“MPs ki Loot” Game Features in The Times of India of today (April 14th, 2019, Sunday.)

Folks,

I’m thrilled!

MPs ki Loot” our fun Android game on Indian Politics and Elections was picked up by The Times of India and featured prominently in “Games to Play this Poll Season.” (Page 20.)

Here’s a snapshot by my old-and-turning-ancient phone.

MPs

India ko chahiye solid sarkaar; tum phi download karo yaar!

So…what do you think of the caricatures? (Hint…hint.)

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“MPs ki Loot – Net the Netas” – A Desi Game of Political Dharpakad on Google Play.

I had been busy.
Why?
Kyunki…
Elections ke chalte, Partiyon mein pad gayi hai Phoot; Mach gayi hai MPs ki Loot!

Download this fun and dil-se-hindustani game “MPs ki Loot”  on Google Play.

We have developed this game on the occasion of the Indian Elections and it was launched early this morning.
MPs ki Loot - Net the Netas - an Innoken Game on Desi Indian Politics - fun with Indian dialogs
In this game of Indian politics, take control of India’s destiny, and be the King-Maker!

Make the government of your choice by “netting” 273 or more  MPs for your party. The opposition is ready to lapko any MPs that you miss.

Your job is simple – throw nets and pakdo as many MPs as you can and bring them into your party, because a strong government is desh-hit ki sarkar.

In this game of political dhar-pakad, blast away gangs of Jaal-Chors, win the influential Taujis over, amass wealth, get super net-spells and feel power ka nasha…and while you are busy doing all this political hera-pheri, snack away on chai, samosa, and laddoo. Enjoy it all in Indian hawa-pani with desi jubani.

MPs ki Loot has a simple but catchy gameplay peppered with sound-effects and dialogs that are truly desi. As you net your netas so that they join your party, you live and feel India.

Please tap here and download the game to enjoy it this election season.

MPs ki Loot - Net the Netas - an Innoken Game on Desi Indian Politics - fun with Indian dialogs

—MPs ki Loot – Net the Netas—

.
Folks, I implore you to visit the game link and download the game. If you enjoy it, do leave a review/rating on the game’s page.
Thanks,
Shafali

Edvard Munch and The Attraction of Doom.

Edvard Munch‘s works have begun to mesmerize me. I can’t imagine how a man could exist in such darkness all his life. I’ve experienced darkness – at least twice in my life, and yet during these cold dark-spells, I’ve found some warmth from random flames flickering and glowing in my heart. Through these spells my loneliness had been complete like Munch’s, but for me these spells had a finite beginning and a finite end. Munch’s loneliness resulting from his early losses of his mom and sister, the demons of his father’s illness, the apparition that influenced him through his life – Hans Jæger, and his ferocious need to spill his anguish upon the canvas – they have come together to produce such nerve-jangling works of art that the viewer cannot help but feel the anxiety seep out of the paintings into your mind and soul.

I find myself wishing for the violence of Munch’s brush, the vein that fed the colors of his fevered imagination into his paintings – I know that for me, the pain will dull and eventually pass; I also know that I don’t exist in complete darkness like he did, and that for me this is temporal even temporary – I realize that I cannot stop seeing beauty and love and ambition and success in sudden flashes – these flashes pick me up and ready me for another go at life – unlike Munch.

Perhaps this is why Munch captures my imagination so completely. Despite his dark colors, the opposites of mine; I look at his works and wonder about the man and the artist. The artist, I understand. The need to express what he felt, that I understand. But the man – I don’t. And then I also ask myself the question whether I want to.

“From my rotting body,
flowers shall grow
and I am in them
and that is eternity.”
-Edvard Munch

The Picture of Oscar Wilde – Caricature, Portrait, Reflection?

A few hours ago I finished reading “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” the second time. When I had read it the first time, I was too young to understand the complexities the lie under the surface of the story.

In the preface of the book, Oscar Wilde says:

The nineteenth century dislike of realism is the rage of Caliban seeing his own face in a glass. The nineteenth century dislike of romanticism is the rage of Caliban not seeing his own face in a glass.

Reading “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” after having read about Oscar Wilde’s own life, made me reflect on the character of Dorian Gray representing Oscar Wilde’s lover Lord Alfred Douglas in form and personality, but in his need to experiment and “feel” life, he appears closer to Oscar Wilde himself.

