This was something that actually happened to me, dream sequence and all. It’s amazing how reality is so overrated.



Personal Space

Posted: October 10, 2012 in Rambling


The last time I posted something must have been more than four months back. This time I decided that it was easier to express myself with my trusty pencil than with words. I’m wondering whether there would be more of such stuff. Given my mercurial nature, I can only hope.

Inspired by


Posted: August 7, 2012 in Rhapsody of Art

Its been more than three months since I made this little sketch. It took me a while to upload. Mostly because i didn’t have net most of the time, and when I did, I couldn’t find the owner of the photograph which I used as model (thanks mostly to my own ineptness).

This is an important piece of work for me, simply owing to the difficulty level of this sketch and the sheer patience that I had to gather. If you must know, gentlemen (and the ladies), I was pushed to the brink. I must have given up on this sketch innumerable times – but I came back. I had to finish it. It took me a whopping three days too. Three days of doing nothing except sleeping sketching and giving up. But I did eventually finish this, and here it is now. I used pencils from 10B to 2B. Not one evidence of HB will you find on this sketch.

Credits go to Tina Simerl for her phenomenal photography skills. Here’s the link to her original photo:

And here’s the link to her profile on DeviantArt:

It’s been a while since I drew something. I tried but I had this block that I was having trouble with. Couldn’t sketch to save my life. After myriads of half finished sketches, I had pretty much given up. But that was before the exams. Smack in the middle of my final exams, I decide that I must get rid of my block. Nothing like all-important exams to give you some divine inspiration. It was Karma. So I start out with something simple.

The photo that was the model was pretty simple. Straight-forward portrait, no weird lighting, no strange shadows and no shining vampire either. The only challenge in the model was the hair, which was all ruffled up – pretty much giving the name to this post. That and the offbeat expression. Though nothing that I couldn’t handle. All my previous artworks had on most part taught me how to negotiate with messy hair, so there you go. Overall it took me two hours to complete the sketch. Twenty four minutes to get the face and the face shades and all that. The rest of the two hours were spent on ..well.. the hair.

By the way, that’s my friend Miral being coy.

It was past six and the people were slowly filing out of Chanakya Hall. The speakers hadn’t left though, most were thronged with excited audience members. But all in all, it was over. TEDxNITCalicut had reached its conclusion, though Puneet would have begged to differ citing formalities that were yet to be completed. Now that this was the end, my mind was filled with pride to have been part of an event of such eminence; the pride tinged with sadness, now that all was over.

The week prior to the event was a blur, with work piling up all of a sudden and a lot of unexpected situations being thrown at us, we never knew rest. All the organizing members worked day and night till the worst seemed passed and we could get a breather.

On the day of the event, I found myself relaxed and was glad to find the others the same. We knew that we had worked hard and were sure that it was going to come off well. Not the curators though. For them, this was the day of reckoning. All their hard work had come down to this one day, and they were praying fervently for success.

I wasn’t a part of the ticket distribution. We had a limit of a hundred people audience, and I had no idea whether we would get enough people. To tell you the truth, despite my assurance that everything was in order, I was on the edge as far as filling of the seats were concerned. Usually I found my college mates slightly apathetic about social events. So when people started arriving in droves, I decided I could breathe freely.

We were very excited about the speakers. On the eve of the event, I had gotten the opportunity to interview two of the speakers – Tanvi Girotra and Hari Subramanian, and believe me, I haven’t met many people with gritty determination of Tanvi and suave dynamism of Hari. I’ll tell you more about them later though.

The event kicked off smoothly. I was pleasantly surprised to see handsome attendance from Calicut city and even a bunch of people from Cochin. Unfortunately my front desk duty prevented me from attending Dr.Sangwan’s amazing talk on eye surgery and cure for blindness. However you can find the entire talk here:

Thankfully, I didn’t miss any of the rest.

