Preview of my upcoming comic anthology

skull rosary ad

 

This one is completely my baby as a writer with artist Vivek Goel. Comprising of five short stories, this anthology is a new take on a mythology. That’s all I can tell you right now, more will come laters. Oh, and it’s going to release next year during summer holidays. Hope some kids out there are excited!

Were House Volume 1 released!

My first comic short story it out in the market. It’s a horror comic anthology of three authors with artist Vivek Goel. You can order it online at Flipkart

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Would love to hear some feedback on it!

Werehouse out in the papers

The excitement is building up for the May end release of Werehouse-The house of monsters. One of the three horror stories in the anthology are mine and I am quite excited about it as it’s my first horror comic coming out. Here’s what the Mumbai Mirror journalist had to say:

Endangered fury

A graphic novel ropes in some endangered Indian species and narrates tragic tales of the human civilisation through their perspective

Ankit.Ajmera

Posted On Sunday, May 01, 2011 at 06:56:15 PM

w e have seen it all. From Benicio Del Toro playing the werewolf in the film The Wolfman (2010) to Rahul Roy becoming the weretiger in the film Junoon (1992). Cursed creatures have always been portrayed brutally devouring numerous innocent humans to satisfy their lust for blood. A graphic novel on similar lines of therianthropy (metamorphosis of humans into other animals by the process of changing forms through shape-shifting), titled Were House — Volume I, will be launched this month. The novel moves away from the cliched transformations of humans into wolves and tigers and introduces some lesser known but endangered Indian animals such as the Snow Leopard and the Dhol (Indian wild dog), along with a rat, as new therianthropes.
Graphic artist and creator of Ravanayan, Vivek Goel is self-publishing the novel under his newly formed publishing house, Holy Cow Entertainment based in Mumbai. With specie after specie becoming extinct from the world, the novel takes us closer to the heart of animals through therianthropes. Instead of being cursed, the creatures have been blessed with the power to change shapes. “We have conveniently exploited every possible living creature for our own selfish needs. But we hardly know what and how they feel about humans,” says Goel. “I thought it will be interesting to see the world through their eyes.” There is a lot of blood and gore in the story and it justifies the creatures’ need to kill as mere survival instinct instead of a mad blood-lust like that of werewolves and weretigers.

To read the full story, click here.

The photograph which was selected for Haptic 2011

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About the photograph:
It was during a recent trip to Ajanta Caves that I clicked this. The Ajanta caves which were excavated during 2nd century BC to 5th Century ACE, are a series of Buddhist monastery sites, still beautifully preserved. In one of the caves stood these tall sculptures of Buddha which are more than 1500 years old and still exquisite. Hovering around them was this throng of tourists, both males and females, caressing them softly with their eyes and capturing them in their memories and cameras as they stood unapologetically naked–emotionally, spiritually and physically.

About the exhibition:

Bangalore has hosted film festivals on themes related to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT or Queer) communities since 2003. Although they were small events, since their transformation into The Bangalore Queer Film Festival (BQFF) in April 2009, held at the Alliance Francaise, the festivals have made Bangalore a destination for international Queer films. Haptic is a photograph exhibition held during the Film Festival.

My first graphic novel with Campfire

Just discovered my debut novel’s cover on the Campfire website. Here’s a sneak into what the beautiful book, illustrated by Rajesh N, will look like. I am so, so excited about it!

Krishna, Defender of Dharma


The best part is that you can PRE-ORDER the book now! It costs Rs 195 and delivery worldwide is free! Click here to pre-order!

My photo exhibits in BlrQueerFilmFest

Quite unexpected I must say! I saw a call for entries to the Bangalore Queer Film Festival and send in a photograph I took on recent roadtrip. It’s from Ajanta caves (yes, yes a blog on the travel experience coming soon!) and was my first experience of the spectacularness that is Ajanta. So I open my email on Sunday and I see an acceptance email from them!