Despite my current pre-occupation with a deeper and more profound expression of art, I found myself caricaturing Oscar Wilde as a reflection of himself. I think that “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” lies on the cusp between realism and romanticism – and presents Wilde’s internal conflict not only about his sexual identity (for which he was arrested) but also about his leanings toward aestheticism.

Thus, I see Oscar Wilde as Dorian Gray, the Caliban who doesn’t want to see realism (his own aging portrait,) and who is tired of romanticism (the ideal forever young face that he has – because he knows that it’s unreal and not his own.)

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I present to you the picture and reflection of Oscar Wilde in the half-truth of Dorian Gray.

Caricature Portrait Reflection Picture of Oscar Wilde Dorian Gray Alfred Douglas and Caliban.

No Artist is Ever Morbid.

In the preface of “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” Oscar Wilde says,

No artist is ever morbid. The artist can express everything.

I’ve been drawing for decades. My earliest memories of drawing are from Kashmir. I was five. We lived in Ramban on the bank of river Chenab. In mornings, my mother would give me a bath, comb my hair, hand me a slate and sit me out in the porch so that I could get some sun. I could see the violently white waters of Chenab beating against the rocks that glistened as they reflected the morning light behind the green front yard that stretched between me and the river. I’m sure if the house was any closer to Chenab than it was, my mother wouldn’t leave me on the porch alone.

I would sit on the steps, wait for my Mom to bring me my breakfast (a fried egg and a glass of milk,) and draw. I wasn’t supposed to draw though. I was supposed to “write,” but I drew everything. The alphabet, the numbers, the steps, the flower, even the egg. (My mom used to tell me that when she asked me what it was, I told her that it was an “O” inside another “O.”)

So that’s where my artistic journey began – in a land that’s today torn by politics, terrorism, and separatism. The land that in my hazy memories is still the most beautiful place that I’ve ever lived in.

But I began this post with an Oscar Wilde quote, and I shouldn’t stray too far from what I intended saying.

I’ve been painting. Not caricatures, nor portraits – but I’ve been painting my consciousness. I don’t classify my art, mostly because I can’t. How do you classify a vision, a half-dream, a sub-conscious feeling so strong that it takes me by my spine and shakes me up…?

I don’t know if an artist can express everything – but as an artist, I attempt to capture those fleeting moments that scream with emotions. The violence of these moments, like the violence of Chenab, froths white and blue and red – and to express it, I need not just lines but colors – and so I sketch fast…the madness of those first sketches is so complete that the painting competes with the sketches to express it all… if it does it at all.

The galleries have long waitlists and it would be at least an year before my paintings are exhibited – until them, I remain their captive creator… until then, I also remain your absentee blogger, whose mind and heart never see eye to eye – but then whose does?

 

Gaga’s Oscar makes me Travel back in Time.

Lady Gaga won an Oscar for “Shallow” from “A Star is Born,” a romantic music-drama. As a visual person, I react more to what I see than to what I hear, and so…

You can read the original Gaga Post here.

A cartoon caricature drawing of Lady Gaga with her weird hairstyle bad romance?

Lady Gaga and the Spider Colony!

The Little Owl Roosts on the Caricaturist’s Blog.

A sketch in my diary that owes its existence to a photograph by ToutParMoi. Why this particular owl visited this particular writer, is something that confuses me. She’s a cat lady and I am sure the cats don’t let the mice play – so if there aren’t any mice around, what brought this owl to her house? Imminent good luck, I suppose, because sighting an owl is supposed to bring luck.

Owl - beautiful birds - the wise birds - pen and ink - ball point pen sketch.

About Owls:
I love owls. I have a feeling they don’t give a damn. Look at them. Does it look like they care whether or not a caricaturist thinks that they are absolutely stunning?

Owl Symbolism:
Mythologically, Owl relates to femininity and wisdom. In Greek mythology, it appears as the companion of Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom; in Roman, as the companion of Minerva. In Hindu mythology, it appears as Laxmi’s vehicle, thus, becoming the harbinger of wealth and luck.

Do visit the enchanting blog and medieval world of Denise Keay’s erudite cats.

Caricature-Cartoon – Donald Trump, US-Mexico Wall, and Nancy Pelosi.

Presenting the caricature/cartoon of President Donald Trump, the Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, and the said wall.

