It’s one of my favorite covers so far. I had been waiting for the book to come out so that I could share it with you. More soon.
You can download the book on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071XR1311/.
It’s one of my favorite covers so far. I had been waiting for the book to come out so that I could share it with you. More soon.
You can download the book on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071XR1311/.
This one is for S. S. Rajamouli, for directing Bahubali – The Beginning, a movie that made me sit up and take notice. I’d have loved it more if moss had been growing upon the sides of the walls, and if there were a few stones missing here and there – but they wanted to show Mahishmati in good repair, so be it.
So here’s Prabhas as Bahubali, asking the question that India has been asking for two long years. “Why did Kattappa kill Bahubali?”
What I love about Bahubali is that it’s a fair attempt at telling a fantastical story. Honestly, I wouldn’t have seen it. Nobody could’ve convinced me to go to the theater and pay for a South Indian movie dubbed in Hindi. I’d rather watch a South Indian movie in Tamil or Telugu, miss half its finer points and read the English sub-titles. I watched the dubbed version of it only because it was on TV. I’m glad I did because I fell for the illogical beauty of the movie as well as the drop-dead flared-nostril gorgeous looks of its tall, broad, and rather humongous protagonist, Bahubali. (Note: His nostrils and his height reminded me of a Telugu guy who had proposed to me in my first year of college – but I assure you that this fact had nothing to do with my mad desire to caricature Prabhas b.k.a Bahubali.)
b.k.a. = Best known As.
So what caught my attention?
First, the songs.
The lead-the-hero-on-his-quest song brilliantly shot. The end-of-virginity-song (Our movies often have a song at the end of which our virgin hero and equally if not more virgin heroine lose their virginity) was beautifully composed. Honestly, Bollywood’s pelvis-pounding, booty-bouncing, bosom-heaving efforts look crass when compared to the sensuality of these songs. The tattoo-story that spills into the end-of-virginity-song is one of those many details that make the viewers catch their breath.
Then the sequences.
We first learn of Bahubali Junior’s prowess in the scene where he plucks the gargantuan shivalinga (made of black igneous rock of some kind) and carries it on his shoulder, like it was made of origami. Then there was the scene when Bahubali Junior “alone” stops the king’s statue from falling – note that hundreds of men couldn’t achieve what he did, and quite effortlessly too. In fact, his other hand was free to help a worker to his feet. And then there was Sivagami, the omnipotent matriarch, who for some inexplicable reason was feared by everyone, including her hubby dearest. Her husband, the single-handed king, single-handedly managed to mess up the whole show for Bahubali Senior – the prince she favored over her own son (for no other reason except that as an infant, in a surreal display of power, he had held her thumb in his innocent vice-like grip.) Interesting, because what I’ve seen of mothers is that they’d love a baboon born of their own body more than they’d love another woman’s super awesome genius child.
Finally, Katappa (or Kattappa or Kattapa)
The man who threw the parting shot was Katappa. The man who in the last scene of the movie, confessed to killing Bahubali. He could’ve confessed a little earlier, or waited until the next movie was released. But he chooses to spill the beans right at the moment before the credits begin to roll on the screen. Honestly, I don’t understand the guy at all. I don’t think Bahubali understood him either. Which Bahubali? Well, both, I guess. The guy Katappa appears to be a rather dependable character – one who sides with Queen Sivagami all the time – and he confesses to killing Bahubali. Speaking of cliffhangers – I guess this was even bigger than Bahubali’s own cliffhanging attempt in the movie (recall when Ballaldeva was all prepared to bring the movie to an end by letting Bahubali die, but the director had intervened and saved the movie?)
Bahubali 2 – The Conclusion, is releasing on April 28th. I’m waiting for the release the same as millions of other Indians. We all want to know why Katappa killed Bahubali. Don’t we?
Melania Trump, the new First Lady of the USA, visits the caricaturist’s blog!
