… the Caricaturist travels to Qo’noS, 2375!
Last evening I received a missive bearing the insignia of the Klingon High Council. I was directed to appear before Martok the Chancellor. Armed with this little piece of information, I foraged the Internet and discovered that accepting this invitation would mean traveling forward in time and arriving in the year 2375. I also checked out Chancellor Martok’s picture on Wikipedia. I am used to meeting pseudo-humans of both the earth-dwelling and the alien variety, still his bizarre physiognomy with his ridged forehead left me a little dazed. I wanted to decline the invitation, but my curiosity pushed me to throw a couple of sketch-pads, two overalls, my box of Derwent color pencils, my Intuos tablet, my laptop, and a few other electronic knickknacks into a backpack, and climb into the pod they had so kindly sent to pick me up.
This particular time-pod was nothing like the clunker that I bought in a garage sale, years ago. This was a state-of-art machine with gleaming edges, softer than the softest cushions, organic air-conditioning, hidden pantries that automatically assessed your hunger-quotient, combined it with your other biometrics, and served you the right food that looked and tasted exactly like your favorite dish. All in all, the interiors were super-impressive! The ETA was 9:00 PM, which meant that I had about half an hour to relax.
I wondered if time-travel in this pod, allowed for Internet access. The moment the thought popped up in my head, I heard the Donkey-voice of Mike Myers tell me that I could access Internet during my journey through the wormhole, but the access won’t be available on the other side, so I’d better hurry.
I thanked him, and was about to pull out my iPad from the backpack when the donkey suddenly materialized in front of me. He looked as real as he does in Shrek. I shrieked and almost fainted as he brought his face close to mine, and with that hurt look in his eyes, he said to me, “Please! I don’t wanna go back there, you don’t know what it’s like to be treated as a freak!… Well, maybe you do… but that’s why we gotta stick together! You gotta let me stay!”
I sort of agreed with his assessment of my freakiness, but I recalled him saying something similar to Shrek, so a small voice told me that the donkey wasn’t real, and it was a futuristic computer program playing 3D tricks on my mind. That calmed me down. I looked straight into his eyes and said, “No you can’t, because you are a computer program, and you’ll automatically be left behind, when I leave this pod.”
The donkey’s routine was obviously written by a programmer who suffered from the frog-in-the-well syndrome and didn’t expect regular time-travelers to be smart, so the moment the donkey heard me, he flickered and then disappeared.
I took a deep breath, gathered my thoughts, pulled out my iPad, typed “Martok” in the Google search box of Safari.
It was all there…everything about him. About his humble beginnings, about his abduction in 2371, just four years ago in the future when I was supposed to meet him. About his becoming the chancellor, and about his family. I committed their names to memory. Lady Sirella and Drex.
I didn’t realize how much time had passed, until the door of the pod slid open. I hadn’t felt it decelerate so the opening of the pod door and the realization that the pod was now standing still on the ground, surprised me a little. The Clunker that I have at home…oh, never mind!
I hauled the bag up on my shoulders and stepped out in a large dome-shaped room where the floor gradually sloped up into the walls that converged to form the roof. As my eyes adjusted to the light conditions, I realized I was inside a sparkling white hemisphere, with no door or window, or anything else in sight – it was an endless, unbroken, and closed expanse of white in all three dimensions. I panicked and turned, thinking that I’d rather wait inside the pod, but…the pod had vanished. I was left standing there in the middle of white nothingness. A wave of nausea hit me and my knees gave way. Why in the name of caricatures, did I accept this idiotic invitation?
I knew the answer. Martok’s message had made me gloat. It told me that my fame had grown beyond the earth, beyond Atlantis, beyond the constraints of time, into the future…and let us be serious, who in his right mind would refuse an invitation by the Chancellor of Klingon High Council?
I heard the footsteps but I tried to ignore them because at this point, I didn’t want to be disappointed again. Artists hallucinate all the time – this could be another hallucination. The footsteps came closer. I still didn’t open my eyes, I wanted to be sure that there indeed was someone or something – I really didn’t care if it was Jabba the hutt…or actually I did, but then Jabba existed in a different paradigm…of Star Wars and not Star Trek, and so he couldn’t be there any way. My mind was mixing stuff up and feeding my anxiety and my fear!
A soft, soothing voice in my head found way through the confusion that raged in my mind. The voice told me to open my eyes and stand up. The charisma of the voice washed over me leaving me clean – devoid of negativity and fear.
I opened my eyes and saw them. They were smiling. All three of them were smiling, and Martok looked a lot less intimidating when he smiled. Lady Sirella raised her hand and the white around us cleared. Now we were standing in their cosy living room that had a rich oriental look. She motioned me to sit, and then she poured me a steaming hot cup of tea. Just what was needed to soothe my nerves. Chancellor Martok, in the meantime, got up and went to one of the cupboards that lined the walls. He came back with an arm-load of albums.
“Lady Sirella and I wanted to commission you for a few caricatures,” he said.
So…ladies and gentlemen of this blog’s viewership,
I am in Qo’noS the home planet of Martok. I’ve been given a comfortable to place to work, and my job is to create caricatures and portraits of Martok and all his near and far relatives. I try to make them look as nice as possible, but very often it’s impossible. The good news however is that they consider me downright ugly and they deem themselves to be the most beautiful people in the entire universe. I hope they never learn what I think. If you’ve not seen my perspective on perspectives, go here.
I’ll return soon, I promise…only about a dozen more to go.
Governments and Research Establishments have been known to keep their discoveries under wraps.
- They’ve got aliens in glass-jars, God knows where, but they do.
- They’ve also got tiny dinosaurs skipping away merrily in some obscure national park, nobody knows which park, but they do.
- Now they’ve got cute little baby neanderthals in their labs, crawling on their cute rotund little tummies; nobody known where those labs are, but they do.
When I learned about this, I was shocked. Our dear planet earth is already groaning under the ever-growing population of humans. Do we really need the crop of para-humans on this earth? They weren’t smart enough, so we survived and they didn’t. But then smartness isn’t a measure of the resources one consumes. We may be able to keep them under control for a few centuries, but then they’ll start demanding equal rights. And then, we’ll have to look at their viewpoint too. Think about it. It’s time for the homo-sapiens to protest against the cloning of Neanderthals.
