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.

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The Kingfisher – About Rain, Dew, Tears, and Fish.

As a student of Management, I had learned about TOMA or Top of the Mind Awareness. If we remove the chaff of the jargon, what it means is that some brands grow so big, that when a customer thinks of an industry, that particular brand comes to his mind first. For instance, if I think of sport-shoes, I think of Nike, if I think of watches, I think Titan, and so on. TOMA is the final stage of creating brand-awareness – the first two being brand-recognition and brand-recall.

This is precisely the case with this kingfisher who often sits on the electricity wire that kills the view from my window. I sometimes wonder how various animals and birds make such connections. Either evolution hardwired these connections in them or they got conditioned to make these connections, but whenever I look at the kingfisher, I feel that he’s connecting the dots.

Bird kingfisher painting - wildlife, pets, and bird paintings by shafali

A single-minded, focused individual is like this kingfisher here. An artist or a writer is however the stark opposite of this kingfisher. For these ilk of people, a raindrop is pregnant with a hundred possibilities; a dewdrop with a thousand. The creatives need the kingfisher to continue creating; the kingfishers need the creatives to make their lives worthwhile.

Blogging, Events, and 5 Easy Ways of Staying in Touch :)

My blogging life has two distinct phases. The Pre-blogging101 phase and the Post-blogging101 phase. The post-blogging101 phase has helped me make new friends, brought new followers for my blog, made me follow new blogs, correct the numerous error of my blogging-ways, helped me discover new blogging events, and given me a reason to organize the Creativity Carnival. That’s a huge takeaway for a 21-day mostly informal course. There’s no denying that it was a challenge to stay on course, and yet many of us managed to finish the race.

But there still is a challenge that looms large. It’s a bigger challenge than finishing the course. For the course was finite and had a definite end in sight. The other challenge is to continue blogging – and blogging, as we learned, isn’t about making posts – it’s about connecting too.

So how do we stay connected in the Post-Blogging101 world?

Here are:

5 Easy Ways to for Bloggers to Stay in Touch!

1. Use tags Smartly:

Before Blogging101, I was tag-ignorant. I’d use tags and I’d gun for quantity instead of quality. Now I know that for the WordPress Audience, following rules will yield best (better?) results:

  • Make sure that the sum of the number of categories and the number of posts never exceeds 15.
  • Use specific yet generic keywords. So if you want WordPress bloggers to arrive at your blog, “drawing” is a better keyword than “pen and ink portrait art.”
  • Use specific keywords as a group. For instance, if you want to connect with bloggers who took the Blogging101 course in July, use the keyword “blogging101july2015.” If all or many of the group members use this tag with their posts, and they also follow this tag in their Reader, there’s a good chance that they’ll all stay connected.

2. Use Reader Effectively:

Reader allows you to do the following:

  • Read posts from the blogs you follow – all in one place, in the chronological order of their posting.
  • Follow tags of your choice – You can add them (even remove the ones you don’t want anymore) and when you click one of those tags, the Reader will show you  Wordpress posts that’ve used that tag. Some of these could be specific tags that your group has decided to follow, others could be generic ones (such as, “drawing”, “writing” etc.) The generic tags will help you connect with new bloggers with similar interests.

3. Connect on other Social Media:

If you are an avid tweeter, you may want to follow your favorite bloggers on Twitter. If you are on FB perhaps you may want to connect on Facebook. Fellow blogger Carol Moulin has started Cafe Blog here. It’s a closed group, so when you send a request, Carol will have to approve it for you to become a member. I just joined, and I think it’s a great place to find new blogger-friends – read their posts, and invite them to read yours.

4. Participate in Blogging Events.

All of us know about Daily Post and the two main challenges that are hosted there – The Weekly Photo Challenge and the Daily Prompt. The idea is to choose a couple of blogging events and start participating…of course, based on the nature of your blog. Then there is listing of various blogging events, where you can also see our very own Creativity Carnival too (though it’s listed under Photography and Visual Arts – where it doesn’t really belong …)

If you want to explore the Creativity Carnival you can just click the following image.

Creativity Carnival - Blogging event for WordPress bloggers.

Wondering how events help you connect?
Many bloggers participate in an event and when they do, ping backs are registered on the event-page. Participating bloggers are generally interested in finding out what others posted on a particular prompt or topic. This helps us build connections.

My personal opinion is to stay with one, two, or maximum three events of your choice for a while. It will nurture the connections you build, and will help fortify the expectations of your visitors.

5. Connect through email:

I am sure that in the course you’ve met a few people with whom you’ve really felt comfortable talking. Perhaps you’d like to email them. Remember that email is more personal than a comment – so if you don’t receive a reply, don’t feel bad. Perhaps the other party isn’t interested in a personal connection. Leave it there, don’t sulk, don’t unfollow, and please don’t ask why. Friendship is a two-way street.

If you can think of any other ways…let us know your thoughts in the comments 🙂

The King’s Chamber (A Short Story) – Weekly Challenge: Literary Lion. King.

Egyptian Eye - Artwork for short story "The King's Chamber" by shafali.