Born Melanija Knavs, the current First Lady of the US received her Green Card in 2001, and became an American Citizen in 2006. Previously, she worked as a model, a profession that she had joined at the age of five. She speaks six languages, loves powder-blue (in the caricaturist’s opinion,) and she applied for a US Green Card as a Model of “Extraordinary Ability.” (Information excavated from Wikipedia and must be consumed by the reader at her own risk.) She got married to Donald Trump in 2005. Soon after their wedding, in 2006, she gave birth to little Barron William Trump – the cute kid who wore a suit and sat through Donald Trump’s oath-taking ceremony with patience and panache.
Other than the fact that Melania Trump has an extremely caricaturable face, what inspired me to find my way back to my tablet and paint this caricature, was another caricature of the lady.
If you’ve read my book “Evolution of a Caricaturist – How to Draw Caricatures” or you’ve read my past posts, you would know that I am a caricaturist who balances exaggeration with funny/cute. I am also someone who believes that a woman’s vanity must never be attacked, even through a caricature – and so as far as I can, I try to keep a woman’s caricature in the realm of cute. Any exaggeration that yields an ugly picture, isn’t for me – and I follow this philosophy regardless of my personal preferences/prejudices.
It so happened that this fabulous caricaturist painted a rather unflattering caricature of Melania Trump. Note that “unflattering” here, is a euphemism. The caricature made me sad. Features that had no business being exaggerated were pushed and pulled with impunity – it made me think that the caricaturist disliked the subject immensely.
So I thought that I should draw a caricature with an element of funny/cute in it, without, of course, killing the likeness – and so I did this.
If you are a caricaturist, you may be interested in understanding Melania’s face, especially her eyes. Her eyes are different from most other eyes, in that they slant upwards on the outside corners, and they are rather small. In fact, tiny. When she smiles the slant increases. She’s got a sharp nose and a mouth with thin lips. Yes, I mean really thin lips. She uses a lipliner outside her natural lip line and fills up her lips. But the point to note here is that her upper lip is slightly heavier than her lower lip. A characteristic feature of her face is the way her cheeks are structured. Note the two vertical crescents that shine upon her cheeks. Then of course, you have her hair. My exaggeration of her features is slight and I’ve used the relativity of her features to caricature her face. For instance, I pulled her nose some, stretching her cheeks, so that her small eyes, automatically looked smaller. The upper lip became thicker, and the lower, thinner. I exaggerated the strands of her hair – but most of all, I used the big-head small body trick to get the toony look right.
Note the size of the buttons, the hoops of her earrings, and the swirl of her jacket – and of course, the confident stance. Becoming the First Lady of the US is no mean feat. She is winning, and the caricature shows it!
India stands proud and tall today. The Indian Army went across the LOC early this morning, targeted 7 terror launch pads, eliminated about 38 terrorists and 9 Pakistani army men who were defending the terrorists. Our soldiers returned safe – no casualties. They avenged the Uri deaths. They got an opportunity to do so only because there was a will on the part of our government. Instead of throwing empty words on our faces while keeping the hands of our defense-forces tied, unlike the previous government, this government did something tangible, and they did it the right way.
There’s a limit to be patient with ignorance and vileness; and with the Uri attacks, that limit was breached. We cannot continue to play with those who hobnob with the ones intent on killing us – India was forced to act to contain the terrorist attacks that were carried out from across the border, under the aegis of Pakistan.
Today I was reminded of the day two years ago when I voted for change, and when I rejoiced with a renewed hope because after such a long time, we would have an Indian in the driving seat.
I want to thank our armed forces for keeping our borders secure, and PM Modi and team for taking decisions that uphold the pride and honor of India. For once, I am glad to have voted.
The first Presidential Debate reminded me of this illustration that I did for the Jan-Feb 2016 issue of the Talk Business & Politics magazine.
About the First Presidential Debate: 9-10:30 EDT on September 26, 2016.
While Donald Trump didn’t lose his cool despite Hillary Clinton’s repeated personal pokes, Hillary Clinton didn’t faint nor cough, as many had expected she would. And yet, neither Clinton’s pasted smile, nor her quick puss-in-the-boots acceptance of guilt upon the question of the deleted emails, appeared credible. On the other hand, Trump could’ve possibly been more people-friendly and less prone to explaining the business logic behind his proposals. His one-liners mightn’t go down well with some voters who would find it curious that declaring bankruptcy or using the laws to save taxes (evasion vs. saving – there’s a difference,) could be sound business logic.