Caricature Cartoon of Donald Trump with the Wall - Nancy Pelosi confused watches the wall being made.

Trump’s Wall

Never has a wall generated so much interest and speculation before, except perhaps the Berlin Wall – but the hullabaloo around the Berlin Wall was about bringing the wall down while in this case, it’s about raising it.

But this post isn’t about Trump’s wall. It’s about Donald Trump, who is perhaps the most spoofed President ever. He’s also the most adamant, most mis-political (for want of a better word,) most impulsive, most irksome President too.

Trump’s Hurdles

He wanted a wall between Mexico and the United States, and he was clear on it from the very beginning. I remember the debates, and I remember that he always wanted the wall. Then the election results came out and he won. it was obvious that he’d want to build the wall. Unfortunately for him, the wall wasn’t going to be handed to him on a platter. The United States, is now a beast different from the one that it was when Trump was growing up.

According to this Wikipedia page – “As of July 2016, Mexican Americans made up 11.2% of the United States’ population, as 36.3 million U.S. residents identified as being of full or partial Mexican ancestry.”

Add to these those who are married to/are friends with Mexican Americans, and you have a huge bunch of non-Mexican Americans who can be called sympathizers. If Trump thought that he could nail the immigration problem shut by getting the Congress to nod like a trained pup – he was in for a surprise.

Trump’s Game

And yet, Trump being Trump, wouldn’t accept their disapproval as sheepishly as they’d like him to – and so the government rationing and now the National Emergency. He has played an open hand. While Nancy Pelosi and team were extrapolating the behavior of the past Presidents and expecting Trump to back off when they waved $1.4B under his nose – he went ahead and declared a National Emergency that would allow him to mobilize military funds to construct the wall.

Trump’s Logic

Now the game is on. Sixteen states have filed a lawsuit against Trump. Pelosi says that there won’t be a wall. Trump says, there will be a wall. The country stands divided. I can’t imagine why there shouldn’t be a wall. I understand why the Mexicans, American-Mexicans, American-Mexican-Pros won’t want a wall; but I can’t understand why the government wouldn’t want to protect its borders? I understand sympathy and empathy, but then there are hundreds and thousands of others who “need” to be in the US, more than the illegal Mexicans.

So Why?

I read the stories of battered wives and mothers who want their children to have better lives – but they don’t exist only in Mexico – they exist elsewhere too. And so do walls. The concept behind countries having borders is quite the same as that of having walls around our houses. Guests and family members and even those who we feel charitable toward – they all enter through the gate. It good to be magnanimous and philanthropic but would you feel similarly for someone who breaks into your house? The law applies to our actions, not to our intentions and reasons. But then each country has to figure out what they want to do (or not) on their own, and quite like families each country too must go through the cycle of wealth and poverty – khattu, nikhattu, udharichand, bechumal. The US is now experiencing the udharichand (borrowing against its assets) phase, if you please, and doing paropkar (philanthropy) on udhari (borrowings) isn’t a sign of wisdom.

Cartoon-Caricature: The Political Hunter

Check out the smirk on his face.

Caricature Cartoon of the Hunter - done for Talk Business and Politics Magazine

Loved drawing and painting this guy. I was archiving some old paintings that i had done for magazines in the past, and came across him.

Isn’t he awesome?

Question: Can you tell what (or who) is he hunting? (This was a two-page spread, and this guy is on the left page.)

Hello 2019!

With 2018 having turned out the way it did, “Hello 2019” appears to be a pretty optimistic greeting, so if your brows are arching up in inquiry, do desist 🙂

Anyway, the long and short of 2018 was that I ended up with a few interesting commissions and managed to submit one of my science-fiction novellas to a humongous slush-pile that has only reduced to half its original size in the last six months. This obviously means that 2019 begins with piles of undone stuff and miles that must be run before I can catch up.

Like any logical and organized mind, when faced with such challenges, my mind too powers up and starts sorting, sequencing, prioritizing, and scheduling tasks, and this blog appears in block-capitals on my to-do list. This year, on the caricaturing/cartooning front, I hope to accomplish the following two things.

  1. Make at least one post a week.
  2. Complete the cartooning book and self-publish on Amazon.

I need to do some fiction writing (a science-fiction novella awaits completion, a fantasy novella awaits its transformation into a novel…and so on,) and come up with a couple of important training programs. This should keep me occupied during 2019, and if I can accomplish it all, mark me down as a true ocean-dweller from Atlantis.