Intef turned to change his side and felt sweat trickle down his back.  The heat roused him from his slumber. The first thing he noticed was the darkness. His chamber was never completely dark. He touched his bed. The sheets were of silk and the pillow was made of dove-feathers.
This wasn’t his bed.
Then he remembered. He was now King. He was the Pharaoh of Egypt, and he was sleeping in the King’s chamber. His father Pharaoh Akhnaten was no more. He had died thirty days ago, and the period of mourning had ended just yesterday when his embalmed body was finally taken to his pyramid for burial.
For some odd reason, his memories were choppy. It must be the heat, he thought, and swung his legs down the bed. His leather slippers were right where he had expected to find them.
Intef slipped his feet into the slippers and called the servants. His temper was now rising.
Where were they? And why were the curtains drawn close?
He tried recalling the layout of the King’s bed-chamber. It wasn’t easy, because he had never slept in there, never before last night.
“Where were those lamp-sconces?” he murmured, trying to focus on what he remembered of the Pharaoh’s chamber.
The pictures began forming. He saw himself in the royal chamber a week before his father’s death. Sekah-seshat, his sister was there too. The sky had already darkened outside but the Pharaoh’s chamber was lit bright with a dozen sconces, each of them holding a dozen oil-lamps. Two of these wall-sconces were right near the headboard of the Pharaoh’s bed.
Intef turned left. Moving against the edge of the bed, his outstretched hand touched the wall. He moved his hand up along the wall. There it was. Now he needed a flint-lighter.
Where could he find one?
He tried focusing on his memories again. Perhaps they would help him locate the lighter. In his imagination, the Pharaoh’s chamber lit up again. Sekah was asking the Pharaoh her father, for a boon. She didn’t want to marry Intef, her brother – as she was destined to. Sekah was her father’s favorite, and when the Pharaoh had smiled at her, Intef’s heart had sunk. He knew that Sekah was in love with Khamose, their cousin, and Pharaoh’s smile had confirmed that she now had his blessings for her marriage with him. His sister always got her way with their father.
Intef shook his head. Those memories won’t help him. Right now, he must focus on finding the lighter.
Where in the name of Osiris were the servants? He bellowed again. There was no answer. Something isn’t right, he thought as his voice echoed through the place.
He ran his fingers around the edge of the sconce once again, and his fingers hit something. The lighter. A wave of relief washed over him. He hated the darkness. It had been dark when he had stolen into this very chamber that night and poisoned the jug of water that stood on his father’s bedside table. The explosive mix of anger, jealousy, hatred, and fear had driven him to kill his father, the King, the Pharaoh of Egypt.
He released the clasp of the flint lighter and put it to the wick of a lamp. An unearthly yellow glow filled the chamber. Intef heaved a sigh of relief, and set about lighting the other oil-lamps.
Tomorrow he’d punish those servants. Hanging them alongside Khamose will be a good idea.
“But Khamose will die only after he has seen Sekah get married to me, the new Pharaoh of Egypt!” he chuckled.
The lamps burned casting a steady glow. They didn’t flicker at all. There was not even the slightest breeze in the chamber.
He pulled a sheet from the bed and wiped his face and neck. “let me draw the curtains myself,” he whispered wiping off the sweat that had accumulated on his brow, and turned to face the windows.
There were no windows.
He stood facing a wall that was painted in blue, yellow, and gold; a wall that told the story of Pharaoh Akhnaten’s rule. Blood drained from his face and he felt a chill run down his spine. Very slowly, pivoted on his spot, he turned again.
His father’s tomb, hewn out of a single block of marble and inlaid with gold and precious jewels, and within which his embalmed body lay, stood proudly in the center of the room. He stood inside the King’s burial chamber which was sealed shut after the ceremony had ended and he had left the pyramid.

Note: This story was written for Weekly Challenge at iSmithWords.com. This specific challenge was “Literary Lion. King.” The challenge required us to write a story in 400 words or less. This story has exceeded the word-limit, and so it doesn’t fulfill the requirements.  I tried my best to squeeze it down to 400, but couldn’t.

However, since I had taken this challenge as an assignment for Blogging101, I think I’ve managed one of the two things that I had set about accomplishing – I’ve finished my assignment 🙂

The Egyptian eye above can be seen sans-makeup here.

 

Finite Creatures: The Evening of the Storm (A Short Story and Ink Drawing of a Sinner)

The Evening of the Storm

(A Short Story)

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Finite Creatures.”

I can’t really remember when I first discovered that our lives were finite, so I’ll take refuge in fiction and tell you the story of a girl who wouldn’t die.
 
It had happened on the evening of the storm. The townsfolk still remembered that evening. They talked about the storm and the brave truck driver who died that night.
“He died trying to save her,” said her grandfather, pointing a knobby finger at her.
“Not a drop of gratitude,” said her grandmother, adjusting her bifocals and looking across the room at Leah.
She tried to drown their voices by turning her attention to the storm that was brewing outside. Lea hated her grandparents who whiled away their time recounting events that had turned to dust, except in their minds.
She had trained herself to ignore them but she knew that it wasn’t going to be easy, especially tonight. This treacherous night looked a lot like the night that they were talking about. Before she could steel herself, the stormy night colluded with her grandparents’ conversation and pulled the plug. Memories tumbled in.
Terrible memories. Of the storm, and of death.
Leah was returning from school when the skies had turned dark. She was just a hundred yards away from home; she just had to cross that wooden bridge across the river and she would have been home. 
But at that point, right before the bridge, her memories slowed down – they turned into a series of snap-shots.
First, the cold steely feel of the knife on the skin of her throat, then the violent shove; little later a familiar smell riding on a hoarse whisper, “come with me.”
Then it all turned into a blur.
A blur of rain, the sound of clothes being torn off, a raspy voice, an unbearable stench of sweat mixed with that of rotting teeth, and throttled cries for help…
That was all she remembered of it. But the memory of the pain still made her clench her teeth and cross her legs, really tight.
It must’ve lasted an hour or more – she couldn’t remember, but those bruises were everywhere.
Later, he lay satiated on the rotting floor of the log-cabin and said in his slimy, wheezy voice, “Don’t tell anyone, or you will die.” She didn’t know then, what dying meant, but she nodded. And then it happened. A strong gust of wind was all it took. The last thing that she remembered was that the cabin shook wildly and then rotten logs under him gave way. They crumbled, then cascaded down into the wild river. The logs were swept away, but he wasn’t. She saw him impaled upon one of the jagged rocks. The overhang was all gone and she lay on the edge, face down, watching his body twist and turn as the water hit it.
She was found two days later. She didn’t tell anyone. She was eight and she thought that if she told, she’d die too. She didn’t want to die.
Leah turned and looked at the pictures on the mantel.
They were all there. Her mother, her father, and he. All three. All dead.
Caricature Cartoon of a sinner - angry mad man with a guilty conscience - fire of hell.

The Sinner

 

The Genesis of this Post:
When Lydia and I discovered that we had both used the Photo-prompt for our blogging assignment, we decided to do the assignment once again, with the correct prompt this time. So we set ourselves a time-limit of one hour for the post, in which we had to think about the prompt, crystallize our thoughts, and make the post. I overshot it by 10 minutes 😦 She was in time with hers 🙂 Please visit her blog here.

Half and Half make one Half Full – Let the Knights Joust.

Half and Half make one Half Full – Let the Knights Joust.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Half and Half.”

Where there’s black, there’s always some white; when there’s dark, there’s a possibility of light;
You may have to look for them, but in a world full of wrong, there are always things that are right.

This world is half-and-half, and until I saw this prompt, I didn’t realize that a lot of my illustrations are half-and-half too. One of these half-and-half illustrations is a two-page spread for the Talk Business and Politics magazine that has Mike Ross and Asa Hutchinson jousting to become the Governor of Arkansas.

Half and Half - Daily Prompt - Mike Ross and Asa Hutchinson Jousting for Arkansas Governor.

Left Half: Mike Ross (Democrat)
Right Half: Asa Hutchinson (Republican)

This image and the prompt together make me wonder:

These two valorous knights galloping towards each other with their lances targeting the other’s chest, hoping to throw the other off his stead, are the reason why this scene exists. The State Capitol building is essential to the scene because forms the quest, but why is the crowd there? The crowd is there because of the two knights. It is there to watch them joust.