It’ll be interesting to watch these elections and see how America decides. I do hope that the next two debates will be more interesting and bring out the honesty and patriotism of both the candidates. I for one, don’t believe that US should select its President on the basis of their race or gender – they should select a President who is truthful, patriotic, and gutsy, and who believes in building a level-playing field not only for all Americans but for everyone in the world.
On his Birthday, I struggled to come up with the idea for a birthday gift. I started by listing the traditional gifting stuff.
But then, he can read me like I were a first grade English text being read by an English Literature Professor. So, on the morning of his Birthday, he brought this stone pen-stand that he had bought from a fair years ago, and asked me to draw or paint upon it.
And so I did. It took me hours, peering over the 2.5″x 4″ stone-canvas, and painting upon the not-so-smooth surface of the stone, but the results were heartening. Note that these four characters weren’t sketched elsewhere on paper…they were born on this pen stand, for this pen stand 🙂
And finally, with the pencils 🙂
He loved the gift. And then of course, there was the halwa, his favorite sweet-dish to sweeten the gift some more 🙂
Time is apt for this post to reappear 🙂
Everyone knows that Hillary Clinton will be running for President in the 2016 Elections. Period.
Here’s my take on the story.
View original post 825 more words
While I sort out my recent drawings for posting here, do visit my Facebook Page. If you clicked the Like button on that page, you could view my quick sketches that I often update only on the FB page and not here.
I’ll soon be back 🙂
For some of us, marrying a programmer might have been a deeply considered, well-thought-out decision, but for others it was a decree of fate. Those of us who’ve embraced a programmer as our life-partner, while in full senses, are courageous women and men, who knew exactly what they were getting into; but others, who got tossed into these turbulent waters by a quirk of fate, have learned some survival techniques through bitter experience.
I now share some of these tips with you, and hope that you will add your own experiences to this list, and share them with others of our kind.
When you detect a roach trying to sneak in, and squeak (or scream,) “A bug…a buuuuggg!” and instead of materializing behind you as your protector, your knight in his crumpled tee and faded jeans jumps up from the sofa, shouts “where, where?” and rushes to his computer, then don’t lose heart. Don’t assume that he has lost his sense of direction or that he doesn’t love you – it’s just that he loves his programs a wee bit more.
When he takes that cup of coffee from you, draws in its aroma, closes his eyes and smiles – and you wait for him to say something really nice, really sweet to you; instead he sets the cup on the table, looks at the monitor, and says, “Java is awesome,” don’t ply him cups after cups of the same brew. You must learn to appreciate how one Java leads to another, and how the real turn-on is that Java which scrolls on his screen.
When one morning, he finally comes unstuck from his seat, and condescends to accompany you to Mother Dairy where you look at the beans to exclaim, “Aren’t these beans looking great,” and he drops the shopping bag, grins widely, and asks, “Are they enterprise beans or session beans?” don’t surmise that he has lost his mind. He’s overawed but thrilled, because he thinks that you are finally learning to speak Codemese!
When he looks buggy-eyed all the time, it isn’t because he’s contracted conjunctivitis. It’s because he’s been debugging a particularly nasty piece of bug-riddled code. Debugging might sound a bit like deworming and your may wonder if it feels similar, but if you’d wait long enough, then you’ll witness a look of pure delight on his face. You will also get the opportunity to experience that Eureka moment when he fills his lungs and shouts, “I found it!” You might think that he had found a treasure trove and not a crummy bug, and you’ll want to tell him exactly that, but don’t. Just join him in his glee, and throw a party!
When you want to find out if he still loves you and whether his love for you hasn’t been relegated to a background process, and you ask him, “Do you love me still,” but he continues to stare at the antsy-looking text called code and says, “One minute,” don’t stress yourself out wondering whether the flame of passion in your relationship was beginning to flicker. Just parse his statement, pick “one” from it, and tell yourself that zero is false and one is true, and so he still loves you!