Let us protest.
PS: Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not being rude to the Neanderthals.If they came as aliens from another planet, I’d welcome them with open arms. I’d even become their spokesperson and business liaison to help them engage in trade with Earthlings.
PS2: Remind me to take this post off my blog in another 15 years. By that time, the cute little Neanderthal babies would’ve grown up and they’ll consider this post “speciest” (biased against another species.)
Source of Inspiration:
“Scientists in Germany say that they have completed the genome sequence of a Neanderthal, and are making the entire sequence available to the scientific community for research.” Source: http://www.clevelandleader.com/node/20578
Keira Knightley debuts on your favorite Caricature blog.
I know that we’ve been waiting for the lady to make an appearance here, for a very long time. I’ve been talking about her caricature for near about three months now. Whenever her appearance was announced here, there would be some last-minute change in her schedule, and we’d go back sulking. But then last-minute changes in schedule are the mark of a true diva…right?
I am glad to announce that I’ve finally found the evasive caricature of Ms. Keira Knightley, the lady whose inability to make her mind up almost cost Captain Jack Sparrow his life.
Presenting Ms. Knightley.
A Short Biography of Keira Knightley
(Thanks to the one and only Wikipedia.)
Keira Knightley was born in London, England, in a family of actors. Quite like many other actors and artists who make it big, Keira too was diagnosed with dyslexia. This obviously isn’t much of a handicap when you are an actor, perhaps this is why at the age of six when it was discovered that she was a dyslexic, she became an actor. She acted in many movies before she got the opportunity to work in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Keira was 14 when she acted in this movie.
In 2001, at the age of 16, she got her first role as a grown up. This was in a movie called Princess of Thieves. She worked in a few other movies but it wasn’t until she acted in Bend it Like Beckham, that she got her big break, and people began to recognize her. Four years later, she played the character of Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, and establish herself as more than just a pretty face.
Other more interesting bytes about Keira:
- Keira has appeared in the FHM’s (For Him Magazine of UK) 100 sexiest women of the world (I am not linking to the magazine’s site for obvious reasons.) again and again, and she topped the list in 2006. (I know that most women will find it difficult to believe, but it’s impossible to figure out a man’s mind – isn’t it? And oh, I should also tell you that Rosie Huntington-Whiteley of the panties fame, topped the list for 2011. I can’t stop wondering how Jennifer Lopez (twice, 2000 and 2001) and these two could get to the same spot in the same magazine!! Perhaps, it’s a mark of changing times.)
- She says that she’s got no life outside of acting, which implies that her friends and family can never be sure whether they are talking to the actor or the character.
- She’s NOT an anorexic and she’s got nothing to do with girls who stop eating so that they may look emaciated and thus make it to FHM’s 100 sexiest women of the world, and die in the process.
- She is expected to marry singer James Righton, and the caricaturist hopes that they’ll beat the average marriage longevity among Hollywood couples.
Curiosity is such a b…well, a…lady dog. I checked it out myself and was shocked to learn that Keira’s BMI is 17.23!
A BMI of less than 18.5 means that you are underweight. This site has this advice for Keira:
“You should consult your physician to determine if you should gain weight, as low body mass can decrease your body’s immune system, which could lead to illness such as disappearance of periods (women), bone loss, malnutrition and other conditions. The lower your BMI the greater these risks become.”
Wow! If I were Keira, I’d act pronto. If you know her, stop telling her that she looks great and send her to the Doctor. That poor little rich girl needs help.
The Boon of Left-handedness
Left-handedness is a trait that makes you special. Among the right-handers, a left-hander is the center of everyone’s attention. Secretly, every right-handed person wishes for the boon of left-handedness, because it makes one special…in whichever way.
So, if you were born left-handed, rejoice. Because people around you envy the fact that to look different, all you need to do is be yourself. Those right-handers also envy you because you are smarter, more creative, and infinitely more interesting than them, but then this too is something that they’d never confess to you, ever.
The data-squirrels have sacks full of data suggesting that the lefties are:
- Smarter (They’ve got a disproportionately high incidence of lefties among Nobel Prize Winners, Writers, and Painters.)
- Better at sports (Many lefties are fantastic sports persons – perhaps because their left-handedness surprises their opponents.)
- Better Earners (Among the educated, lefties earn more than their right-handed counterparts.)
Yet, the left-handers of the world have been called names. They’ve been called sinister-handed, southpaw, cack/cacky-handed (clumsy) Why? Because every damn thing ever made was made for the right-handed people, and the lefties appeared obviously “clumsy” when they used them. I wish there were a place where everything was made for the left-handed people, and then a few right-handed, “dexterous” people were let loose in it. I’d like to see how they continue to remain dexterous!
Nevertheless, the left-handed people do a good job with these right-handed instruments, because they have better visual sense and the ability to analyze space. I agree that it’s a freaking pain to cut fabric using the scissors manufactured for the “dexterous” majority (and, trust me, it’s a bigger pain trying to find a pair of scissors for the left-handed,) yet the lefties will give you a straighter cut than most of your right-ies.
Some of the lefties are ambidextrous, which means that they are able to use both their hands with equal efficacy (well, according to this link, ambidextrous also means – deceitful and bisexual – do you see how the right-ies try to bring us down at every available opportunity?) The ambidextrous appear magical to the normal, rightly-gifted lot…and magic is more often feared than revered. This makes the ambidextrous lot angry, but there isn’t much they can do about it. So they go into their shells to save themselves from those wide-eyed, crazy looks that they get, and they hide themselves from the world.
The fact that I can draw with both hands at the same time, the fact that I can write in reverse without ever practicing it, could’ve been a normal thing for me; but when I was in seventh grade and stupid enough to demonstrate it in front of my friends, I lost them because their parents thought that I was a witch. And so I kept it hidden, but every once in a while when I get lost in an idea, I start using both my hands to draw it out. Yet the moment I catch myself in the unspeakable act of allowing my sinistrality (note that it isn’t even a proper word) to work together with my dexterity, I stop to look around and check whether anyone’s watching me. Wonder why people don’t give that funny look to themselves when they type with both hands, or when they swim using all their limbs.
I spent a long time worrying about hiding my weird writing and drawing habits, and now I’ve reached a point where I don’t care anymore, especially because these sinister abilities didn’t harm me in any way.