Yes, my photograph will be exhibited during the Bangalore Queer Film Festival 2011 in Alliance Francaise to be held February end. Will post the photographs of my photograph (yes, vain I know but I am exhilarated!) soon 🙂

Meeting up Wikipedians

A lazy Sunday afternoon, I picked up my backpack and entered the relaxed office of Centre for Internet and Society. The occasion was a Wiki Meetup. My first and as I would learn, first for most of the ten people present there. The meetup officially started with a gang of boys walking in, mostly dressed in black, denims, floaters, and laptop bags. No, none of them were wearing specs (except me). Gautam, the conveyor of the meeting said hello and gave us all the wireless code to internet. Internet unfortunately was down.

No women, except me. All engineers mostly, except a couple of advocates and one motley writer (me).

All sat down, opened their respective laptops and started typing or browsing. Imagine a group of people, all casually sitting on plastic chairs, laptops in their laps, quietly typing away in their keyboards. The silence was a surprise. Always interested in group behavior and body language, I also noticed that most of the techie boys, as I was calling them in my head, had black laptops with colourful stickers on it displaying the brands they were proud to be associated with. Other than your obvious Ubuntu, one saw stickers from conferences like Open Hack, NGOs like Pratham Books and others. Their relationship with their keyboard seemed more interesting than their relationship with the person sitting next to them. A whisper in a sidebencher’s ear went through typing. Talking while you are looking on your laptop screen was not considered social suicide. It was the cool thing to do.

It was deathly quiet. As one of the seasoned Wikipedians (I didn’t introduce myself to him and was daydreaming when he introduced himself to the group) started to give an intro to most of the newbies—engineering college students and a vague writer like me. We got to know how one should contribute to Wiki, the same rules I was taught in my Masters for submission of criticism and assignments—keep a religious track of references, don’t make up things (never followed this one) and don’t believe what is said, believe what is written down somewhere. A good question asked was about oral histories and how does one write about those. Apparently, they have to be written down somewhere before they become worthy of an online entry into Wikipedia as a reference (didn’t know that). Wish this obsession with references gets over, especially when it comes to the varied, colourful, creative means of converting a fact into a story, which Indian oral histories excel it.

But then, most of us today will be uncomfortable with that. And that is an uncomfortable state of being, no? I was reminded of a story on Wikipedia I did for Digital Natives website recently where I was left wondering who the invisible writers / volunteers of articles to Wiki from India are. Now I finally met them. Was feeling good about that. If someone has a doubt that Wikipedia gets self-promoters or people with dubious designs, they should have looked at these faces. Most students, there to learn and do their bit in knowledge sharing.

Oh, well. Maybe some people would consider them clueless to write on Bharatnatyam and still double check. These same people call students the copy-paste generation. Dubious people remain dubious, don’t they?

Blogging with www.digitalnatives.in!

I came across this interesting ongoing project called ‘Digital Natives with a Cause’ which is a collaboration of youngsters and internet addicts from across the world and how they are using the online space to change their lives and the lives of those around them. Since I am a curious cat, I wanted in. After persuading Nishant and Hasina, I am in and blogging with the website! Check out my latest post on the blog www.digitalnatives.in.

Why I fell in love with this project

Submitted by redpixie on Wed, 10/13/2010 – 08:59

Hi Everyone!

I am a new entrant to this website, so thought will introduce myself and the reason I wanted to be here. So desperately that I bugged poor Hasina, pushing constantly at the closed doors of DN (more about tht later) till I could get an elbow or aleast a toe in.

So my toe’s in and I hope to squeeze in completely slow and steady 🙂

I am a writer and a journalist based in Bangalore, India. I got to know abt DN when I did a story of it for Time Out Bengaluru last year. Spoke to Nishant then and fell in love with the project. It was at the back of my mind till the workshops started to happen. I wanted to get in it with a passion that drives vague people who make up and listen to stories.

I dont know what DN still means. And I dont plan to find out. It’s such an academics term! What I plan to do here is hear, listen, talk, chat and learn. Internet and this kind of a get together is such a dynamic space. As a writer, I want to hear different voices, try out new things, new perspectives, different cultures…different ways people express emotions, connect to internet, the idea of their space…you get the drift.

Most of the times, all I get to hear are voices of elders, respectable adults, authority and people who know what they are saying and what they want us to do. It is in spaces like these where one can hear uncertainly, the feeling of getting lost, of searching or just ambling along sheer darkness, of inguenity, of illogical ideas which work.

To read the complete post, click here.