And this makes me ask questions, that I admit, are totally unexpected of the happy-go-lucky right-brained arty-kinds.

  1. Why do we like to see fights? Why, we even make animals fight one another, and wager bets? 
  2. Why on one hand we cheer the winners and on the other, root for the underdog?
  3. What kind of thrill we get from seeing people spill blood or even kill one another?
  4. And if we don’t, if we have actually arrived at point in human history where our senses have become more refined and our battles are now fought with arguments, votes, and referendums, why still wars continue to rage through out the world?

I think there aren’t any answers to these questions, but we have opinions – and our opinions matter. They matter with all two warring-halves of the world – from the smallest halves to the biggest halves. Our opinions matter when we can influence the two halves and help them stand on the same side of the picture so we can help them become one. Our opinions also matter in bigger issues too as we can influence the course of history by voting the right decision-makers to the top-office of our country.

Until that happens, let the knights joust and the pugilists box.

 

Blogging Neighbors make a Modern-Day Hamlet Soliloquize.

My Blogging101 Neighbors have changed me into a soliloquizing modern-day Hamlet.

In the past 10 days I’ve made some new friends and these friends have made me ask the following to-be-or-not-to-be questions:
  1. To Cook or not to torture the collective tastebuds of my family?
  2. To run or just snuggle under the sheets for a couple-of-more-hours?
  3. To buy new yoga-pants or wait until my tummy begins to jiggle?
  4. To be an Earl’s cat or a plain old boring human?
  5. To run along with ZuZu and checkout Berkshire or be a couch potato and watch Despicable Me?
  6. To fill the lives of those around me with positivity or just not bother?
  7. And finally, To be a fanatic and fly at the throats of anyone who dares disagree  even slightly with me, or respect other people’s opinions?
I know that I have missed a lot of other fantastic blogs that’ve moved me in the past few days, and consequently deprived this post of other deep and relevant questions.  I’m known to be more forgetful than that allegorical scientist who drank the glass full of bacteria-infested water.  I hope those sweet bloggers will forgive my lapse and leave me a reminder. I can and should soliloquize some more – and your reminders will make me answer more of these important, philosophical questions.
Coming back to my list of questions, here’s what I think, and regardless of what it makes you think about me, I stand (nope, lounge) by it.

1. To cook or not to torture the collective tastebuds of my family?

I cook, but each time I cook, the same dish ends up tasting different! Why? Because I can’t follow recipes. I admit that the kitchen reminds me of a Chemistry Lab, and the recipes remind me of those chemistry experiments that I disliked and even feared. Measure, pour, heat, add something else; let it simmer; when the color changes or when there’s a distinctive smell, do something else! It’s erringly similar to a Chemistry Lab experiment. So to make myself feel positive about the kitchen and cooking, I think of myself as a kitchen-witch who brews magic potions – but that’s a different story and needs a different post.

2. To Run or just snuggle under the sheets?

Is that even a logical question to ask? If your whole family is into running, then I understand that you must – or how will you be together? Imagine breakfast time in a family of runners. Dad has already run 500 yards, son is at 250 yards mark, mom tosses the sandwich and the OJ to Dad at 50 yds/second to get it to him in 10 seconds. Can’t imagine all that action! It makes me run (no, amble) for cover! The thought of all that action makes me exhausted – but kudos to our runner mom – I can only doff my hat to her.

3. To buy new yoga-pants or wait until my tummy begins to jiggle?

It jiggles a bit, alright. But getting into those yoga pants is something that I haven’t yet made up my mind on. Sorry Yoga Guru. First my boss who is now in Canada started organizing Yoga classes in our office and asked if I wanted to join. I checked my then hourglass figure in the mirror, and snickered at the idea. Later mom and dad watched me getting chubbier and slower; they tried to train me in yoga but failed. Now, I’ve begun to wonder whether I should’ve heeded their advice. BTW, Yoga is for people of all shapes and sizes. But what about those yoga-pants? I don’t want to look like a stuffed pillow, and doing yoga without yoga-pants isn’t my cup of green tea.

4. To be an Earl’s cat or a plain old boring human?

Is this even a question?
Of course I want to be an Earl’s cat. Why? Because then I’d speak Elizabethan English, purr a lot, and while purring, I’d casually remark upon who the Countess may or may not hoist her tail for. As a human, if I did that, I am sure the Earl would have me captured and flogged to correct the error of my ways. Earl’s cat – for sure.

5. To run along with ZuZu and checkout Berkshire or be a couch potato and watch Despicable Me?

Is this, too, even a question?
ZuZu… wait for me! Just allow me a few minutes to brew myself a cup of Felinosca potion and turn into a cat. A chubby woman scampering behind you on all fours will attract the eyes of entire Berkshire, and then you may have to drop your adventuring like a hot pot of boiling milk.

6. To fill the lives of those around me with positivity, or shutter myself in?

As I grow older, I cement my views and opinions, and I become unwilling to change. What I often forget is that even the unwillingness to embrace change is a choice.    Do I want to shutter myself in, is a question that I ask myself, especially when meet someone as cool  as these two bloggers.
 I know I’ll try to remember this all, but then I can’t really trust the absent-minded kitchen-witch whose idea of a perfect day is a quiet afternoon with a Wilbur Smith novel. She travels at the speed of thought and sees the world through the words of her favorite authors…and now…bloggers!
And finally,

7. To be a fanatic and fly at the throat of anyone who dares disagree  even slightly with me, or respect other people’s opinions?

As I said before, if possible, I’d like to live in a world sans fanatics. I don’t like fanaticism. And so I’ll set aside the only unpleasant experience in the blogosphere, and continue to Draw to Smile!
Feeling blessed - a pen and ink drawing - shafali's art. Artists and Commissions.

Feeling frazzled but blessed!

Happy Blogging 🙂 and thanks Blogging101!

Heads Roll as the Header gets a Makeover!

When your header is full of heads, and you update it, heads are bound to roll.

While I’m going to miss some of the faces that I’ve been seeing on my blog everyday for the last one year, I want to tell them that they’ll never be far gone from my heart, and that there’s always a possibility that they return to the header as wild-card entry.

If you visit here regularly, you’ll miss the caricatures of Malcolm GladwellThe Three Presidents (Kennedy, Reagan, and Coolidge,) Liam Neeson, and Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister. Their places have now been taken by Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, Mike Huckabee, Hillary Clinton, President Bill Clinton, Jeb Bush, and Jimmy Fallon.