Here’s something for people who worry about their kids being left-handed/mirror-writers.
I survived and I survived well.
Without going into irrelevant details, here are some facts about this woman who masquerades as the caricaturist:
- I’m good at Math and Physics. I studied Engineering and then worked as an engineer.
- I successfully competed in many national entrance exams, and I even topped one of them.
- I can read, write, and speak two languages, and I can learn the script of any language almost overnight.
- I can draw better than many and I am not clumsy at all (but don’t put me behind the steering wheel or I’ll drive you right into the oncoming traffic).
- I can’t understand or appreciate music at all, nor can I recognize voices beyond those of my family members. (I don’t really miss it.)
- I was probably born left-handed, but I learned to write and eat with my right hand. (Not bad. Righties may try doing the opposite and see how easy it is.)
- I am less practical than about 90% of the human race. (That’s what makes me an artist :-))
- I am straight. (not a great loss, I think. Read this.)
Do you see?
If you are a lefty or a parent of a lefty, there’s no reason for you to worry. You (or your child) are gifted.
Before I end this post, here’s a quote that I read on a t-shirt (and so I don’t know who wrote it, but whoever did – thanks. I also found a link with many more quotes about left-handedness and added it here.)
“”Everyone is born right-handed…but only the greatest overcome it.“
and yes, there’s a World Left-Hander Day. It’s August 13th (and no, it’s not a Friday.)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the sparkling new French President Francois Hollande recently made big news by reaching an agreement that is expected to rejuvenate the economies of the region, especially those of Italy and Spain. Yet, whether the €120 billion growth pact will indeed bring about the momentum needed to pull the Euro-zone out of crisis, is a moot point. In fact, not many are willing to believe that this would work.
Here’s my take on the “monstrous” Euro-zone Crisis and the two leaders on whose shoulders rests the responsibility of reviving the Euro-zone’s finances.
When Francois Hollande flew to Berlin, to meet Angela Merkel, the world watched it with a lot of interest. The reason was simple. The chemistry between Angela Merkel and Hollande’s predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy was fantastic. Perhaps it was because Sarkozy’s personality is Merkel’s opposite. Sarkozy’s quick wit and humor would make Merkel smile, and they appeared to enjoy each other’s company. However, when Sarkozy lost the Presidential crown to Mr. Hollande earlier this year, this happy political relationship came to an abrupt end.
Merkel’s first meeting with Hollande was dubbed drab by the media. Hollande and Merkel didn’t warm up to each other, the way people had hoped they would. So, when the time came for Merkel to visit Hollande in Paris, everyone was even more worried than before. When they met, however, they shared their thoughts and talked about Growth vs. Austerity.
The recently concluded Brussels Summit apparently brought some good news for the Euro-zone but after the initial euphoria has died down, we can now hear the experts say that the package is good, but not good enough. What may be good enough for rest of the Europe, however, isn’t good enough for Merkel as Germans won’t be happy footing a bill that’s not theirs, and the unhappiness of Germans can jettison Merkel out of the Chancellor’s chair in the 2013 Bundestag elections.
If you are interested in a metaphorical story that explains the genesis of the Euro zone crisis, read “The Euro-Zone Crisis.“
Presenting Mark Zuckerberg, the coder who decoded our lives by creating Facebook and in the process became one of the most talked about people in the world of business.
Mark Zuckerberg’s Biography (based on information “leaked/sold” by Facebook?)
When Mark was born on May 14, 1984, people around the world saw their walls disappear. They suddenly found themselves sharing their most private moments with the world. Though this phenomenon lasted only a few seconds, many thought that it foretold the future of Mark Zuckerberg and the world. Accordingly to my sources, Zuckerberg’s childhood was uneventful except for the sudden flashes of brilliance that he let escape. When he was little (well, he still is – perhaps, when he was littler,) his dad engaged a computer tutor for him. The tutor tells us the Little Mark was a child-prodigy (note – he has superior mathematical, logical, and linguistic intelligences.) Little Mark loved to make computer games and applications.
Around 2001, Mark built the Artificially intelligent Synapse Media player that could figure out the listener’s musical preferences. As it usually happens in cases such as these – the biggies came treasure-hunting. Both Microsoft and AOL tried buying it from the kid – but the kid said “NO!” Now that’s another thing that I like in this guy – his ability to say NO to something that looks so obviously appetizing. It requires significant willpower…no?
Anyway, in 2002, Mark joined Harvard. Here he made a couple of other networking applications including Facemesh in which students could choose the hotter male/female from two pictures (according to the movie, The Social Network, he did this to spite his girlfriend who had fallen out with) – this met with some disapproval, perhaps from those who were voted down in the hotness race. Undaunted, Mark went on to create Facebook, which was launched Feb 4, 2004. The rest, of course, is history.
Mark’s Personal Life:
Mark lives in Palo Alto, California – with his girlfriend Priscilla Chan and his dog-friend Beast (beast? He looks like a soft-toy!). Mark’s New Year resolution for 2012 is that he’s going to code every day of the year. Now that resolution makes the caricaturist rather sentimental. I really admire programmers! (not the code-lifters – so if you’ve been lifting code from the web or from the books, and you call yourself a coder, don’t start sending me love-notes and flowers. Also note that I’ve had my share of those goodies about half-a-century ago – so scat!)
The Social Network – The Movie
I think that the essence of what I feel about Zuckerberg (and also about Steve Jobs) is:
“You don’t get to 500 Million Friends without making a Few Enemies.”
While the movie (with Jesse Eisenberg playing Zuckerberg) has colored people’s perception of Zuckerberg and Facebook, the movie may have painted a picture of Zuckerberg far more colorful (and dirty?) than he actually is. According to Mark Zuckerberg, “this is my life, so I know it’s not so dramatic.”
About Facebook’s IPO
When you read this post, the Facebook IPO for the retail investor must either be a few hours away or it must’ve already hit the stock market. Facebook’s Initial Public Offering was priced at USD 38.00 a share (the price at which it was offered to the institutional buyers) and it is expected to raise 16 Billion! It is expected that the Facebook share may debut on the stock market at a much higher price. While there’s a flurry of expectation in the market, everything mightn’t be going right for Facebook. The fact that General Motors has decided to pull its advertisements out of Facebook is being touted about and some say that this may spark off a trend, which obviously could result in Facebook’s revenues going downhill. However, I think that Facebook must have some plans of using the cash it’d generate from the IPO, and with Mark back at the keyboard (I know, I know – whether he’d be a good CEO of such a big company is something that’s being debated), we may see some new stuff coming out of the Facebook menagerie.