Oh, and Atlantis…reminds me of Aquaman, a movie I watched recently. I loved the imagery, the visualization, the rendering of the water-effects, the forever young Nicole Kidman with her cute little nose that refuses to get any bigger with age…

 

Caricature of Hollywood Celebrity Nicole Kidman, her nose, and two critical bloodhounds.

Looks aren’t everything…especially with the Bloodhounds!

I loved everything about it, except its flat storyline and flatter hero – whose name I can’t remember (but with Google’s help I did. He is Jason Momoa.) I know he played the role of Khal Drogo in the Game of Thrones series, but that is all that I remember of him. He fits the desert, he’d probably fit the swamps, but not the clean blue-green waters of Atlantis.

No.

Rethinking, reflecting…

Still no.

But yes, Game of Thrones reminds me of another gentleman, who I once sketched because he is one of the most interesting characters in the series –Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister. (IMHO.)

Caricature, Cartoon, Pencil Portrait of Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) - Game of Thrones

Knowledge and Cunning are my most lethal weapons!

An Era Ends with Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, ex-Prime Minister of India, Padma Vibhushan and Bharat Ratna awardee, and a statesman par-excellence, one who was regarded across party-lines, is no more.

Portrait of Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee - Ex-Prime Minister of India.

Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee – Ex Prime Minister of India (1924-2018)

I write this post with a heavy heart, because with I’ve always been an admirer of Shri Vajpayee, the same as my parents and my husband.

I created this portrait of Mr. Vajpayee in 1998 – twenty years ago, and since then it has always graced the wall of either my living room or my office. It’s a reminder that a poet, an intellectual, and a man with integrity can be a respected statesman and rise to become the Prime Minister of India.

Today, we haven’t just lost a great man, we’ve also lost a symbol of clean politics, a confluence of art, intellect, and statesmanship, and possibly the last of Indian political giants.

May his soul rest in peace.

Portrait of Rahul Gandhi 2.0, Indian Politics, and 2019 Elections.

Rahul Gandhi, the rather Caucasian-looking scion of India’s first political family – so Caucasian-looking that my American friend often thinks that he’s blond; is that young Indian politician who has recently begun to bloom. He’s about fifty and dynamic in spurts, and possibly the most eligible bachelor in India.

I did his portrait a few months ago – a sketch that I scanned into the computer and then I sketched upon it some more, mostly to add color. This is done from one of his official portraits. I like it for its subtle, innocent smile. If he were a woman, I’d call it a Monalisa smile – a smile that hides more than it reveals, and which stretches upon a pain that cannot be understood by others.

I’m sure that most of my blog-visitors must be wondering who this guy is and why the caricaturist is so gung-ho about his visit to her blog. So keeping in line with the longstanding tradition of this blog, I’d like to present Rahul Gandhi’s shortest biography on the web.

portrait-rahul-gandhi-indian-congress-president-sketch

Rahul Gandhi’s Extremely Brief Biography:

Rahul was born on June 19th 1970. His political lineage is studded with three important stars of India’s political firmament. His  father Mr. Rajeev Gandhi,  his grandmother Mrs. Indira Gandhi, and his maternal great-grandfather, were all Prime Ministers of India in their time. However, his grandmother and his father were both assassinated – his grandmother when he was fourteen and father when he was twenty-one. Rahul studied in St. Columba’s, the Doon School, then joined St. Stephen’s but moved to Harvard, then to Rollins College (known to have the most beautiful college campus in the US) in Florida, finally finishing at Cambridge.

As it happens often on this blog, one thing led to another, and today Rahul Gandhi is the President of the Indian National Congress. INC is the largest and the only national political party that’s currently in opposition, thanks to its dismal performance in the previous elections. Today it faces the mighty BJP headed by Narendra Modi, whose humble roots, desi appeal, and charismatic rhetoric had brought the BJP into power.

Rahul 2.0

A weak opposition is possibly what cripples a democracy the most. Unfortunately, for reasons best known to the Gandhi family, in past, Rahul has always appeared to be a chance-politician. But since the recent Gujarat elections in which INC and BJP ran almost neck and neck, things seem to be changing.