Here’s the header that has now retired with benefits.
shafalis-caricatures-blog-header-jul-2014.jpg

The Rationale behind the update was as follows:

  1. A blog is a window through which I interact with the world. It allows people to peep into my world – and my world is made of pictures. The header of my blog lets my visitors get a glimpse of those pictures.
  2. As time passes, an artist’s work matures, changes, or sometimes, even transforms. My previous header was updated an year ago. Some of my new works were hankering for attention – and so, a change was due.
  3. My blog has some regular visitors. The header-image (I think,) also works as an anchor. When they visit my blog, they get a sense of familiarity, and I didn’t to destroy that. This is why retained some features of the old header. (The sign on the black background, the images at the edges, etc.)

This update has been due for a long time and today’s Blogging101 assignment couldn’t have happened at a better time. I’m also working on a new sidebar widget – one that I hope, will make you go ROFL 😀

6 Celebrity Body-parts that Deserve their own Wax Statues at Madame Tussauds

I had written this post almost a year back – for Cracked.com but they thought that it required more work. They weren’t happy with the quality of my links  🙂
Had my topic read, “7 Advances in Medical Science that could change Humans into Birds,” or “10 Proofs that Aliens walk Among Us,” I’d have definitely spent a few more months in research. But the idea of spending hours and days gathering links that prove that these specific celeb-body parts have gained fame and brought fortune to their human-carriers, didn’t exactly fill me up with drive and enthusiasm. So I strangled my dream of writing for Cracked.com and forgot all about these rather interesting celeb-appendages. 
Today, this article just popped up as I was scrolling through my notes in Notes looking for forgotten blog-post ideas – and I thought why not 🙂
So, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you 6 Celeb-body-parts that deserve their own wax-statues at Madame Tussauds (and their own caricatures by Tom Richmond.)

Miley Cyrus’s Forever-out Tongue:

Miley’s tongue would be one of a forerunners in a race for a place at Madame Tussauds. Why? Her tongue possibly has more fans than Miley herself, which is not at all odd – because her tongue has wooed its own fans all over the world by popping out of her oral cavity with unfailing regularity. In fact, her tongue beats Miley in connecting with the audience. Her tongue has struck every possible pose for the camera – it has leaned out of the corner of her mouth with its tip curving provocatively; it has curled up in a lip-smacking, come-hither look; it has cascaded out of her mouth in an attempt to ape the Niagara falls! Her tongue deserves its own place in the history of mankind.

Michael Jackson’s Crotch:

The candidacy of Michael Jackson‘s crotch for a dedicated wax statue is undisputed, and while it is no longer possible to actually sculpt a statue to honor it, credit must be given where it’s due. Before the King of Pop began clutching his goods to the beats of music, the poor crotch was a shamefully hidden, never celebrated part of the human body. Nobody touched it in public; definitely not under the glare of a zillion lights and in full view of a million fans. The fame of Michael Jackson’s crotch transcended borders and reached the remotest corners of the planet. It became the only crotch in the world that was not just pointed at, talked about, but literally clutched again and again, as he sang and danced his way into people’s hearts. It’s the crotch that inspired videos such as “Fifty Ways to Grab your Crotch“.
When I see four-year-olds grabbing their crotch and imitating Michael Jackson, I can’t help but think how his crotch led every crotch out of darkness, into the world of glitz and glamor.

Jay Leno’s Chin:

Jay Leno‘s chin is a Chin with a Man attached. If prognathism was considered a mark of beauty, Mr. Leno would be the handsomest man on the planet. I am not disputing the fact that Jay Leno is a super talk show host; all I want to say is that his chin had a big hand in the success of his shows. Whether he is connected with the House of Habsburg, and thus, is royalty; or whether he has a Habsburg jaw, is a matter of speculation; but in my absolutely certain opinion, his massive jaw deserves a special place of honor at Madame Tussauds. I’d like to tell you that internationally, Jay Leno’s magnificent jaw is known better than he himself is.
If anyone has any doubts, I’d like to mention that man who owns this unique chin himself believes that all his life, he has but followed his chin, or why would he name his autobiography, “Leading with my Chin.”
Caricature, Cartoon of Jay Leno - The Tonight Show Host (Portrait, Sketch, Drawing - event: Retirement.)

Handing over?

Pamela Anderson’s Upper-Anterior Assets:

Some have boasted of bigger ones (Dolly Parton), others, may have shown off better ones (Carmen Electra); but the height of fame reached by Pamela’s silicone-enhanced bosom still remains unchallenged. Pamela Anderson’s silicon-spheres drew eyeballs like a flame draws moths. Men watched them and drooled. Women looked at them and depending on their financial might, either rushed to the plastic surgeons to get theirs pumped up, or to the lingerie store to buy the newest padded bra. And yet after getting her money’s worth from them, the voluptuous Bay Watch babe, the longest surviving Playboy Cover Girl  decided to swap her humongous pair of implants for a couple of dainty ones. Those original implants have been saved by her Plastic surgeon. I wouldn’t venture to suggest what use he may put them to but I’d recommend that he puts them up on eBay. If and when that happens, they must find their own wax replica in the museum of celebrities.  Madame Tussauds’ staff has its work cut out.
Caricature and Cartoon of the Model, Actress, and Sex-Symbol Pamela Anderson with two fish who've lost their homes.

They aren’t Pancho and Lefty!

The Fingers of Keith Richards:

Perhaps the only celebrity who can be recognized by his fingers, is Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones.  While his gnarled fingers are possibly the result of osteoarthritis and they could be Heberden’s nodes where the joints closer to the finger-tips swell up, they’ve often been attributed to his playing the guitar. Amidst a lot of speculation on how his fingers acquired those distinctive knobs, I feel that saving a space for his fingers in Madame Tussauds is a good idea.
Cartoon Caricature of Keith Richards - Guitarist of the Rolling Stones rock band - done for the American Spectator Magazine

Keith Richards of Rolling Stones for the American Spectator Magazine

The Hair & Skin of Donald Trump:

Whether they deserve two separate mentions or one, can be a matter of debate. However, this famous but controversial billionaire who is now hoping to be the next President of the United States, has something to offer to Madame Tussauds.  His skin has the oddest orange glow that reminds some of the Oompa Loompas of Charlie and the Chocolate factory.
This orange glow is local to his face and doesn’t reach his hands, so quite possibly it’s Trump-made and not natural. Whatever it is – it’s characteristic of Donald Trump, and helps his face stand out among a crowd of other normal-skin people. His hair that was once dark, later acquired a yellow hue that lasted him a good thirty years; but what actually makes his hair worthy of being celebrated and honored is the way they sweep down his forehead, only to lurch up again, right before they get into his eyes. His hair has a life of its own, but it in servitude. It serves a life-long bond as it guards that Dollar-minting mind by keeping it covered all the time.  When most of Trump’s contemporaries have only fleeting memories of a full head of hair; Trump’s dome of silken hair has defied all laws of nature – making Trump’s face one of the most recognized business-faces around the world.
Perhaps the American voters can swap their votes for Trump’s hair and donate the hair to Madame Tussauds.