Facebook Privacy Concerns
There have been concerns that Facebook sells the personal information of its users to advertisers and companies (and perhaps, even to the government.) When Mark was 19, he sent an email in which he bragged about how he could share the information of thousands of students, if he chose to do so. And then other emails have been leaked too – some more recently. Surprisingly, we have come to know about a lot of bad-stuff only after the IPO was announced. The point to note here is that despite such concerns we aren’t able to wean ourselves away from Facebook…why? Are we zombies?
Warning: You are perilously close to reading explosive stuff. Read further only if can handle your emotions and promise that you won’t break my blog, in a fit of misdirected rage.
The Caricaturist’s Personal Opinion on Zuckerberg and Facebook!
The caricaturist thinks that:
- being a genius doesn’t make you a robot and that only robots can be perfect (if at all.) Ego, greed, and genius, they are all human traits – and to expect that one who built a multi-Billion dollar company will be immune to these foibles only because he built a multi-Billion dollar company, is sheer stupidity.
- there’s no free lunch. Only fools would expect an organization to provide us “social networking” for free. If we want to post our most personal thoughts and experiences to social-networking sites, we are the ones who are delusional. What does a site like Facebook has, that it can sell? It can sell focused advertisements – and how can the companies focus the ads on us? By knowing about us. Google does it all the time – except that makes those connections on its own. LinkedIn openly sells our details. What’s wrong with Facebook doing it? Nothing. Except that some dis-satisfied soul who either couldn’t convince MZ to part with his F/B stock, or whose mom perchance wasn’t greeted by MZ, decided to set a spark, which was blown up into a blazing fire by the media.
- there’s nothing wrong with Zuckerberg. We’ve got a child prodigy here, who did such stuff at 22 that we couldn’t at 44 or at 66! Let us face it – we hate prodigies unless they are ours, or we ourselves are one of them. Even if we were prodigies ourselves, we hate the successful prodigies because they had opportunities that we didn’t. So when we look at Mark Z, we exclaim, “Hey, he may be brilliant, but he’s a shallow human being,” “He’s selling our information, he’s making money using our information,” or as one of the CNN anchors put it, “he’s selling you, he’s selling me, he’s selling our information.” And yet, we are same people who are responsible for all this action and…if at all…the over-pricing of the Facebook stock.
The term “Theory” is defined as: Fundamental or abstract principles underlying a science or an art.
It’s time for a reality check. We need to know whether the doctor who’d be cutting us open, studied in a medical school with a lab and got some practice…or whether he got that degree online…or did he just buy it off the shelf?
- Want a Fake Medical Degree? Mr. Arora should be able to help you out.
- Don’t want to waste your time in a Medical College? Check out this page here.
Long ago I wrote a post in which I attempted to define art, purely from a theoretical and also idealistic viewpoint. You can read “Definition of art – A Theoretical Standpoint” here. In that post I had promised that one-day I would write its sequel, which would present the practical viewpoint. This is that post.
- If you are a budding artist, full of hope and brimming with confidence that you’d follow in Hussain’s or Raza’s footsteps, step back now. Don’t read this post. You can come back to read it after you’ve spent at least a decade trying to figure out whatever the heck didn’t work for you. It isn’t for you.
- If painting is your only skill, and if you’ve got some surety that you’ll have someone to support your artistic pursuits all your life, without of course, expecting success in return (you know about Van Gogh, I presume) still this post isn’t for you. You might yet become what you aspire to be.
- And finally, if you are indeed someone who comes from a well-connected family, even if you don’t draw, I’d recommend that you paint a few canvasses. The exhibitions, the fame, and even the sale of your paintings; they’ll all happen without your ever discovering why.
However, if you aren’t among the three types listed above, instead you are the more common type (the stereotypical struggling, starving artist who has crossed into his thirties and has a wife and a child to fend for,) you might want to print this post and tack it to your soft-board…or in the more realistic scenario of your not being able to afford a soft-board, you must fold the printout and put it in the only pocket of your trousers that still doesn’t have holes.
Here’s the practical definition of Art.
Art – A Practical Definition:
Art is what sells at the famous art galleries for sky-high prices.
Practically speaking art is nothing more than this.
How you get to sell your art in those famed galleries could be a matter of:
- The X-factor
Let me explain the above four points in greater detail.
Art Element 1: Luck
You’ve got this fabulous collection of innovative work, and you are wondering how to exhibit it. You get a call from someone who’s seen your work, admired it; and who knows someone who is somebody in the artistic circles. This person comes to your studio, checks out your work, swoons, and decides to exhibit your work in a prominent gallery. Voila! Lady Luck has short-listed you. Now your chances are bright that you’d indeed get lucky.
I’d put your chances that you’d turn lucky at about 1 in 10,000
Art Element 2: Slog (Euphemistically known as Hard Work.)
You’ve got this fabulous collection of artwork, and you lug it around to every gallery, famous, not famous, and infamous; show your work to every body from the doorkeeper to the owner, and you get the boot. Then one gallery decides to give you a group-show. You don’t sell anything. Then the next year you lug your work around to every gallery – finally, you get a group show, and you sell one painting. Every year the number grows. After 10 years, you get your first solo, and you sell one painting. You go on doing solos. The number of paintings sold grows. Then when you turn 75, you’ve got a 50% sellout! Wow! You are an artist!
You can now tell your family that finally it’s your turn to take care of the expenses. You can now also tell your elder brother that he needn’t send you that Dole-the-Family-Artist check every month.
Art Element 3: The Combination of Slog and Luck
Now if you work hard and you get your solo in a year and a sellout in 10 years; you are a lucky slogger. Chances that you become a “real” artist who earns his bread, butter, mayonnaise…and then later his house and car, in this way – Better than pure luck, worse than only slog. Somewhere in the middle, if you ask me.
But if you’ve got that magical x-factor, then…before I kill the surprise, let me tell you about the x-factor.