And finally, if and when you really want your keyboard warrior to come and save you, you must shout ctrl + s if he uses Windows and command + s if he works on Mac. And yes, you better find out, pronto!
I am planning more than I am doing.
And one of things I am planning on doing is: writing a collection of short-stories set in Ancient Egypt. No mistake there. I am writing, NOT illustrating this collection. But why not? Come to think of it, if writing comes to publishing, I’d need a cover, and all the serious writer-bloggers who’ve self-published recommend that we must never make the cover ourselves. We must shell out some moolah and hire a good cover artist for our books. I agree whole-heartedly. I mean, if all writers began illustrating their own book covers, we’ll be soon out of business.
Note that a lone eye like the one below isn’t something that I am going to put on the cover. It merely tells that the artist who did this was lazy.
So stretching the main logic some more and spreading it quite thin, when I write a book, I must hire a cover artist to do the cover. Hiring myself is beyond my own modest means, which means that I must find another. However, my mean-means would allow me to get only stick-figure artists!
Do you see my dilemma?
I think I’ll try to haggle with myself and try to get me to reduce my fee, but I know that my charges are very reasonable, and I’d feel terrible about bringing my own price-points down.
Do you realise that this is a Catch 22?
I think I should sling my camera around my neck, get into my time-machine, go to ancient Egypt, and shoot some pictures for my cover.
But another writer’s blog recommends that illustrated covers sell better than photographic ones, especially for the fantasy and historical fiction genres; and the fuel-bill for the time machine would burn a whole in my already quite hole-y pocket.
Have you noticed that I am stuck?
And this is why I must plan the whole thing again! Meanwhile, if my author/artist friends shared their experiences and suggestions, I’d be grateful. I am serious about this short-story collection, so please take me seriously.
As a rule, I don’t publish my doodles. They should be found no place other than my to-be-shredded-in-the-future tray, and all the new ones should follow their brethren to the gallows. They aren’t pretty and they aren’t happy – and when has the world been kind to the ugly and the unhappy?
And yet, I couldn’t bring myself to throw this one away, because it tells a story in which I once played a part.
I’ll let you read the story in these overlapping, untidy lines.
In this short post, I would like to differentiate between cartoons and caricatures, and then discuss the gray area that lies between the two.
I’ll begin by reaching out for my Merriam Webster Collegiate dictionary – Tenth Edition. Yes, I do it the old way…lug that bulky tome to my table and then patiently flip the pages until I find the word that I am looking for! I find the word “caricature” – in the first column of page 173. Let me pick the definition for you.
“A caricature implies a ludicrous exaggeration of the characteristic features of a subject.”
And now I flip a couple more pages to find the term cartoon.
“A ludicrously simplistic, unrealistic, one-dimensional portrayal/a preparatory drawing.”
As you can see, a caricature exaggerates the characteristic features of a subject (person, place, or thing,) whereas a cartoon is a simplistic, unrealistic, one-dimensional(?) portrayal (of what? – anything, even that of an abstract concept.) Notice the elements missing from a cartoon – a “real” subject, whose features are being exaggerated, also notice the additional element of simplistic rendering.
So exaggeration of the defining features would lead to a caricature – ex: caricature of Bill Clinton, with his nose, his jaw, his florid complexion – all exaggerated, leading to his picture becoming a funnier version of the subject’s likeness.
And a simplistic rendering of anything (including a subject: person, place, thing, concept) would be a cartoon – ex: the following cartoon drawing includes cartoons of three persons, a few objects, and presents a concept.
But then a caricature of a person may be rendered simplistically enough to be called a cartoon too, and hence the confusion. For example, the cartoons of Ajit Ninan published in The Times of India are not just simplistic renderings, but they also exaggerate the characteristic features of the politicians to poke fun on them. While they are still cartoons (simplistic rendering,) they are also caricatures of specific subjects.
Hope this boring post has managed to clarify matters 🙂
Now hop to my art gallery here to enjoy some colorful caricatures.