Recently, we’ve been seeing a new avatar of Rahul. A Rahul who is more confident, who’s done his homework, who speaks Hindi more fluently, who doesn’t roll up his sleeve every two minutes, and who “bhayya-fies” his audience less often. He’s begun to assert himself as a Hindu Brahmin (not that most of us care…or believe,) and the media too is softening toward him.

I wish him luck in the 2019 elections.

Michelangelo’s Bacchus and the 4 Types of Artists.

It’s odd how we often we look at things without seeing them, quite like I’ve looked at Bacchus and David and the Creation of Adam that’s painted upon the ceiling of Sistine chapel. We look at them and move on to the next creation by the artist…and then the next.

But among all the creations of Michelangelo, Bacchus left me moved.

This sculpture of the Roman god of wine and festivities is possibly the only one that does justice to him and his fine duties along with the Satyr that nibbles at the bunch of grapes that hang at the god’s side, and yet, it’s the sculpture for which Michelangelo wasn’t paid.

Why?

  • Because Bacchus looked drunk and slightly out of control.
  • Because Michelangelo had gone beyond what was required of him.
  • Because in his depiction of Bacchus Michelangelo had broken the moral boundaries of his time.

But mostly because with Bacchus, Michelangelo had stretched limits of the ability expected from an artist at the time. He had given his figures an exalted form. That, or his lack of training in painting led him to paint somewhat elongated figures on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, and the artists that came after him thought that elongation of bodies might be secret to his his success. Whatever the reason might have been, Michelangelo inadvertently started the Mannerist school of art, which El Greco took to perfection.

The wikipedia entry on Bacchus tells us…

“Commissioned by Raffaele Riario, a high-ranking Cardinal and collector of antique sculpture, it was rejected by him and was bought instead by Jacopo Galli, Riario’s banker and a friend to Michelangelo.”

I am not surprised that the gentleman who commissioned the sculpture decided not to put it in his courtyard. We don’t know whether it was because the god appeared drunken or because he wasn’t clothed. I’d say it must’ve been a bit of both. We know that after Michelangelo had finished “The Last Judgment” his work was denigrated by Cesna (the Papal Master of Ceremonies) and at a later date  another artist Volterra was commissioned to cover the nakedness that disgraced the chapel. Volterra might not have envisioned how this particular commission would earn him a place in history, and a rather cute nickname that translates to knickers-maker.

Raffaele Riario who was a cardinal himself would obviously be averse to decorating his courtyard with a sculpture of a butt-naked god who looked, “drunken, brutal, and narrow-minded, and has an expression of dissoluteness the most revolting,” according to P.B. Shelley.

And yet, I believe that Bacchus is a master-piece – for it’s a manifestation of Michelangelo’s courage and imagination. Perhaps the first sculpture of its kind – the first to cast a god in the mold of a man both in body and spirit, and yet, it was rejected by the man who commissioned it. In the sixteenth century, an artist was more an illustrator of an idea who worked for a price and delivered per the requirement of the client. The artistic license that Michelangelo took with Bacchus must’ve caused him considerable inconvenience too.

It’s said that history has lessons for us.

One of the lessons to be learned here is that artists must sometimes rein-in their imagination, especially if they want to eat well. They must decide what kind of artist they want to be – Starving, Dying, Dead, or Rich.

The 4 Types of Artists - A Verbal Caricature eBook by Shafali the Caricaturist

Click to download in a format of your choice.

 

 

My three renderings of Morgan Freeman – A Caricature, a Quick Digital Painting, and a Pen Portrait.

Artists thrive on the emotions that swing from one extreme to another – and more often than not find themselves holding the short end of the stick. I can’t say for sure if that was the case with Morgan Freeman, when he got embroiled in the #Metoo controversy, but there’s a distinct possibility that he allowed the actor in him to get the better of him.

Honestly, I’m a fan of Morgan Freeman. I love his expressive face, his deep bass voice, and most of all, his ability to remain himself while becoming his character. I don’t know how he does it all.

Anyway, to cut a long story short…

Let me share the three drawings/paintings of Freeman I did.

As the caricature of Alex Cross (2009)

Morgan Freeman as Detective Alex Cross of James Patterson Novels doesn't see the dueling mosquitoes.

Will he spot them?