Art Element 4: The X-Factor!
The x-factor is a publicly unknown factor, which is seldom made known to the general public by the artist, but which can be discovered if only the public had a keen eye.
The x-factor may include one or more of the following:
- High-society connections
- Money, money, money
- Empowered (and empowering) relatives
- The unmentionables (couches?)
I really don’t think that one post is sufficient to cover all these components. I might tell you some stories with the names changed to help you understand why these factors are so effective. I mean you really have work hard not to succeed, if at all you had the x-factor!
Chances of your becoming a famous artist if you have the x-factor: 9,997 out of 10,000! (I keeping the 3 out of 10, 000 chance as my Get-out-of-Jail-Free card.)
Before I end this post, I’d like to publicly apologize to all the successful artists including the dot-dabber, the horse-rider, the box-maker, the shit-sprayer, the bone-master, and the can-caner!
But…you want to say something. Say it.
Okay. I’ll say it for you. You wanted to say that there are so many of those artists that don’t really appear to have the x-factor…
Observe and Identify…the x-factor.
- Figure out whether the lady in question is the wife or the daughter of a diplomat,
- find out whether her mom is a famous writer and how she was born in a mansion that’s right there in the heart of the city,
- figure out how an Indian woman born a 100 years ago could get her nude pictures shot by her brother and not get shot in turn, only because she was born a princess;
- decide why though you can draw and paint almost as well or better than a South Indian king, but you end up in a two-room apartment with a broken, discolored center-table in your drawing room (just in case you are wondering whether I am talking about the table in my drawing room I should tell you that I am talking about another, perhaps a lot more talented gentleman who is about 15 years my senior.)
Begin joining the dots my friend, and turn wise BEFORE you turn old. If you are young, I’d recommend that you try your best to attract a useful spouse who comes in either with connections or with money. If you fail at that, then the best thing that you can do is – join an advertising agency and build the right contacts.
Don’t bet your life on that one random event, which has a 1 in 10,000 chance of coming true (the chance could be even lower for all I know – I just picked a reasonable sounding figure…) If you can draw, first find a job with an ad-agency, an animation company, or a publishing house – and then try to win that lottery.
Check out one of those reincarnation schemes that assure your rebirth in a family of your choice. What? There aren’t any reincarnation schemes in the market?!! That’s too bad – isn’t it?
A Special Note for the Cynical Reader:
I am not biased against the fine art of selling the fine art. I have also written a moderate, optimistic, theoretical definition of art, which you can read at: “Definition of art – A Theoretical Standpoint”. I hope it will establish me a rational, left-brained, right-handed, useful, non-sinister member of the world community.
The caricaturist presents a colorful yet confused Shia LaBeouf.
Down the Memory Lane:
Where do I begin? With his transformation through Transformers or with his disturbing Disturbia? I think I first saw Shia LaBeouf in the first movie of the Transformers series. He looks a lot like the boy who used to live in my neighborhood – in another lifetime. I didn’t like that boy a lot. I thought he was a lot dumber than me (and he reflected the sentiment towards me.) He ended up running his father’s paint shop, a task that doesn’t require you to be a genius, and I ended up poking fun at others – so effectively both of us turned out to be right.
But I’ve digressed from the topic completely. That neighbor-o-mine isn’t the topic of this post, Shia LaBeouf is. So let us talk about him.
Shia LaBeouf’s Scanty Biography:
Shia LaBeouf was born on June 11, 1986. He began working as a Standup Comedian at the tender age of 10 (BTW, he used to look really cute as a child.) He played Louis Stevens on Even Stevens. His first movie was “Holes” in 2003, which was followed by Disturbia (A remake of the Rear Window – an Alfred Hitchcock movie) and then came the Transformers in 2007.
In 2008, Shia became famous as Sam Witwicky, the teenager whose yellow car draws him to the war between the Transformers. The next movie in the Transformers series (Revenge of the Fallen) got delayed because of his accident in which he broke his left hand. This must’ve been a really bad year for Shia because:
- He broke his arm,
- He injured his eye,
- He received the Razzie award for the worst screen couple with Megan Fox
I don’t know if the Transformers have really been nice to him – but they’ve definitely been nice to his bank balance, which I guess is a good enough reason for him to stick with them – but then should he be giving an eye and an arm for it, is a question that he ponders upon in this caricature.
Shia LaBeouf’s Personal Life:
Shia’s personal life is possibly the most not-happening sort of personal life in all of Hollywood.
- Shia’s got 3 tattoos (just 3! Imagine that. He is 25 and he’s got just 3 tattoos!! What is he? A Crabby Old Fart??!)
- He smokes…cigarettes, I mean.(Great! So does half the world. He’s got to take some cues from Lilo.)
- He has raised legal hackles only three times (…and he’s come out clean on all three occasions!)
- He likes to get into relationships with his female co-stars, including Megan Fox. (What? So he’s not even gay. Tell me, what’s so cool about a straight man in these troubled times?)
The only thing that makes me a little interested in his personal life is that he likes to date women who are already in a relationship. Thank God for small misdemeanors!
Follow Shia LaBeouf’s life at: http://www.shialabeouf.us/
When I woke up this morning, I found myself in a room sans ceiling and walls. I looked around trying to figure out where I was, but I couldn’t. The place looked liked the inside of an igloo (not that I’ve ever seen one actually,) but the walls looked like they were made of glass.
I began to wonder. Was I abducted again? You know how I am slipping into a habit of getting abducted by different sorts of people all the time. So I steered my reasoning in that direction, trying to figure out what this hemispherical glass cavity could be. The glass wasn’t transparent – it was more like I was caught under an inverted Opalware bowl!
I looked around, trying to find an anchor for my reasoning. What was I lying upon? Uh…oh. It did look like a coarse napkin folded into a triangle. And what was that huge insect-like animal that stood near the edge of the room? An ant? An ANT?! Yes! It was an ant, and it looked formidable. I could ride it – the way they rode that ant in “Honey I shrunk the Kids.” But they were four and I was alone – and I really wasn’t that sure of my inter-species communication skills – especially with no translator in sight!
So I decided to stay put.