Gopinath Parayil, a dour social worker, talked about caring for the terminally ill and permanently paralysed patients. It was only from his talk that I realized the depressing situation of the people who are in such condition. In countries with better healthcare system, they are given special care, but sadly in ours, they are effectively left to die. Keeping this in mind, the Pain and Palliative Care Society was started. This venture has effectively become a beacon of hope for many people suffering silently because of the apathy of our system. This society has been awarded WHO collaborative status for its dedicated work and the change that it represents in our country. But of course, nothing comes easily in our world. The society has to continuously grapple with sponsorship difficulties. Despite all that, there are many driven youths – doctors mostly, who are enthusiastically taking part in this, and are trying their best to do their bit. So much so that the ‘Kerala model’ of Palliative care has become a model for our country. You can watch his talk here:

Andrine Mendez was probably the most fun guy in the entire hall. Wearing a classy fedora, he stood out, his easy and charming manner, enthralling everyone who spoke with him. In his talk, he spoke about Definition You, what defines you in today’s era of social networking and what meaning does it have in day to day life. It was a fun and I enjoyed listening to him and seeing the way he was involving the audience in his talk. The new age media, Maslovian hierarchy and the relevance of social media in daily lives, in job and in many other things that may not immediately ring with us. Listen to his talk here (though mind you, he isn’t wearing his fedora here):

Athira is a violin prodigy of international note. She has been playing on national and international stage since she was a child. In her talk, she talks about her experiences and the emotions involved in music. It nearly brought tears to my eyes  when she recounted an anecdote of her performance in an orphanage abroad. After that, she played her violin, a piece she played in our former President Abdul Kalam’s birthday party. There could be no way of describing it in words. Suffice to know, that her performance earned her the only standing ovation of TEDxNITCalicut. Enough said, here’s the talk:

Krishna Rao Jaisim is an acclaimed architect, who is the head of Jaisim Fountainhead Architecture. He said he was inspired in his work and philosophy after he read ‘The Fountainhead’ by Ayn Rand. A firm follower of Objectivism, he is a steadfast person and probably the most intriguing man that I have seen. A real life Howard Roark, he made possible the ideal work hero that I believed existed only in books. His way of working is very interesting too. He invites his client to his home for an evening and has a conversation, talking about random things. Then from this little time, he will guess the person for who he is and like a poet writing an ode, he will make a house, a monument to that person. Jaisim doesn’t believe in 3D models, he works exclusively on paper and he never advertises. He never, ever advertises himself. His clients come to him solely from word of mouth advertising by the other clients. He considers architecture a form of art, he doesn’t make modifications based on client inputs. Jaisim admits that he has lost more than one client that way, but it never bothered him. For him, his art is everything. His talk was very interesting, and another name was added to my list of heroes. Unfortunately we couldn’t upload his video because we lost audio feed halfway through his talk.

Praveen Vettiyattil is noted inventor who has formulated an ambitious plan to end farmer suicide by the year 2015. He is involved in finding innovative ways of using power saving methods and devices, through invention. He is the head of Sharada Solutions, based in Coimbatore, doing exactly that. He already has many patents to his name and at present he is working on more than one project simultaneously. He has interacted with students from many colleges and is building up for his Plan 2015. Already a known savant, he has been noted for implementing many eco friendly projects during his tenure as the director of renewable energyof Noor-ul-Islam University. A man to be emulated, he is one of those people who are working on his own initiative for a social cause on what seems like an almost impossible task, but when you see his confidence, you can get some faith and hope. Find his talk here:

Tanvi Girotra is probably my favourite speaker in this version of TEDxNITCalicut. She is more or less of the same age as I am, but what she has achieved so far, seems beyond my lifetime. She has dedicated her life to rehabilitation of prostitutes and their families in the Najafgarh area of Delhi. She is filled with determination and openly admits that she has always doubted whether she would be successful or not. This takes a rare amount of courage to admit. She has been a representative of our country is international forums such as UN-ECOSOC and G(irls) 20 forum and has spoken about the suffering of women and children. In her talk, she speaks about what makes her happy and what it is that drives her. She and her team from Becoming-I-foundation have suffered many setbacks and opposition during the course, yet there is something that drives her. What is it? You can find her talk here:

After the event was concluded, I got the opportunity to interview Praveen as well and got him speaking more about the other projects that he is pursuing. I’ll put up the interview as soon as I can.

These speaker’s, I realized, are some of the finest people that I have interacted with. They are one of those people who force you to think and wonder, ‘What have I done with my life? What does it mean to do something meaningful for the world’? We did the packing up, the audience and the speakers left, leaving Chanakya quite, and we just sat there afterwards for sometime, thinking.