Ten years after the return of the crusader, his people know he’s evil and try to get rid of him and his wife. Kaylyn escapes the fire of Baldwin’s manor with Bran’s help and leaves Lincolnshire for good. A long journey through 12th century Europe allows her to meet other fledglings of her mysterious maker, Bran the Raven. Then it’s Muslim Spain and up to Damascus, where everything started for Baldwin.
A travel journal through the centuries across Europe, North Africa, Asia on the Silk Road, to the court of Kublai Khan and then India for the making of her brother-in-darkness, Rajveer…
… And it’s only half of Kaylyn’s story!
Last month, Barbara G. Tarn commissioned me for her second book in the Vampire Through Centuries series. Here’s the cover of the book, which is now available for pre-order.
My process of working on Ms. Tarn’s books begins by my reading her stories (yes, you got it. First, I get to savor the worlds she builds, enjoy the company of the characters she creates, and visit the places they go – in this case, medieval Europe and India.) She’s an awesome client, who sends me a folder of references along when she books me for a commission. In this particular case, those references helped me visualize Kaylyn’s dress correctly (12th century Europe.) The mansion behind too required help – a building from the same time, it had to be mansion (not a palace, nor a church.)
I’d like to thank Barbara G. Tarn for the opportunity.
“If I could, I would kill him!” the man in the tattered jacket and stained trousers hissed as he watched the flames that danced violently mirroring his own state of mind.
He didn’t expect his cry to be heard, nor his pain to be felt by another. He sat in a small recess that was between two cliffs that faced each other, touching and teasing at times then moving away, just a little, just enough to let a man escape the freezing wind that could peel the skin off his face; just enough to let a man build a fire that could warm his chilled bones and melt the blood that had frozen in his veins.
“If they wouldn’t hang me for killing him, I would kill him,” he muttered to himself, contemplating why he hadn’t killed him. He knew they would hang him, or take him out to the fields, ask him to make a run for his life, then put a bullet in him – they’d call it encounter. They ignored the law when it came to punishing a crime against their own kind.
And now, more than ever before, he couldn’t die. He had to live. He couldn’t even get arrested and be put away for years.
He turned his attention to the fire. He needed to stop thinking about that man.
But how did you stop thinking about someone who stole your reason to live?
How did you tell yourself to go on, when your reason to go on, had gone away… taken away… wrenched away…hacked away?
He couldn’t staunch the flow of his thoughts, but watching the fire soothed him. The fire hadn’t lost its strength yet. It still burned strong, nearly white in the center; and a fiery orange outside. It threw a golden glow on the walls of cliffs that faced each other. The flames still danced passionately, angrily, demanding to be assimilated, absorbed in each other.
And then he saw a face – among the flames, made of flames; so full of anger that it could have been his own. The matted hair that coiled on the top, the impression of a third eye – he knew the face, and he knew that the anger that filled this face that was made of flames, was the force of justice.
“What did he do?” he heard a voice, which sounded like it came from the face in the fire.
The calm voice from the angry face, made him feel better. Gradually he began remember everything in vivid detail – everything including that which reminded him why he couldn’t kill the man who had rendered his life meaningless. Images rushed to fill in the space that his receding pain and anger left vacant. He saw the woman he loved and their son waving him goodbye – the image was lit with the soft morning light that fills hearts with joy and hope. Then he saw the broken door, the picture of him and his wife on the floor with its glass shattered, and inside, he saw blood on the sheets. The light he saw it all in had the ink of night spilling into it – throwing his soul into the dark abyss of hopelessness. She wasn’t there, nor was his son. Then he saw her – bloodied, clutching her throat and dying near the scarecrow they had both built together. Finally, he saw in her fist, the piece of paper that stopped him from going after him and killing him. He had taken away their son! He had known him for fifteen years and considered him a friend.
“He should pay,” said the angry face in the fire, or he thought it said. But could he? If he killed him, and they killed his son, what then?!
The stream of his thoughts was dammed by a scream that came from above. He looked up and saw a man falling, hitting the walls, rebounding from one then from the other. He crashed to the ground just a few feet away from him on the other side of the fire he had built. Before his body struck the ground, the man’s face turned toward him. His head smashed against a boulder that lay at the bottom of the cliff’s wall and spattered it with blood, before his eyes closed forever. The police uniform that he had always admired on his friend was soaked in blood, even his badge was twisted out of shape.
