Category Archives: Creativity

Published: Short Story ‘Edge of Her World’ in Queer Ink’s Anthology called ‘Out!’

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My short story, ‘Edge of Her World’ is finally out! The anthology called, ‘Out! Stories from the New Queer India‘ is available now at Queer Ink’s website. Click on the link or the pic to go to QI’s store and order the book. The anthology was edited by Minal Hajratwala– author of the highly acclaimed ‘Leaving India‘. I’m totally stoked to have been a part of this anthology and I can’t wait for my copy of the book so I can read everyone else’s stories!

Watch this space for information on when it’ll be available digitally, in bookstores and also when the official launch is etc.

Below is an excerpt from my story:

“Rosa,” Kaavya began. “Have you ever been in love?”

Rosa felt herself redden. She lowered her eyes and dipped her fingers in the water below. Her tongue felt heavy in her mouth and without warning tears began to flow down her cheeks. She covered her face with her hands and turned away from Kaavya. Her movement rocked the boat gently and Rosa felt Kaavya’s arms around her. She felt her soft kisses on her neck, her chin and when their lips finally met, Rosa broke away.

“No,” she said. “This… is wrong. It’s… it’s a sin, isn’t it?” she asked and wondered how many Hail Marys she would need to cleanse her soul.

“When did love become a sin?” Kaavya asked, dismissing Rosa’s fears and despite everything, Rosa let the thrill of that first kiss sink into her lips.

It’s easy for Kaavya, she thought later, because there were temples full of naked women holding each other.

Video: The Kuru Circus Live @ CounterCulture, Bangalore

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For about a year now, I’ve been working on Ari Jayaprakash’s epic graphic novel, The Kuru Chronicles. With him in Bangalore and me writing in the States, I’ve been blissfully unaware of the monster that Ari has managed to create. And what a monster the Kuru Circus is. As my uncle said, “Circus is the right word”.

The event is best described as a Kuru Experience. There were musicians, dancers and live art set to this music I can’t even begin to describe. THe Kuru Circus performed at CounterCulture Cafe, Bangalore on July 22, 2012. There was a showcase of all the artwork and original Kuru manuscripts, Kuru concept art by Delhi-based artist, Sid Barik as well as art by Aakash Anand. Aakash is the creator of India’s first ever abstract comic. Check him out here.

I will post some better video when I get my hands on some but for now, here’s what I managed to capture with my little iPod Touch. While sound quality is decent, the stage was pretty dark and iPods don’t do well in minimal light. There’s no way to add light to it- that I know of; I mean, I’m no video star, so if anyone has any ideas, email me or something. 🙂

It was really amazing to be around such a creative group of people. I was really blown away though by the fact that they’ve all come together to create their own interpretations of our little book because they like it: the story, the concept, the idea. They’ve been inspired enough by Ari’s art to want to create something for it. In particular, I love how something static like a book, and still photographs and artwork has inspired performance art. For me, as a writer, it was interesting to witness their creative process during rehearsals; interesting to see their interpretations of our work. It’s certainly added a whole new layer for me and I’m seeing the book differently now. It’s definitely going to be richer from their work and for that, I can’t say thank you enough!So thank you everyone who came to the show; all the musicians, the dancers from The Storm Factory and all the artists who put on an incredible live art show! I may not be there for the next Kuru Circus show but I’ll be there in spirit. ❤

Inspiration

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A few weeks ago, a friend of mine sent me to Mexican author Perez-Reverte’s blog. The blog is in Spanish (I Google Translate it to English) and it’s about his notes on a novel that he is currently writing. I thought the idea of annotating a novel in progress was pretty neat. I like the idea of giving your readers and your future self a kind of pathway into your creative process. It’s something I’ve been thinking about more and more. Most of the time, when I write something I like, it’s like magic. I have no idea where it came from. It seems, sometimes, as if the words, sentences, ideas are spilling out of my fingers. It feels as if the story is this thing that is alive.