The day I visited a police station

Touchdown to Mumbai after three years and the first thing I had was a watermelon juice. As usual, smiling and remembering old times. While I tried to paid the over enthusiastic waiter, I saw that my wallet was missing. A frantic search began at 11.30pm as me and my friends realized that yes, it was gone.

The result of all the mayhem, cancelling the cards and reminiscing how I could have done this or done that and various other if and buts later, we decided to go to the police station the next day.

Now I know that many of you might have been to a station for various reasons – things lost, people lost, people found on the road sleeping, complaint about bleary music playing in the apartment next to you. For you, it is as common and frequent as going to the grocery shop. For me, count me lucky/unlucky depending on which side of law you are standing on, it was the first time. What can I say! I could have been lawful or just plain stayed away from law or even living in a city like Delhi, was superbly protected. I am lucky that way!

So it was with awe that I entered a quaint little police station on Colaba Causeway. My heart scuttled away and nervously overdid the job of pumping and for a split second I remembered all the horrendous things I had heard about the Indian police force. A friend had once told me how she had been harassed for filing a simple stupid complaint. And then there were always these newspaper headlines about rapes, robbery, extortion and corruption all done by cops in our beautiful country. Make believe headlines splashed across my head, making me cringe inwardly. Of course I didn’t show this to my husband who would never be affected by something as mundane as a visit to the station.

With secret, hidden trepidation I entered. The cop outside, barely visible behind a stack of loose cement bags and a gun (don’t know which), asked us our purpose.

By this time, my purpose of life was flashing before my eyes. But that’s a secret and if you tell it to someone I will have to kill you. Outwardly, using aggressive body language, we delhi-wallas are taught before we learn to walk, I mumbled that I wanted to report a lost wallet. We were pointed inside where vague people mingled with each other or alone in utter confusion. I announced my entry with the word ‘purse’. An official standing on the other side of a table beckoned us and started hearing my story. First there were questions. Who are you? When did you enter Mumbai, where did you lose the wallet? I told him the story (lying about where my wallet was lost since otherwise we would have to go back to the airport and you know Mumbai traffic, don’t you?) He stared at me, knowing fully well that I was lying through my pretty teeth. But I kept the fake bravado on. Then came my main purpose of talk. Wallet lost, fine. Money lost, fine. Cards gone with the wind, fine can be handled. How do I handle my license being lost?

Now don’t get me wrong, fine I was lying about somethings but my wallet did get lost as did my driving license. The policeman said that he cannot file an FIR till I get an affidavit from a notary on a Rs 100 stamp paper that my license was lost. I mean, I am a complete loco? My logic cannot go beyond A + A = 2A, so I probably didn’t understand. How can I, who is a victim, has just lost a wallet, and is a tourist, go find a notary, get a piece of paper signed that I did lost my license for a simple complaint of lost wallet? I am standing there and claiming it to be lost, how does a piece of paper change this??

I was baffled and like I do when faced with something I don’t understand, I argued. I asked him why he couldn’t believe moi over a person who knew how to sign papers. He shrugged and mumbled about it being a government document so only a government person could say I had lost my license and not me. Oh, btw even that government official will just stamp it when I give him a Rs 100 note. I could be lying there as well.

But the policeman, who wanted to be helpful, was adamant. Process has to be followed and only then an FIR can be lodged. I saw him as stuck as I was in rules, regulations and processes which had been set and could not be un-set. How are we free, btw? Him and me?

On another note, a pickpocket, who looked like a lower middle class guy, wearing specs and carrying a broken tote, tried to pick my husband’s pocket for his wallet while we travelled in a bus. My husband had been prewarned by savvy Indians (me and his dad) to keep his wallet in the front pocket. The man managed to take out a piece of a paper. My man caught him doing it but let it go. He has a world to survive in as much as we. With the food prices rising, I don’t blame him. Maybe he should try some politician or cop’s pocket. But that will make him a mining lord.

My learnings. The policeman standing next to you is not a villain but a babu – cursing his superiors and stuck in processed. Oh, and keep the wallet in the front pocket in public transport.

More later, ciao!

PS: This post is barely edited as I wanted unadulterated, raw bafflement to come through, splattered in a rush.