 

As a quick less-than-an-hour painting by a distraught artist

Quick Portrait of Morgan Freeman - Hollywood-Actor

Morgan Freeman – 8″x11″

As a more detailed pen and ink drawing done from a photograph

Portrait Morgan Freeman Hollywood actor accused #metoo

As you can see, the first drawing is a caricature that exaggerates his nose, which is his most characteristic feature, and it also plays with the deviations. (For a detailed study of how you can make caricatures, please check out “Evolution of a Caricaturist – How to Make Caricatures.”)

The second artwork is painted digitally and my focus was on capturing the lights and the shadows. My aim was to paint it within an hour, and so I began with laying blobs of digital paint to define the form and then just painted in the main features.

The third drawing was done more meticulously. First, I made a pen sketch. Then I scanned it and did the light color sketching in Photoshop.

For the philosophically inclined, I wrote a post yesterday 🙂 Morgan Freeman – In the Eye of the #MeToo storm.

I also want to thank everyone who responded to my previous post despite my inordinately long absence from the virtual world. You guys are swell. THANK YOU!

Portrait – Morgan Freeman – In the Eye of the #MeToo Storm.

Morgan Freeman has finally gotten on the infamous #metoo list. 

A few months ago, I did a portrait of Morgan Freeman from a photograph. This is the one. It’s a pen-sketch with some more sketching in Photoshop.

Portrait Morgan Freeman Hollywood actor accused #metoo

About the recent #metoo controversy…

One Ms. Melas, a CNN reporter, had set the ball rolling. She felt uncomfortable while interviewing Mr. Freeman because he looked her up and down several times and repeatedly said something to the effect of “I wish I were there,” a story that wasn’t corroborated by rest of the crew as they said only one of those comments was recorded.

Morgan Freeman has apologized and said that he never “assaulted” a woman, and that he’s sorry if he made women feel uncomfortable around him.

Now, men making women “uncomfortable” by looking up and down is something that’s debatable, mostly because a reasonably attractive woman just needs to step out of the house and she’s looked “up and down,” and I know from my experience of living in hostels that many women who don’t get looked become very depressed. They attempt all sorts of harmful-to-health effects to get men to look them up and down – including wearing hourglass waist-lined dresses that pinch their midriffs and walking provocatively but dangerously on stilettos.

And this bit about sizing-up isn’t restricted to men. When a male eye candy passes by, women look them “up and down” though less overtly, sometimes from behind their goggles but often not, and a few even drool open-mouthed.

This visual attention is often is appreciation of the human form generally peppered with some fleeting sexual interest that disappears as soon as the object of attention moves out of their visual field.

The human form naked as well as clothed has been the subject of artistic inquiry through centuries. Artists have used both male and female forms with gusto through the last thousand years, and while female artists of the Renaissance period stayed with portraying only the fully clothed female form, the male artists had a field day painting their models au-naturel. Men have traditionally been more brazen (for want of a more appropriate word) in their approach to the human body.

Now when does this supposed “appreciation of the human form” become the subject of #metoo?

When it leaves the woman uncomfortable. I understand that it happens when the man is usually a dodderer and the woman much younger. When a handsome young man (say, Channing Tatum or even Ashton Kutcher) sizes a woman up, it’s admiration but when an eighty-two-year-old Morgan Freeman does it, it leaves women uncomfortable.

Unfortunately habits once formed are difficult to break, and I guess that’s why we find so many old men drooling helplessly – quite like a penniless child who looks through the glass window of a bakery.

The fact that mature women too experience desire upon witnessing the toned muscles and bronzed bodies of men is overlooked mostly because women don’t gape at them open-mouthed nor move their heads sideways to follow their subject of interest like a puppy watches a piece of chicken. This is so because they have spent their youth being the “observed” and not the “observer.”

In my opinion, Morgan Freeman’s fall into the #metoo cauldron was initiated because with his advancing age he didn’t transform into a universal dad or a universal grand-dad (he was even rumored to have an affair with E’Dena Hines, his grand-daughter from his first wife who isn’t a blood relative but about 45 years his junior.)  His long-formed habit of “appreciating” the female form and such rumors possibly led to his #metoo-ing. Ms. Melas’ journalistic sense would have definitely reasoned that with her personal experience with him and his rumored interest in younger women would lead her to more such women who’d like to share their stories with her.

All this contrasts with what I understand of molestation. In my opinion, molestation happens when a man touches a woman inappropriately without consent. Period.