Interesting stuff about to tumble out of Shafarnia’s cupboard.

Ok. Blogging101‘s moderator Ms. Weber has given us a breather. She says that today’s assignment (about choosing the right theme for your blog ) doesn’t require a post. But this blog requires a non-blogging101 post – if I don’t make it pronto it has threatened to go on strike. I cannot be sure of how my blog got this absurd idea, but I suspect it has recently joined a union of blogs, and the disgruntled blogs are now demanding bonus posts!

Anyone who knows me (and I cannot claim that many do,) know that I am putty in the hands of those close to me – and after 5 years of togetherness, this blog and I have become rather close. So I’ve already buckled under the threat and planned three posts. The subjects of the posts however aren’t happy with the idea of being used for the purpose of pacifying this grumpy blog.

A Public Service Notice:

Please check whether your blog too has become a member of the Blog Union. If it has, you may be in serious trouble. My suggestion is to give in and make some good posts that help you win back your blog’s affections.

 

Title, Tagline, and the Journey of this Blog.

  • Note for blogging101 co-bloggers: This blog’s title is: “Shafali’s Caricatures, Cartoons, and Portraits,” and it’s tag-line is: “Draw to Smile.”
  • Note for all other visitors, this is just another post from your quirky caricaturist.

This blog was born on December 11, 2009. I still remember that morning. It was so cold that if you stepped out of you house, you’d feel your marrow freezing in your bones, immobilizing you and then pushing you deep down into the abyss of hopelessness. Professionally, I was committed to a job that kept me comfortable and well-fed, but my need to draw had never left me. Art was that passionate and persistent lover, who would stalk me all the time and follow me everywhere. I’d have these little secret trysts with art, whenever I had a moment to spare. My notebooks were filled with doodles ready to tattle that the flame of my passion still burned bright for my one true love.

That morning, quite like many other mornings before it, demanded that I perform the chores of my job, without pain, but also without pleasure; with a sense of duty, but without any passion!

As I sipped my tea mechanically, I chanced upon a face in the newspaper. I just picked a pencil and caricatured it to make it funnier. I was drawing a face that could make me smile.

Here’s the face that I drew that morning.

Caricature Sketch of an anxious and worried man - the first caricature.

My first caricature

View the First Post here.

A few squiggles…and a confused yet mocking expression. It would’ve been consigned to the waste-basket where many of its predecessors had gone, but it was meant to change my life, and so it didn’t. My husband saw it – and along with it, he saw my pain.

“Nobody ever sees the drawings you make – why don’t you start a blog where you can scan and post your sketches,” he said.

I tried to wriggle out of it. “I won’t be able to keep it up,” “Nobody would ever visit,” “Who wants to see funny faces,” and many more feeble excuses were made that day.

And yet that evening, we sat down together and created a blog on WordPress – shafali.wordpress.com. At the beginning, it was titled “Shafali’s Caricatures,” then when I began doing cartoons the title expanded to “Shafali’s Caricatures & Cartoons,” and now, because I also do a lot of portraiture work, it’s called “Shafali’s Caricatures, Portraits, and Cartoons” The tag line however has never changed. Drawing has always made me smile, and I think that there’s no point drawing if it doesn’t make you smile 🙂

This was the first header of this blog 🙂

shafali_caricature_header.jpg

Then came this…

celebrity_caricatures_cartoons_shafali_header.jpg

Next was…

shafalis-caricatures-blog-header1.jpg

And now it is:

shafalis-caricatures-blog-header-jul-2014.jpg

 

In the last 6 years, this blog has grown along with my portfolio of works (which began demanding its own space and so I created another blog – of course, again on WordPress,) it has helped me get some very interesting commissions, and more than anything else, it has given me a space where I can present my works, my thoughts, and be myself 🙂 I know I don’t do a lot of blogging stuff right, but I am open to learning and this is why I’ve joined blogging101.

So folks at blogging101, if you are just starting, don’t worry – blogging is like a little garden that you start from scratch…you must care for it and be patient with it. If cared for, it will bloom, that’s certain.

5 Sure Ways to Awaken the Dragon in a Woman!

Did you know that every woman has a dragon hidden in her belly?  She keeps that dragon drugged and chained, but men (and other women too) are capable of rousing that beast from its slumber.
Cartoon Caricature Funny images of a Woman screaming shouting at a man - angry woman.

Pen and Ink Drawing – Inspired by the Poster of “The Proposal” (Sandra Bullock & Ryan Reynolds.)