Now that our first edition of TEDxNITCalicut is done, it is time to look forward to our next edition. Vacation for our team is over and we are slowly shifting towards work mode.

Il Mafiosi

Posted: March 5, 2012 in Rhapsody of Art
Tags: , ,

Thank God this is over! I started this three weeks from now and have been since working on this intermittently. And boy, was it a lot of work! The whole point of this was for me and my room mates to have some sort of memoir, and seeing that I drew a lot of people, maybe in one of them it could be us. So there you go. Now most of my sketches have models, but this one didn’t. So I had to take pictures of all four of us to make my life simpler, my friend Thridev (from across the dorm) helped me out with his camera. The result of our experimentation was this.

From this I had to flesh out each of them through my imagination, clothe them according to 1920s to 30s style. Give each of them a role to flesh them out even better. In some cases, I had to mess around with the orientation of the head and all, to get the right feel. In order of original photo: Jakes – The Fixer, Me – Shady Barman, Avinash – Dirty Cop, Stein – Mafia Spare.

It took me just about forever to finish this one. The time would easily cross beyond 12 hours. There isn’t anything new that I have done with this sketch, other than the fact that I drew most of it out of my head. Since most of what you are seeing is from my imagination, I made mistakes with the shadows, so forgive me for those.

Vysakh, our year’s Primo Photographer, helped me out by taking a shot of my sketch, since I couldn’t scan this, what with A4 scanners and all.  And Vishnu helped me correct the midtones and the shadows. So it would’ve looked really crappy without these two.

I’m not the only one

Posted: January 22, 2012 in Rhapsody of Art

Initially I just wanted to try out some charcoal. You must know, charcoal is a great way to sketch, but very difficult to control. If graphite represents control and cautiousness then charcoal is the enfant terrible. Very difficult to control, partly because I had no previous experience with it. So after a protracted trial with charcoal which was fruitless, I ended up using the auld waye. 8B for the darkest tones, 6B for the transition, the rest of the Bs used sparingly on the face. I never touched the HB anywhere on the paper. The whole thing took me 5 hours to complete, no less, minus the time I spent with the charcoal. Sketching this was fun.

The title is a famous refrain from a Nirvana song. Why did I put that as the title? Go figure.

check out the model if you want, and don’t forget to go through the rest of his gallery here

2011 in review

Posted: January 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,800 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 47 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


Posted: December 11, 2011 in Rhapsody of Art

Snow on dead branches
Quickly falls, loneliness comes
Shedding crystal tears

The model is the promo poster of the french band Alcest. It’s a wonder how Alcest always has this overarching feeling of melancholy in everything, whether its their songs, or their posters. That is why this band draws me in like gravity.

Before I started on this sketch, I had this ‘face your fear’ thing going. The human hair (those on top of the head, mind) has for quite some time been my final frontier. So I absolutely had to do this one.

It had been quite a while since I drew last and I was feeling a bit out of touch, which would be my excuse for a host of errors that would be apparent to trained eyes (okay now, don’t check).

Post Scriptum: The haiku isn’t mine, but by a girl called Heather. I think it fits in perfectly with the mood of the sketch. Thank you, Heather, please don’t sue me.

The other day ….

Posted: October 30, 2011 in Rhapsody of Art

After more than four months of hiatus, I have at last returned to my usual kind of drawing. Admittedly, it was kind of weird holding the pencil after such a long time, but then here it is. Circumstances forced me to do the sketch at the dead of night, so that was a very remarkable experience too.

Every photograph has its own kind of challenge. For me, hair would always remain the last frontier. I did my best, and coming back after so many months wasn’t easy. I took more time than necessary (two nights would be it), fumbling at different grades of pencil. But I am pretty pleased with how it came out. Now that I am back at last, there will be more in the anvil soon…..though I remember saying this before.

I obviously used a photo as a model, which came from my college mate Vysakh Karthikeyan’s amazing collection from our Tathva nites. I’ll put up a link to his gallery (I think he has a microblog) when I come across one (and not to his facebook profile mind).

Oh, the girl in the sketch is Linda, by the way, from my college club.