If looking at a woman’s form or making a slightly off-color remark in her presence would result in being #metoo-ed, I think men would have to tip-toe around women, always careful of what they spoke, how they behaved – and that, I believe would render this world quite colorless.

I think Morgan Freeman didn’t molest those women and if he did make them feel uncomfortable, he didn’t do it on purpose. It’s time to accept his apology and move on. Molestation is a serious offense and l don’t think Morgan Freeman deserves to be on that #metoo list. Let us not trivialize the pain of molestation by bringing every little look and comment within its purview.

Note: This is a hobby-sketch done from a photograph that I admired for its lighting. Since this is a proportionate reproduction of the photograph, please don’t enquire for licensing the image. It’s not for sale/licensing.

Caricature-Cartoon: Mark Zuckerberg pumps Facebook Users’ Data – Is this News?

Cartoon Caricature of Mark Zuckerberg on Data sharing with third parties - Cambridge Analytica

“Mark Zuckerberg Pumps FB Data” – Published in The Suit magazine (now known as Advisors Magazine.)

The Facebook Data scandal is hot these days with FB CEO Mark Zuckerberg being subjected to some intense questioning.

In 2014, an app called “This is Your Digital Life” harvested information from about 87 Million accounts (about 270K downloaders and their friends.) This information gleaned by this app comprised not only birthdays/pages liked etc. but also private messages. Obviously, Facebook users were livid when they learned that their information was being transferred/traded with this company, and so many began to close their FB accounts. (I still have an FB account and FB tell me that it’s safe.)

The data analytics company “Cambridge Analytica” used this information to “manage” elections in different countries, including the US and India.

The above caricature was published in the then Suit Magazine, which is now Advisor’s Magazine. You can view this and more on my portfolio blog.

I had done this caricature of Mark Zuckerberg in 2012, and so the world was already wary of data-sharing by FB (mostly to make money, but sometimes to please the agencies.) Now with the CA Scandal out in the open, its clear that FB not only harvests and stores information of its users, but also allows third party apps to soak it up. All that it tells us that FB is devilishly and unethically smart (what did we expect from a platform that had its genesis in a program that allowed guys to rate girls,) and we, the users, naive and foolish.

Enjoy the cartoon.

Mathematical, Fractal, Spiritual Art… or Some Awesome Abstract Beauty?

Folks, I’ve been away doing crazy non-caricature stuff, but that’s not a valid excuse for neglecting my blog. The fact that the non-caricature stuff had been emotionally and physically draining, and it left me with no energy to do things that I love (read: drawing and painting and blogging,) could probably cut some ice.

What? 

It doesn’t?

You are still hopping mad?!

Ok…ok. Let me share with you something out-worldly – Ranjeet Anand’s Poetry with Pixels  also check out PoetrywithPixels on Instagram.

Here are a couple of artworks from this tantalizing, even mesmerizing, page.

Psychedelic Spiritual Mathematical Fractal Generative Art by Ranjeet Anand - Poetry with Pixels - Space Arbora

Title: Space Arbora, Artist: Ranjeet Anand

 

Psychedelic Spiritual Mathematical Fractal Generative Art by Ranjeet Anand - Poetry with Pixels -Perpetual Pixels- The Chthonic Eye

Title: “The Chthonic Eye”
Artist: Ranjeet Anand

I’ve got a strong premonition that after you visit this art gallery, you’ll forgive my blogging lapses. I promise to soon return with some of my own artworks.

Caricature Portrait – Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

A couple of days ago, I sketched this caricature portrait of Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House Press Secretary to President Donald Trump.

Caricature Portrait - Sarah Huckabee Sanders - Daughter of Mike Huckabee - Press Secretary White House for President Donald Trump

This is a quick ballpoint pen sketch (I was driven to tint it a bit after scanning,) which happened between two bouts of writing madness.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders is the daughter of Mike Huckabee, who had also run for President in the last elections. I had done a full-page illustration of Hillary Clinton and Mike Huckabee for the Talk Business & Politics magazine (one that I like a lot,) and you can view it here 🙂

Padmavati or Queen Padmini of Chittor.

The controversy that’s been raging in India for a whole month lit a fire under me and made me find this portrait of Queen Padmini or Padmavati from my archives.