Important Note:
I’ve listed the 5 ways here for easy reference. Please feel free to print them out for your soft board. If you need additional counseling on specific matters, or if you’ve already awakened a dragon and need some help in taming it, my email id is plastered over nearly every image that you see on this blog.
If I were a Management Guru, I’d have called these ways, “The 5 M‘s of Bringing out the Monster in a Woman,” or some other such mnemonic thing, but I am not that creative with words, so I’ll stay with numbered lists.
  1. Misunderstand
  2. Mistreat
  3. Manhandle
  4. Mistake
  5. Miscalculate
1. Misunderstand:
When you misunderstand women, you make them see the reddest of reds. Women aren’t easy to understand, I grant you that. Hey, they aren’t just deliciously enigmatic, they are super-mysterious. I mean who knows what a woman actually even looks like. Those layers of makeup – they are the veils of mystery that are lifted only be the select few they decide to share their lives with. So don’t berate yourself if you’ve been guilty of misunderstanding women. However, be prepared for the fire-spewing dragon to wake up anytime you unwittingly commit this error. Trust me, you will know when you’ve crossed the line.
Examples?
Of course.
  • The most common example comes from your making a specific rule generic. You’ve learned that when a woman says “NO” she doesn’t mean “YES.” This rule applies to all your amorous advances – this rule, rules the physical domain of the man-woman relationships; but for your own sake, don’t apply it on everything. So, when you ask a woman whether she’d like some ice cream and she says, “No, I’m watching my figure,” don’t use that outdated corny line “so am I…hee…hee” and return that wallet back to your pocket! The volcano won’t erupt yet, but Smaug is just beginning to turn in the belly of the mountain (er…the woman.)
  • When she’s given her face three coats of foundation, colored her eyelids every color of a peacock feather, and her lips look like she’s just returned from a vampire-party, and she asks you “how do I look?” trust me, she doesn’t want to hear the truth. Don’t tell her the truth. Not if you want the beast to stay happily asleep.
Mistreat: 
This, as you can surmise, is a graver crime than the one that we’ve just discussed. Unfortunately, the term “mistreat” has an expanding range of meanings – starting from not-behaving-in-a-socially-acceptable manner to being downright abusive. Being abusive is terrible and I am sure that most religions in this world would classify being abusive as a sin. Whatever enters the realm of religion, exits the realm of this caricaturist’s satire, and so I am definitely not talking about that kind of mistreatment. Instead, I am talking about simpler stuff.
Examples?
Here they are:
  • Praising another woman in front of a woman (this is any woman vs. any woman.)
  • Looking ravenously at a curvaceous woman who walks past, when you are in company of a woman you’ve supposedly pledged your heart to.
  • Not being totally tuned in when a woman talks about stuff that she believes really matters (doesn’t matter if you hold diametrically opposite views on what really matters!)
  • Not noticing her new hairdo, or nail-color.
All these are examples of Mistreatment. Note that Mistreatment is a slow-acting poison. It may not wake the beast up immediately, but it when the beast does wake up, it’ll roast your insides and feast on them.
Manhandle:
This one too has Satan’s sign on it. The worst of manhandling is domestic violence of the physical kind. That is serious matter and anyone who engages in that kind of thing should be behind bars, not surfing the Internet and visiting the blogs of crazy caricaturists. The manhandling bit I am talking about is the one that hurts the heart more than it hurts the body.
Examples?
Ok.
  • Clasp in an iron-grip, the soft hand offered to you in handshake.
  • Clap your hand over a woman’s shoulder to turn her around.
  • Throw a fake-roach or a fake-lizard, watch her scream, then roll on the ground laughing.
Terrible stuff…all of it. Tchah!
Mistake:
Never, never, never do a mistake in any of the personal stats of a woman – certainly don’t err on the…well, unsavory side. Better still, manipulate the data to her advantage. This one’s rather simple, but if you still want me to illustrate…
here are a few
examples…
  • Her birthday, your anniversary, your children’s birthdays (at least of the kids you two had together,) the date of your first meeting, the place of your first meeting, the earrings that you gifted her 10 years ago, but she never wore them until today… you’ve got to recognize them right away!
  • And then there’s data that you know by heart, but that you must never present in its raw form. In fact, some basic math could be very helpful. So if she’s 51, train yourself to remember that she’s merely 45, and then train yourself some more to tell her that she looks better than all those women in their thirties. If she measures 40 inches at waist, you never noticed it – you still remember the data that you had stored when you had first begun dating. You never overwrote any of it. She still measures 26 at her waist – and when she disagrees, tell her that you don’t feel the difference, because you love her so much.
Miscalculate:
Men often miscalculate everything about women. Sometimes, only sometimes, women deliberately lead them into such miscalculations; but more often than not, it’s something that men train themselves to believe. What looks small and fragile, must be small and fragile. Women can pack quite a punch when they want to – but usually they don’t want to. They prefer to keep the notion of fragility alive. I mean who doesn’t want to be pampered and who wouldn’t want to have someone else do some work that they wouldn’t do unless their superiority complex was awakened.
For men, it’s a good idea to realize that women aren’t weak and most women are smarter than they are. I’ve seen women in my own and my -iL family twist the men of the family around their little fingers – in fact, if these couples are like two wheels of a motorcycle, the women wheels are the ones connected to the steering wheel.
Examples?
Sure.
  • Never threaten to leave her – She is adaptable, she’ll survive; the question is – will you?
  • The money? You blew it and then tried hoodwinking her? She’ll know. If that fuse blows, you must know it did, not because you blew the money, but because you insulted her intelligence.
And now, I must stop spilling these secrets. Most women I’ve known in my life don’t really like me… but then the US Government doesn’t like Julian Assange either!

Hacked Nude Celebrity Photos are more Viral than Ebola says CBS.

There’s no denying that Ebola‘s accelerating spread is a huge concern for humanity, and yet, there’s another virus in the air, one that’s been multiplying at a rate that is exponentially greater than that of Ebola. It’s called the Celebrity Nudes Virus (CNV).

According to CBS*,

The Celebrity Nudes Virus has by now spread to all the countries of the world, and the number of people infected by this virus doubles every hour. Accordingly to statistics that have been laboriously collected, classified and sifted, every man infected by this virus can potentially infect 6 others, in a matter of seconds. It has also been reported that 5 out of 6 people who get infected, are males.

Symptoms of the Celebrity Nudes Viral (CNV) Infection include:

  1. Lolling tongues and galloping heartbeats.
  2. A strong tendency to find isolated spots.
  3. A strong tendency to look over the shoulder while checking emails.
  4. Heightened creativity resulting in Celebrity Nudes Search words.
  5. Shortened attention-spans.
  6. A heartfelt feeling of gratitude for the man who started it all, affectionately called the hacker.

The man who unleashed this virus on the Internet claims that he did it for money. And yet, the poor devil, the man with a zillion dreams of a billion dollars got a measly $120 for his labors…and if we should believe him…for his investment.

This man, who CBS* has nicknamed “Father of the Celeb-nude Virus” has hacked into the iCloud accounts of 100 celebrities, including Rihanna, Kristen Dunst, and Selena Gomez, and despite the financial setback, he has no intentions of stopping. “The FBI,” he says, “is a minor inconvenience.”

Search Strings that are being used to find those Hacked Celebrity Nudes.

Following are some of the search-strings that the infected group of people have so creatively come up with.

  • where are the hacked nude pictures on the web
  • icloud nude celeb images posted
  • stolen nude celebrity pics
  • view stolen celebrity icloud photos online
  • nude celebrity photos stolen online
  • posted stolen celeb photos
  • hacked nude celebrity pictures
  • hacked cloud accounts nude pictures
  • i want to see icloud hacked nude pic 2014
  • leaked 100 celebrities nude  images on internet
  • and so on…
  • and so forth!

Search terms such as these abound, despite the celebrities issuing statements on moral grounds. They’ve been condemning people who view these leaked pictures as participating thieves, because they are viewing stolen goods. CBS* spokeswoman Shafali says:

“I understand their concern. Hacking nude celebrity pictures is akin to plagiarism in the art/literary circles. The person who created the content must be fairly compensated for its use. Now that those nudes are already out there, nobody is going to want to pay to view them – so what could’ve been on the front-page of Rolling Stone or GQ and would’ve justly made the celebs and their retinues some moolah, has now resulted in $1.20 per celeb for the hacker. It’s terribly unfair to the celebrities, I suppose; but what hurts me more, is the erosion of  the value of those pictures, which in fact, is also an insult to the celebrities in question.”