The man watched spellbound. He had wanted this man to die – but his death didn’t soothe him the way he thought it would. His death couldn’t become life for her…and his son? He was still missing.
He turned to look at the fire.
The face was gone.
Or was it never there?
He looked up, wondering if the face was up there among the stars, but it wasn’t. Instead he saw a tiny silhouette of a little head. He could’ve recognized it anywhere. Against the backdrop of a moonlit sky, he saw the child. They used to come here, father and son; they knew the place like the back of their hands. His son was safe. Now he had to only get up there and pick the threads of his life again. He had a reason to go on.
Before he prepared himself for the climb, he turned to look at the fire again. It was suddenly close to dying, like it didn’t have a reason to blaze and sing anymore.
But he was sure.
There was a face in the fire.
A Drawerful of Manuscripts begs their Creator to Pursue Publication – This month we are sharing a writing success story for anyone who writes manuscripts with their whole heart and soul . . .
and promptly puts them in a drawer.
for anyone who stresses over if their stories have the W factor.
If you are an aspiring writer and don’t yet subscribe to David Farland’s Writing Tips, please do so now 🙂
Remember this badge I once shared on the blog:
My first sci-fi story won an Honorable Mention in the Writers of the Future contest, and his Writing Tips newsletter is what motivated me to participate. His book Million Dollar Outlines helped me see my writing from the reader’s viewpoint, and this year, I might finally start approaching agents and publishers for those manuscripts in my desk-drawer 🙂
On the art-front, after I’m finished with my current illustration assignment, I promise to draw a few light and bright caricatures, solely for this blog and for you 🙂
I recently did this artwork for the cover of TBP Magazine’s March-April 2016 issue. While it might look like three regular portraits of three gentlemen standing in suits, sharing a joke; the assignment was a challenging one, and when the client’s approval came in the first shot saying “I like it a lot,” it felt great.
Here’s the artwork:
And the story:
This might sound like a problem from the GMAT Question-paper, but it isn’t – it’s real, factual data. Mr. Bumpers (the gentleman at the left) is about 10 years older than Mr. Pryor (the gentleman at the right,) and Mr. Clinton, the rather cute looking gentleman in the middle is about 10 years younger than Mr. Pryor. Mr. Bumpers belonged to the expensive and low-res era of photography and so the web isn’t choke full of his pictures (which obviously means that the references weren’t easy to come by.) Mr. Pryor was close to retirement when the digital era began, so there were some pictures of his older self available but not many of the time when he was politically active. However, there was no dearth of pictures, as far as Mr. Clinton is concerned.
But this is just one part of it.
I needed to paint all the three gentlemen as they looked in the past; as their younger selves. That and the differences in their heights – all that had to factored in while creating this artwork. I enjoyed the challenge and also the fact that I was drawing and painting portraits for a change 🙂
So that’s that. Coming up soon is a post by the writer in me.
“I didn’t kill it,” said the human.
“It doesn’t matter,” replied the avian. “What matters is, whether or not you want to survive.”
The human slipped deep in thought. The avian hopped closer and looked into the human’s eyes. “What’s wrong?” he enquired.
“I’ve been thinking,” replied the human.
The avian raised a brow. “If you are repelled because it’s carrion, remember that this is all what we will get to eat today, and when we have eaten, there are others who must feed on the remains.”
“No,” said the human, assessing the booty that crawled with maggots.
“No what?” asked the avian, confused.
“We can store the rest. We can use it tomorrow and the day after – why should we let others consume it?”
The avian remained silent. Storing food for tomorrow and the day after wasn’t the way of the vultures.
“But it won’t last forever, then what?” the avian asked.
The human turned to look at the avian and allowed a thin, cruel smile to creep across his lips, “then you, my friend,” he replied.
In 2014, I had started working on a series of drawings that I had named “Smiles.” I had barely managed to color one of them when I faced my first real loss – the loss of a loved one. All other drawings in this series found their way into my Incomplete Drawings folder, and have stayed there as sketches.