The lore tells us of a beautiful Srilankan princess who crossed the Indian ocean to be with her husband and beloved Ratansen, the king of Chittor.

Recently, a Bollywood period-drama based on the life of Queen Padmavati found itself in choppy waters, presumably for tinkering with history. The movie, say those who claim that their sentiments were hurt, shows the queen dancing. A queen who tread such high moral ground that she not just immolated herself but led all other women of Chittor into the funeral pyre to ensure they died with their dignity intact, couldn’t stoop so low as to dance. They are also of the opinion that the movie shows some romantic moments between that creepy invader Khilji and Queen Padmavati, which the producers say, actually show Khilji fantasizing about the queen.

There are too many moot points.

  • Whether or not there was actually a queen called Padmini who was actually a Sinhalese princess the tales of whose beauty had driven Ratansen to cross the ocean and go to Sri Lanka to marry her and bring her back?
  • Who is right? The movie-makers or the movie-attackers?
  • Why we still hear of nose-chopping and head-lopping as the right way to set matters of honor straight?
  • How the freedom of artistic expression be curbed “slowly?”

I’m sure the list is longer than my tired brain can produce.

Queen Padmini Padmavati portrait of her reflection in mirror - Alauddin Khilji's attack on Chittor.

A Portrait from the Mists of Time – Queen Padmini of Chittor (Size: 18″ x 22″, Medium: Graphite Relief Work, Copyright 2004, All Rights Reserved.

Actually, upon reading the stories, I do believe that they are more fantastical than historical. (A question that keeps perplexing me is what happened to the children of the women who immolated themselves? There’s no mention of children anywhere. In the days of the yore, I’m sure that in the absence of any birth-control measures, children were aplenty.  Silly question, I know. Yet, I’d like to know how they were whisked away from a fort that lay under siege for so long that people had begun to starve.)

Anyway, the long and short of the Padmavati story is that eventually the dust would settle. The movie-makers will find a way not only to salvage their 300 Cr. investment but also to make it bear fruit. It’s only a matter of time.

In the meantime, lose yourself in the lore of Padmini.

Short Story – The Goldfish Princess (Illustrated with an Oil Painting on Canvas)

The Goldfish Princess

She turned her side and the heat of her body rushed to embrace the cold surface of the bed. This was why she had been postponing the moment until her muscles had begun to cramp. The cold, she thought, would one day freeze the blood flowing in her veins, and when that happened, her frozen blood would expand to first crack and then blast open her veins, quite like the water that upon turning into ice, cracked the pipes.

With sleep having fled from her eyes, she lay on her left side, letting her warmth seep out of her body and warm the cold sheet under her. She could have remained in the sunny climes of her homeland, but then she would have been sleeping on the pavement and begging on the streets. Here she was a princess.

Oil painting on canvas - Princess with gold tail - caricature and portrait art in india by portrait artist shafali

The Goldfish Princess – Oil on Canvas, Size: 13.5″x17.5″

Almost a princess.

The faces around her, all white, all different from hers, closed upon her from all sides, like a wall. They smiled and they talked. They talked in a foreign tongue that she couldn’t yet understand completely. They were kind to her, and they gave her a bed to sleep in.

Back home, Mother would be thinking that her daughter was a princess too, and so would all the uncles and aunts and neighbors who lived in the dirty threadbare tents that they had hitched upon the pavements. Back home, back at the pavement, they thought of her as a princess with a tiara upon her head.

Perhaps they were right. She had a roof upon her head. A roof that the wind couldn’t blow away. She had clean clothes on her back, so what if she had only two changes. One to wash while she wore the other. And she slept in a bed. She had a trunk to keep her things in, and a hopper window that she could open to let sunlight in when the sun was almost about to set on the western horizon, except that she was usually busy in the kitchen at that time of the day.

Upstairs, the kind man and woman, and their children, they slept in heated rooms, and they went out, everyday. The children played out in the sun, the woman wore new dresses everyday. They listened to music, they watched television, they played, and talked, and shopped, and did everything that she wanted to do along.

As she fell asleep again thinking of the pavement and the tiara, she wondered how long would it be before the four a.m. alarm went off. The woman, her mistress, was not cruel until the girl caused her grief, and her mistress liked to see the house sparkling clean when she woke up at seven.

And the goldfish had to be fed too.

Kindred souls.