Getting back to Perez, the Google Translate does a kidn of sub-par job but this sentence captured me: “A novel does not end up hating you as you write, but while you correct.” Replace ‘novel’ with ‘short story’ and he’s still right!

Anyway, that a bit heavy-ish, so here’s my current obsession to take the edge off all that: Marley singing ‘Is this love?’. Right now, I’m listening to this song on an insane, endless loop and writing Chapter 1 of Book 2 of the Kuru Chronicles called ‘The Communist’ which is about a pot-smokin’, Marley lovin’ Bengali Communist.

Published: Short Story– It’s Not Me, It’s You

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Last March (2011), Everyday Fiction published my short — It’s Not You, It’s Me. It’s a story about a failing marriage and, ironically, was written when I felt the sunniest. 🙂 Weird how the stories come. Maybe they really do have a life of their own and they come out when they are ready, irrespective of how I feel. I wonder if that’s true for other writers/artists as well.

WARNING: The story contains some sexual description and mature themes.

Here is a link to the story and below is an excerpt:

“In Thirunelveli this summer we did nothing but visit your relatives and eat. Every meal was the same: white rice, brown kozambu. Your mother’s sarees were all soft, old and cottony but she insisted that I wear stiff Kanjeevaram silks all summer-day long. She thrust them at me, mute, her lips set in a straight line and then turned around to throw mouthfuls of strange words at you.”

Quoted: Gokul Gopalakrishnan dissects Indian graphic novels

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My friend and comics author, illustrator and researcher Gokul Gopalakrishnan dissects the Indian graphic novels and comics scene  in an article for Fountain Ink Magazine. Gokul also draws and illustrates Small Talk and As the City Is for New Indian Express and DNA.

Written for Fountain Ink, Gokul’s article forces us to take off our rose-tinted glasses and look at the industry as it truly is and where it’s headed. It’s refreshingly honest and at a time when everyone else is gushing about the quantity of publications, Gokul’s focus remains on quality.

When he first began writing this article, we had a couple of conversations about it; about the direction the industry is headed and what we, as creatives, are doing to help shape it. Click here to read his article and below is an excerpt:

“To put it bluntly, Bhimayana and Tara Books’ I See the Promised Land, a biography of Martin Luther King illustrated by Patua artists of Bengal, are perfect examples of how marrying traditional Indian art style to a post-industrial art form like comics doesn’t necessarily deliver quality graphic narratives.

If at one end of the graphic novel spectrum in India are the mainstream publishers who are more or less content with a set of established names, and superficial thematic and stylistic “innovations” the other end is populated by a group of independent smaller comics publishers who have gleefully dropped anchor at the superhero-mythology genre bay.”

I’m quoted in it, by the way. It’s just one tiny little line but Gokul and I talked about the article for a few days and I’m glad that that one line is the one he chose to use.

Call for submissions from Manta Ray

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Manta Ray, creators of the comic Hush (for which I interviewed them here), have put out a submissions call!

If you have a stellar idea for a single-page comic on contemporary issues, scribble it up and send it off to the Ray. If you’re like me and can’t draw, you can send them a written pitch and they’ll pair you with an illustrator. If you can draw- well, then go draw it!

Click here for submission guidelines and all that fun stuff.

Paper-cut Comics?

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I was bouncing around TED|Talks today looking for videos about storytelling and education when I came upon Beatrice Coron‘s video. Coron, originally from France, is an artist who specializes in paper-cuttings. As I watched her talk and saw the paper cuttings, I was impressed by the detail in her work as well as worlds that she is able to create. It’s really amazing. Check it out. It’s kind of long-ish but at around 10:31 you can see a speed-motion visual of how she puts her larger works together.

I think it would be fascinating to do a comic with a paper-cutting artist. I think her silhouette style lends itself well to the comics medium. Can you see it? It’s like the pop-up book all grown up and hip.