This morning, I was struggling to find something happy to post. As I rummaged through my drawings done during the last two years, all I came up with were dark angry works – works that have no business appearing on a caricaturist’s blog. Then I came upon this, and I thought that if it was bright enough to bring a smile to my face, it was bright enough to be posted here.
I hope this spring-summer caricature brightens up your day too. Now I must get back to painting the Cover for Barbara G. Tarn’s novella “Charioteer of Buddha.”
I last posted about the Song of Ice and Water series by GRR Martin. I can now declare that I am two books into the series already. With the way life’s been this past month, Martin gets the credit for this feat of mine. He weaves such a complex web of tales studded with such intriguing characters, that once caught in it, you can’t leave, until you’ve traversed along every shiny sliver that holds his web of ice and water together.
So I read some.
Then I painted a magazine cover with the portraits of three gentlemen, and now I am painting another cover with a whole mad group of toony looking people on it. I got some inquiries that made me scratch my head rather furiously and lose some hair. I’m also looking forward to painting a couple of beautiful covers for SFF author Barbara G. Tarn, who is also a long time friend.
So I drew some.
I spent some time writing some short stories around the concepts that inspired my hat paintings. I should’ve been writing a new story for the new quarter of the Writers of the Future contest, but for some inexplicable reason, I was more drawn to explore the human mind and its machinations – and so ended up writing these stories, which are more in the realm of psychological fiction.
So I wrote some.
But I couldn’t blog. There are times when you want to find a quiet corner and create. I guess that the last whole month was that time for me 🙂
Sometimes somethings come to you unbidden. They steal upon you with the finesse of a cat and surprise you; they wipe the frown off your brow and break your face into a smile.
I had been hankering after The Song of Ice and Fire for more than a year. Actually, since I watched Game of Thrones on TV. I’d look it up whenever I’d visit a book shop, but I could never bring myself to buy it. A set of seven books, each splitting at the seams with about a thousand pages, can make you worry. Will you be able to read them all? Will you like the author’s writing style? Will the story be engaging enough? It’s one thing to sit through an hour-long episode and another to plod through an unending ocean of words. Before you’ve read an author, you never know whether his words are tiny angels that will take you in a world that you won’t want to leave, or little black devils that will plunge you into the depths of reading hell. I had never read anything by George R. R. Martin, so I had no idea what kind of little guys his words were.
Now you must be wondering why I didn’t buy just one book at first and then went for the others? That would be the practical thing to do. Unfortunately, I am not practical. I haven’t made a single practical decision in my life. I am impulsive and emotional. One of the zillion impractical impulses that drive my life is buying books that aren’t just great to read but that also look beautiful. I also like books from an author to look like they belong to him. So unless I’ve already fallen for a specific writer’s work, and I must buy their books as soon as they hit the stalls, I enjoy getting sets. They give me a sense of security and continuity. I know that after finishing one book, I’ll have the next one waiting!
Now George Martin’s books tell one long story, they look mysterious and attractive, and I couldn’t say if I’d be hooked or be saddled – and so the plan of getting the books went into limbo, but the secret yearning didn’t fade away.
Three days ago, I received an unexpected gift. Wrapped in red, it stood on my desk. I suddenly knew what a groom in an Indian arranged marriage feels when he first sees his bride – a package wrapped in red, a bundle of surprises, but first he must lift the veil.
I picked it up, expecting it to be lighter than it was, and immediately knew that it had books inside. All those words, they weigh a lot. For the last whole month, I hadn’t mentioned my craving for GRRM’s books – not once! And yet, there they were! Looking awesome, fantastical, mysterious, rich, and inviting!
Here’s a picture of my treasure:
The books in the picture aren’t in sequence. Here’s the order in which you must read the series “A Song of Ice and Fire”:
I’m already at page 359 of A Game of Thrones, and this is just the beginning of my journey into Westeros and Essos.
I am also reminded of the only Game of Thrones character that I’ve ever sketched – Peter Dinklage in the role of the unforgettable Tyrion Lannister – the only Lannister who stands tall (I speak from what I know of him through the first 359 pages.)
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