I am still lying in my table-napkin bed, being as quiet and still as I can, waiting for that gigantic ant to leave, so that I may get up and explore the place to find a way out. If this is the same bowl that I had set on the kitchen table to dry, I think I should be able to find my way out. I don’t think it’ll take me long. And until then, I might not be able to post. But my dear visitor, I’ll have you know that the thoughts of this blog shall give me the courage that I require in the hour of need.
I hope that this message reaches you, because I really don’t trust the Internet connection under this bowl. It’s too weak – it appears that along with me the GBs too have shrunk into KBs.
I intend to be out of this place and regain my normal form soon. My sketchbook too has shrunk to 2 pixel by 1 pixel and there’s no way I can squeeze in a whole caricature in that size.
From under the Opalware Bowl
Placed upon the Kitchen Table
…and should return by the weekend.
You must’ve surmised that the Caricaturist must be on an errand of great importance – only then would she disappear so completely. Imagine. A whole week without a new post. You know that your dear caricaturist would never ever let you down, unless she was called away for a greater purpose – OR unless an unexpected, uncontrollable event took place.
I have to report that it was the latter.
It happened on the 8th of May, 2011. After publishing Gaddafi’s Caricature, I felt extremely tired – It was quite a job scavenging all that information on him, and I didn’t have the US Intelligence working for me. So I decided to make myself a hot cup of tea. Imagine my surprise when I realized that I had run out of tea-leaves – an organized, methodical person like me, who uses innumerable diaries, post-its, and other data-capture devices to keep a tab on everything that has a tendency to vanish. I remembered making a note of the task, “Buy Tea-leaves/Tea-bags”, and adding a red circle with VERY IMP. scribbled in red across it – but I missed it completely. I guess it was because I didn’t open that particular diary for a week, and I didn’t open it because I didn’t remember which diary it was!
Any way, before I confuse you completely, let me finish the story.
When I discovered that I had exhausted the supply of tea-leaves/tea-bags, I rushed out to the unfriendly neighborhood grocer to buy some. In my hurry, I didn’t see the open manhole, and before I realized it, I was tumbling through a dark vertical shaft. I tried to look around, but I was falling at a great speed, and the shaft was pitch-dark, so I couldn’t really make out the texture of walls. Worse, I expected to hit the bottom anytime…in other words, I knew that death was imminent.
I closed my eyes and thought about my sweetheart, my parents, my brother, my dog, and my new-found American friend (and her dogs and her favorite dog’s dad…), my other friends, my office, my co-workers, my landlord, my landlord’s sons and daughter-in-laws, my neighbor’s black cat, the squirrels on the terrace, the birds…the list went on…the prime-minister, the US president, the president’s wife, the Queen, Lady Gaga…and the list continued to grow…the Chinese Premier, Hitler, Muammar Gaddafi, Osama bin Laden, my MOTHER-in-LAW!!!!!
That shocked me! I must’ve reached the end of my list, but there was no end to my free-fall. In fact, it was at that point that I fainted.
When I opened my eyes, I was lying on a straw-mat in a cave. Two cavemen, three cave-women, and about a dozen cave-kids were gathered around me. I tried asking them where I was. The good news was that those cave-kids were smart, so one of them picked up what appeared be a fruit of some sort. He used a stone-knife to cut it into two halves, and pointed to the center. So that was it. I had reached the Center of the Earth!
After a lot of cajoling, the kids gave me a laptop that they had recovered from the stuff that kept coming through the man-hole, and I have managed to contact my family. They’ve contacted the Indian Government, and the Indian Government has contacted the Chilean Government – requesting them to send the rescue team that worked on rescuing the Chilean miners, to…well, pull me back to the terra firma.
I should return soon…until then, pray for the Caricaturist’s well-being.
(Credits: Message posted using the Laptop that the cavekids so kindly shared with me. This post wouldn’t have reached you, if it hadn’t been for those cave-kids and their dream of starting a WordPress Blog.)
Osama bin Laden, the dreaded Al-Qaeda terrorist carrying a reward of US $25 Million on his turbaned head, a close cousin of Achmed the dead terrorist, but infinitely more difficult to kill, is finally dead! He was shot by the US Military in Abbottabad Pakistan on May 1, 2011.
In the past, whenever I thought of caricaturing Bin Laden, I had set the task aside for that historical day when I would hear the news of his capture or death. Today, an hour ago, when President Obama announced Osama’s death, I sprung into action, and drew this caricature. I believe that this is my fastest caricature ever…and I also think that it has captured the essence of my thoughts.
Here’s a Short Biography of Osama Bin Laden
Osama Bin Laden was born in a rich Saudi Family on March 10, 1957. Osama was the only son of his father’s 10th(?) wife. Osama possibly enrolled for an engineering degree in Saudi Arabia, but he didn’t complete it. However, he was extremely devoted to Islam and spent time in interpreting Quran and Jihad. Osama married four times and fathered 2 dozen children. (Note that he denounced the Americans as people who indulged in “fornication,” among other things!)
Well…one thing must’ve led to another, and Osama ended up becoming a Jihadi. His family connections and wealth helped him gain importance and start the organization that we now know as Al-Qaeda.
What used to go on in Osama’s Mind?
- Nobody knows as he spoke little. But his actions told us that he was anti-democracy, anti-socialism and pro-taliban, pro-jihad!
- He believed that it was okay to target women and children for the purpose of Jihad.
- He was against music (on religious grounds!!!)
Osama is known to have spawned Al-Qaeda, the terrorist group responsible for the September 11 attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.
(Read more about Bin Laden at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osama_bin_Laden)
After the attack on the twin towers, USA declared war on Al-Qaeda. One of the important missions of this war was to “capture or kill” Bin Laden. Bin Laden was earlier working from Afghanistan, but then there were reports that he had moved to Pakistan. Pakistan however continued to deny it.
How the US Military killed Osama Bin Laden?
The American Intelligence discovered that Osama bin Laden was staying in a mansion at Abbottabad, which is 60 miles from the Pakistani capital, Islamabad. The compound around the mansion was almost 8-times the size of the compounds around the neighboring houses. Abbottabad is a town where many retired government and military officials live. The compound where Osama bin Laden was found and shot dead, is situated quite close to the Pakistani military academy.