Most celebrities aren’t ticked off because their nudes went online – they’d love to have those pictures on the covers or the center-spreads of magazines. Just click the following link to view some nude celebrity pictures that have been shared with totally value-driven willingness, and hence puts the viewer on the right side of the ethics debate. In fact, the latest celeb to go nude for GQ is Kim Kardashian!

Miley Cyrus on Rolling Stones, Jake and Anne on Entertainment Weekly,Katy Perry on Esquire, Kim Kardashian on W, Johnny Depp on GQ (well, not exactly, but the link has him on.

The Online Media Chooses: Celebrity Nudes Virus vs. Ebola – A Google Search Infographic.

(No prizes for guessing the right answer.)

The Celebrity Nudes Virus is indubitably more contagious of the two viruses. Even Google works faster to find Celeb Nude Photos than it does to find pages that talk about Ebola. Please check the encircled statistics.

hacked celebrity nude pictures vitality info graphic for google searches.

I rest my case.

In another, unrelated, unsourced news byte, CBS* has come under heavy criticism for attempting to milk the celebrity nudes scandal for their blog. The CBS spokeswoman made the following statement:

“We are in the business of creating caricatures and exaggerating deviations. We believe that the ridiculousness of the celebrity nude pictures hacking scandal has to be recorded for posterity. We are just a tiny spoke, a small blog in the scandal-mongering hinterlands of the World Wide Web. We believe that we are doing the right thing.”

CBS*: Caricatures by Shafali

Coming up soon: Caricatures of Gandalf the Grey, Taylor Swift, and Jesse Jackson.

Have you ever seen them together? In the same place? This has never happened before! But now it will. Now you will see them together here – at this caricaturist’s blog!

Caricatures in the Offing!

Blogging Plans for the Next Two Months:

  • Tutorials – Cartooning and Caricature-Drawing
  • Tutorials – Pen & Ink Drawing
  • A couple of Short Satires (I may not publish them on SmashWords like the earlier ones – just here.)
  • Snapshots/Final Artworks/Caricatures that I do during this time.

Possible To-do’s for First-time Visitors:

Keeping this post short 🙂 Got to get back to sketching a very interesting scene for a magazine-spread. I need a cup of tea before I start…

 

Neanderthal Man Outclassed while Gaddafi and Hitler enter an Art Competition!

Some more search terms that brought people here…and my favorite is…”Neanderthal Man realizes that he’s outclassed by Homosapien Man”!

Search Term 1: Types of Artists

There are 4 Types of Artists – Starving, Dying, Dead, and Rich. If you don’t believe me, read this book. If you belong in the first three-categories, will you or your ghost be kind enough to leave a review? I believe the fourth kinds would have neither the time nor the motivation to read it 🙂

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

Click to download in a format of your choice.

 

Search Term 2: Wire Fox Terriers with Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler, Nazi Dictator, German Dicator, Perpetrator of the Holocaust - Satan!
Until today, I didn’t know if WFTs ever favored Hitler. If I were a WFT, I’d have bitten his head off. The Alsatians never had a chance because they were bred by those Nazi jokers. But then, what did I know – until this search made me wiser. Hitler did have a white WFT and his name was Fuchs. His mistress eva braun had a couple of Scottish Terriers – but the lady was no dog-lover, so I wonder whether those terriers were more of a style statement.

 

Search Term 3: I am depressed and lonely

Ah well. In these times of Internet and Social Networking, who isn’t? I mean I am depressed and my dog is lonely. I am depressed because I don’t have enough FB friends, Twitter Followers, Blog Followers etc. and my dog is lonely because I spend hours on Internet – the time that I should be spending with her.
A Toony Pretzels Cartoon - A take on Facebook Depression - Defining Loneliness - emails, facebook, twitter, blog - Depressed Woman.

Loneliness is the state of feeling sad or deserted due to isolation.

I squarely blame my environment for making me depressed and lonely.

Search Term 4: Freudian Slip Caricature

 

Cartoon, Caricature, Drawing, Portrait, Sketch of Sigmund Freud the man who gave us the Oedipus complex and the freudian slip.

I know what you are thinking.

I’d love to sketch a Freudian slip, preferably with a lady inside. You know that it would have two holes you know where. What? You don’t believe me, do you? You are reading the blog of a caricaturist – so what do you expect? Academic brilliance combined with Journalistic Integrity? Forget it, my friend. To me, a Freudian Slip will remain a slip with two strategically placed holes.

Search Term 5: Caricature of Edward Newton

Edward Norton?
Hollywood Actor Edward Norton
No?
Isaac Newton?
Scientist Isaac Newton, Apple, and The laws of gravitation.
No?
Then you must be looking for this gentleman. Sorry – never thought to caricature him.

Search Term 6: Neanderthal Man realizes that he’s outclassed by Homosapien Man

I loved this search. “Outclassed?!” Imagine two classy guys – a Neanderthal and a Homosapien doing all the classy things that men do – stuff like asset-evaluation, what-o-graphy, playing golf, dining out, finding a trophy wife (of the Neanderthal variety) – etc., and the Neanderthal thinking, “Hey! how come his stuff’s classier than mine?”

 

Search Term 7: Robert Langdon gay

Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon
I didn’t think he was, until they found Tom Hanks for the role. Now, I don’t know.

 

Search Term 8: Gaddafi Caricature Hitler

The dictator who refuses to step down as the Head of Libya - A Caricature of Muammar Gaddafi
Hitler was an artist, but he couldn’t have made Gaddafi’s caricature because he was “apparently” dead before Mr. Gaddafi arrived on the scene. I think that my dear searcher was looking for Hitler’s caricature by Gaddafi instead…and ended up finding both the caricatures by Shafali. Tsk…tsk. It’s becoming more and more difficult to find the real thing.

 

Search Term 9:Raised eyebrow sketch 

Just that?

 

Search Term 10: 1 Minute Caricatures

  1. I don’t think they are going to be very good ones. If someone’s asked you to do live-caricatures @1 per minute, he must’ve escaped from 1. A Zoo, 2. An Asylum, 3. Guantanamo bay – so the best course of action for you is to disappear!

 

Search Term 11: shefali.wordprase.com

Nah. Doesn’t return any result – so how did this search get to my blog. Internet appears to be smarter than we think it is 🙂

Your favorite Caricature blog in 2011 – A WordPress Report received with a smile:)

The cute WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog 🙂

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 150,000 times in 2011. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 6 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Thank you WordPress 🙂 I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again – I wouldn’t be blogging if it weren’t for WordPress.

