum with a feeling of awareness and a sense of awe for what is within us which enables us to function as we do.

Thank you also Andy Deemer, BangBangBangalore has indeed taken me, a true blue Bangalorean beyond the Bull Temple. Who knows, one day I might even visit the Rajkumar Memorial.

The Brain Museum is at NIMHANS, near the library. It is open on Saturdays 10am-3pm.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Beautiful Black and White

Since I won’t be posting any of my charcoal illustrations here anytime soon, here are some beautiful black and white illustrations from vintage books that belonged (probably) to my grandparents. Enjoy.

These illustrations immediately below are from a book called Droll Stories by Honore de Balzac.The illustrations are by Steele Savage. The book cost Rs.2 when it was bought.

This old edition of Aesops Fables was illustrated by Tenniel who is known for his beautiful illustrations for Alice in Wonderland.

The illustrations below belong to a Kannada Bible. I have no idea who the illustrator of these gorgeous illustrations are.

Lest there be the inevitable comment that contemporary illustrations do not match the quality shown here, I assure you there are plenty of illustrators who draw very well. One has to sift through the noise and hype to find them hidden away drawing like maniacs inside their studios. They won't have websites or Facebook pages. Their presence on the net is minimal. With time if they are lucky, they get placed in the 'Forgotten illustrator section' of 50Watts.  Here is one of them >>