The attack was carried out by American Assault Team consisting of special forces including the US Navy Seals. It was a 40-minute operation, which involved fire-fighting, which lead of the deaths of three men (Osama included) and one woman. The reason why the woman got killed was because she was being used as a human shield by Osama and his associates. One of the helicopters crashed due to a mechanical failure, but all the American personnel involved in the operation are safe.
His body/remains are now with the US.
All this of course raises a lot of questions. Especially as Pakistan has always been in denial that Osama was staying there (leave alone the fact that he was living there in “style” and “comfort” unlike Saddam Hussein who was imitating a mouse.) That Osama was staying in such close proximity of the military academy and in such a posh area, is something that makes you wonder how deep the roots of Al-Qaeda go?
Folks, I am sorry but I have to leave. I know that it’s on a very short notice, but when the Queen invites you to her dear grandson William’s wedding with Kate Middleton, you have to oblige (oops, the wrong choice of words…but I hope the Queen would understand that a delayed invitation could lead to such errors.)
Let me recount the events, which led me to make this post.
It was 5:00 AM and I was about to post the boy wizard’s caricature when I heard this knock on my door. At such an early hour, you don’t expect me to be dressed for the day, so obviously I was in my pajamas when I opened the door to a man who introduced himself as one of the Queen’s Royal Guards. He handed me the gilded wedding invitation, and apologized for the delay. According to him, first he was held up by the Taliban in the AfPak region, who mistook him for a possible Jackpot (read: an American Journalist). They released him last week, after realizing that he was just an innocent messenger. He could have reached me the day before yesterday, but then he couldn’t get the card across the Indian custom officials – who were mesmerized by the “glitter of gold.”
I am making this post from the special jet that the Queen chartered for me. I am highly indebted to the Queen for naming this jet, “The Caricaturist One” in my honor. I extend an open invitation to the entire royal family to stay in my humble abode whenever they visit Delhi.
Here’s a scan of the invitation card (I couldn’t resist sharing it.)
Now I need to check with the guard whether it’s okay to attend the wedding in my pajamas. With such a short notice, I didn’t have time to shop for a formal gown. If I don’t get time to shop in London, and if pajamas are off the dress-code list then I hope one of the royal ladies will condescend to share her wardrobe with me – just for the occasion.
Sorry folks. Have to stop now. Just now the pilot has asked me to fasten my seat belt as we’ve entered England and would be landing soon:)
Julius Caesar has been haunting my dreams…
(Memoirs from Another Life!)
At about 2 AM, I woke up…bathed in cold sweat, with my throat so parched that I could barely speak, let alone scream.
Thankfully it was a dream, and so I couldn’t be held responsible for what happened…but not everyone thought of me as blameless, especially not Mark Antony. Here’s what happened.
It was March 15, 44 BC, and Caesar was rushing to address the Senate. He was wearing his toga and looking as charismatic as ever. I was right behind him – a scribe who definitely didn’t look like a woman, and I know this because I caught my reflection in a pond that we passed on our way to the Theater of Pompey. I looked worried and rushed, but what was my rush beside Caesar’s need to be immortalized. I had been chosen to be his ghost-writer. It was a great honor, as you can see, but the task was fraught with dangers, and the gravest danger of all was Caesar’s anger. Caesar knew that many Romans were plotting to have him assassinated, and he was dictating me something on this topic, when I heard hurried yet hushed footsteps behind me.
From the corner of my eye, I saw Mark Antony hurrying behind us. He looked worried and I knew that he wanted to say something important. Suddenly I saw him raise his index finger to his throat. Before I could understand what it all meant, Caesar asked me if I were listening, and I had to turn my attention to my notes. I wrote as we walked. A difficult feat indeed. We must have presented quite a picture. Caesar in the front, followed by me hurrying along to be on his side, and the ink-bearer behind me hurrying along to be on my side.
Just before we arrived at our destination, the clatter of Mark Antony’s wooden sandals stopped. I looked around, but I could see him no more. I could see many other Roman Senators because we had almost reached the theater, the arena in which the Roman political games took place. I was not allowed any further, because the proceedings of the Senate were not for me to record.Caesar stopped and looked into my eyes.
“You are doing a good job. Have you checked on that lazy artist who was commissioned to do my portrait for the cover-page?” he asked me. I had checked, and our Caesar was looking terribly handsome in it. I nodded my head and told him that it was ready.
“Good. I’d like to see it this evening,” said Caesar, dismissing me. He then turned, climbed the steps and disappeared inside the Theater of Pompey.
I and the ink-bearer had just turned for returning to Caesar’s villa, when we heard the commotion from within the theater. Something had gone wrong. The senators were always noisy, but the scream sounded ominous, and the voice that screamed sounded like it belonged to…Caesar.
I turned to see Mark Antony – his eyes accusing me of something. …Something?!
And then it all fell in place with a deafening crash. The gesture that he had made with his index finger flashed in front of my eyes…he had asked me to warn Caesar. I didn’t do it! And he was way-laid by another Roman who was an accessory to the crime…so he couldn’t warn Caesar either.
But what was done was done.Caesar was dead, but he wasn’t yet free to ascend to the heavens. He had an unfulfilled wish.
He wanted to see his Caricature!
He haunted me the whole night, and I bet that he’s haunted me through all those centuries that have passed by – but being the forgetful person that I am, I don’t remember. Nevertheless, this haunting has to stop…and although the India-Sri Lanka match for the Cricket World Cup Finals is beckoning me…I have to publish Julius Caesar’s Caricature before I go to bed tonight!
India won the World cup Semi-finals against Pakistan. Sachin couldn’t make his 100th 100s but he helped the team win 🙂 by contributing 85 runs of 115 balls.
Sachin Tendulkar – The Man of the Match
Waiting for Sachin’s 100th 100, which may yet happen…in the finals…in Mumbai! Good Night:)
Update: Oh…and if India wins the World Cup…You might want to buy anti-glare glasses. You know why? Find the answer here.
Thanks Ian. I am sure that if Da Vinci were born in our times, his mother and his numerous girlfriends and boyfriends would queue up behind me to thank you:)
I dreamed of Leony Darling (looking young and dapper.) He was standing in Verrocchio’s workshop correcting the nose of the young angel in the painting that will later be called “Baptism of Christ.” When he heard me come in, he looked up and asked me to mix some paint for him, which I did only because I knew that he was going to be one of the Greats in future. He took the paint that I had mixed on a wooden palette, our fingers touched, and he froze; a glazed look came into his eyes and his voice changed. I understood that he was struck with a vision of the future. He said something to me in a rather quaint version of Italian, which Barb of Creative Barbwire translated for me.