A Toony Pretzels Cartoon – Defining Loneliness

Loneliness once was a real feeling resulting from lack of real friends and real family. Now…they say that the feeling of loneliness still is quite real, but its drivers have changed. I grew up in a time when there was no Internet and in places where there was no television, no telephone, and at times no electricity. There were times when my family stayed in places where there were no other families around. Was I lonely? I don’t think I was. I had so much to do. I’d bind my own books, make my own dresses (and my doll’s dresses too,) study, draw, grow vegetables in my mom’s kitchen garden, and even cook. I don’t remember feeling lonely ever.

But now, I hear of loneliness ever so often. I hear of kids not knowing what to do if they didn’t have their smartphones with them, I hear of young girls and boys jumping off the high-rises because they were depressed, and I read about women in apparently happy relationships suffering from anxiety and depression. I am sure that the feeling is extremely real for them, but I can’t really get a handle on the causes…

I just wonder whether we were a stronger lot before Internet shrunk our world into a ragged ball of tangled connections.

Presenting…

Loneliness!

A Toony Pretzels Cartoon - A take on Facebook Depression - Defining Loneliness - emails, facebook, twitter, blog - Depressed Woman.

Loneliness is the state of feeling sad or deserted due to isolation.

If you are troubled by this cartoon, you should click the following links:

PS: If your virtual life appears empty and meaningless, walk out of the door into the street. The real world too has a lot to offer. Give it a chance 🙂

Eeeeeks! I am a werewolf…and I am in the trunk of a car…I think.

It’s dark in here. Had I not been adept at telekinesis, I couldn’t have sent the word out. I think they were counting on my being one of those normal humans – not realizing that they were actually dealing with a werewolf. They might discover it eventually, but the Keeping clause says that if our existence was discovered, the entire pack will have to disperse; and I can’t jeopardize my pack, can I?

The point of the matter is that unless I design an escape plan, you’ll have to make do without my wolverine yet benign presence in the blogosphere. This might make things a bit dull for you but fret not, for when I return, I’ll bring you the tail (oops, the tale) of my escape from this dark, confining place! My fabulous nose tells me that I might be rescued by the one and only Napoleon Bonaparte whose caricature will grace this blog upon my safe return.

The wolf inside me a growling. It appears that it has sniffed a threat to our existence. I need to send my soul back into the boot of that tin-box now…

Until I escape and return, I leave you to discover Nicky Charles’ books, The Mating, The Keeping, and The Finding, in that order. They’ll help you figure out the reason behind my recent transformation into a werewolf.

And while you are at Smashwords, do look for Barbara G. Tarn’s “Books of the Immortals”, AIR and now FIRE!

What’s on the Caricaturist’s Table? Planning the New Posts.

I didn’t feel like doing much today. It’s always the case after a tragedy. I begin thinking about serious matters and such matters, in the deteriorating world of today, seldom brighten up your outlook towards life.

So I pulled myself up by the collar (the proverbial one) and made a plan for this week.

I intend the make the following posts this week. If you are a regular visitor, you’d like to return when your favorite post comes up:)

  • July 15, 2011: A Pen-and-Ink Portrait of Anna Hazare (Posted on: July 15, 2011), who has surprised not just the caricaturist but also the Government, by remaining honest all his life. If the Government has not yet been able to find anything to taint his reputation, I doubt that they would do so in future.
  • July 17, 2011: Interactive Art Tutorial – How to Draw Expressions – Part II – Animated Faces. (Posted on: July 18, 2011 – Delayed by a day – blame it on work and on the ‘orrible ‘orrible weather.) This tutorial is also a fun activity (and the character has turned colorful – based on a few email requests.) So, whether or not you are an artist all bent out of shape, you should download it and enjoy.
  • July 19, 2011: A Caricature of Sarah Palin, the colorful Alaskan Governor, who’s been criticized for being a bimbo, but who makes me wonder whether she really is one?

These are all positive posts, and I hope that they’ll all help us brighten up our week.

Mumbai Blasts 2011: Osama vs. Gandhi – Can we fight Mindless Terrorism with Non-Violence?

Not many of my international readers would be aware of the three blasts that shook Mumbai yesterday, and left 21 dead and more than a hundred injured. I wonder whether we need to assert ourselves more – whether we need to go after those who are responsible for such dastardly acts that take human lives and tell us that the perpetrators are spineless terrorists who don’t have the courage to fight the way the brave and the righteous do – but who stealthily plant bombs and slink away, while innocent, unarmed people die!

Is this a war they are waging on us?

Or is this some sort of parasitic invasion?

Who are these terrorists? Who are these people who order such cowardly acts? Who are the ones who bring down the twin towers in New York, who repeatedly kill innocents in Mumbai, and who then hide either under the ground or in houses that they don’t even call their own.

The Osamas of the World - Mumbai Blasts 2011They are the Osamas of the world. When Osama Bin Laden was killed by the US, a symbol of hatred and discord was destroyed. But actually evil goes deeper and spreads unseen by the eyes of the innocents and the saviors – because neither innocence nor heroism dwells in the dirty dark sewers of insanity. So the existence of that evil is discovered in different forms, in different places, at different times; perpetrated by different groups of people who are infected by the same evilness.

India, with its Gandhian Ideology and its secular policies has always been at a cross-roads. How much can we do without stepping out of the Gandhian guidelines of peace, harmony, and non-violence? How much can be achieved without destroying the secular fabric of this nation?Gandhi, Gandhian Ideology, Charkha - Can it deal with terrorism?

These terrorists, they don’t have love for anyone. They are the ones who’d kill their own spawn if the act could help them in their way ahead. Mahatma Gandhi‘s ideology worked well in ousting the British rulers from India, because they were educated, practical, and could talk rationally. How do you sit down for a talk with an ideology that only seeks to destroy?

With the recent blasts in Mumbai, I find myself withdrawing into a shell. I don’t want to watch the news, I don’t want to look at 4 or 6 or 8 panelists throwing inane paper-planes of ideas on one another, and I really don’t want to read a newspaper that moronically tells me that this evil act was to celebrate Ajmal Kasab’s 24th Birthday or which touts numerology as the reason behind so many people losing their lives.

I am done with all this. I know that I am not too secure either. One of these days, when I am out shopping for a new set of pencils, I might become a victim too. I won’t feel secure, until our Government takes some concrete steps to weed these sickos out of our system and isolate India from the threat of terrorism. Follow the lead of the US – do something. When and why did it become a crime to keep your own people safe?

The question that I ask is – if Gandhi were alive today, and if he had to handle terrorism, would he not modify his own philosophy?   I think that a man of his intellect would know that every ailment has to be treated differently.

Update: July 16, 2011

Read the Common Man’s Perspective here.