He said, “I see you drawing the caricatures of this woman called Sarah Jessica Parker, who has a thin, emaciated, and elongated face and a man called A.R. Rahman, who is a short, rotund, and funny looking man. You would be publishing at least one of the two caricatures on your blog in the last week of January 2011!”
Believe it or not – half of the prophecy that Leony Darling made has already come true…and I am afraid that the other half shall come true too. I wish he had said something about whose caricature would be published first, but he didn’t. So it’s now up to you and me to decide. Who’d you like to see first?
Presenting Monalisa who mocks you from a portrait drawn by Leonardo da Vinci. It’s possible that you haven’t heard of Da Vinci, but it’s almost impossible that you don’t know about Mona Lisa and her enigmatic smile.
Here’s The Caricaturist’s rendition of the “Greatest work of Art” in the world.
Countless historians have spent countless number of hours, days, and years, trying to answer two questions:
1. Who is Mona Lisa?
2. What does her smile mean?
What everyone knows is that Monalisa is a portrait done by Leonardo da Vinci, one of the greatest artists of all times, who was really awful at completing his paintings. We’d never know how he motivated himself to complete this one but he managed it somehow. Monalisa won’t have become this famous if about 400 years of its being painted, a patriotic Italian won’t have tried to take it back to Italy, where he thought it belonged (forgetting completely that one of the many King Louis’ had bought it from Salai, the guy who had inherited the portrait from Leonardo da Vinci!) Anyway, Mona Lisa has lived in the Louvre Museum of Paris for most of its life and right now it’s better guarded and protected than the President of the US.
To cut a long post short, let’s quickly look at the possible answers to the two questions that many good people called art historians have spent the best parts of their lives, trying to answer!
Mona Lisa – Who’s she?
Honestly speaking, nobody knows. Here are some possibilities though.
Mona Lisa is:
- Leonardo da Vinci’s self-portrait.
- Salai, his buffoon-of-a-pupil and possible lover’s portrait.
- A pregnant Italian Noblewoman’s portrait (La Gioconda?)
- A poor unfortunate woman’s portrait.
Why is the woman (?) in the Mona Lisa portrait smiling? What’s behind that smile?
I guess this is a question that people have been asking ever since 1911 – the year in which Mona Lisa became famous because she was stolen.
Of course, interpretations abound; but here’s my viewpoint.
The “person” in the painting is smiling because:
- Leonardo da Vinci winked at him/her.
- Leonardo told a lawyer’s joke while he was painting.
- Salai, his pupil of a “special nature” told Leonardo a vegetarian joke (because Leonardo was a vegetarian) and he/she overheard it.
- Melzi, his other pupil of another “special nature” told Leonardo that Salai had finally made a recognizable portrait.
- Leonardo da Vinci didn’t realize that he had paint on his nose.
- The “person” was a man dreaming of a portrait of him riding a horse.
- The “person” was a woman dreaming of a portrait with jewels around her neck.
- The “person” was an alien wondering why Leonardo da Vinci couldn’t decide whether he wanted to be an engineer, an anatomist, a sculptor, a metal worker, or an artist…for artssakes!
And if these aren’t enough reasons for you to choose from, click here to discover what the experts have to say about Monalisa and her smile.
Amy asked me to leave the caricature untitled – so untitled it is. What in your opinion is the reason behind her smile?
Bobbing up and down on the icy cold surface of Arctic Ocean…now dragging myself out of the water, onto a piece of snow-covered ice floating on the ocean…now looking at the seals…and also at the penguins…and…oh no!
Now looking a gigantic polar bear who looks hungry!
I don’t know how I ended up here. I’ve no clue. All I remember is – leaving the New Year Party at 3 AM, driving to New Delhi railway station, taking a walk on the beach at Connaught Place, collecting some shells, and then getting up on a camel to ride home.
I have some faint memories of the last fifteen days, and in all those memories, I see myself as a frozen ice-statue. Now freezing has its advantages – for instance:
- You stop aging
- You stop breathing
- You stop thinking
- You stop drawing
- You also stop blogging!
So, now you know why I couldn’t blog all these days. Now, my friends, though trapped on the Arctic, I am thawed, alive, and well; and I’ve also found this laptop with a working Internet connection in the belly of the bear that must’ve snacked on another unfortunate netizen and his laptop, before he feasted on me. All this, and the cozy warm room in the bear’s stomach should help me regain my strength and help me get back to the world of the living soon.
Thanks for all those “I Miss you” notes that you were just about to write…my dear loving, caring visitors…I know how horrible it must’ve been for you…and though you didn’t express your sorrow…I know! Sniff…sniff!
Oh…Wow! I’ve got company.
Oh No! The idiot ate an insurance agent! I am doomed!
Coming up – December Blog Carnival Entries…
This is the time when all smart people buy new diaries and write their New Year Resolutions in their best handwriting. This post is for the Resolution Drafters of the world. I wish you all a very Happy New Year in which you are able to keep all your resolutions (or at least most of those that matter.)
Here’s a list of possible resolutions that you could add to your Charter of Resolutions.
You could resolve to:
1. Give up smoking! (once again, and hope that you’ll be able to keep this resolution for more than two days.)
2. Make your current, ex! (And ensure that you do it just once in the New Year.)
3. Find a New Job! (Which you’d realize becomes an old job before the year ends.)
4. Love your spouse as much as you love your dog…or cat (and fail. Because you’d realize that this is an impossible-to-keep resolution.)
5. Not become depressed. (Not even trying to figure out ways to contain your depression.)
6. Give up drinking (Same as “Give up Smoking.”)
7. Lose weight (for a fortnight, and then gain double back.)
8. Make up with your Mother-in-Law (by sending her a card sprinkled with itching powder.)
9. Get your first book published (and not mope when you sell three copies – bought by your mom, your sister, and your dog.)
10. Make no more resolutions that you can’t keep!
The good news is that this List of Resolutions is re-usable! You can use it again in 2011, 2012…and so on. It’s got a forever shelf life 🙂
Wish you a Happy New Year 2011!