My Egyptian Short Stories Collection needs a Cover Artist!

I am planning more than I am doing.

And one of things I am planning on doing is: writing a collection of short-stories set in Ancient Egypt. No mistake there. I am writing, NOT illustrating this collection. But why not? Come to think of it, if writing comes to publishing, I’d need a cover, and all the serious writer-bloggers who’ve self-published recommend that we must never make the cover ourselves. We must shell out some moolah and hire a good cover artist for our books. I agree whole-heartedly. I mean, if all writers began illustrating their own book covers, we’ll be soon out of business.

Note that a lone eye like the one below isn’t something that I am going to put on the cover. It merely tells that the artist who did this was lazy.

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

So stretching the main logic some more and spreading it quite thin, when I write a book, I must hire a cover artist to do the cover. Hiring myself is beyond my own modest means, which means that I must find another. However, my mean-means would allow me to get only stick-figure artists!

Do you see my dilemma?

I think I’ll try to haggle with myself and try to get me to reduce my fee, but I know that my charges are very reasonable, and I’d feel terrible about bringing my own price-points down.

Do you realise that this is a Catch 22?

I think I should sling my camera around my neck, get into my time-machine, go to ancient Egypt, and shoot some pictures for my cover.

But another writer’s blog recommends that illustrated covers sell better than photographic ones, especially for the fantasy and historical fiction genres; and the fuel-bill for the time machine would burn a whole in my already quite hole-y pocket.

Have you noticed that I am stuck? 

And this is why I must plan the whole thing again! Meanwhile, if my author/artist friends shared their experiences and suggestions, I’d be grateful. I am serious about this short-story collection, so please take me seriously.

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Face in the Fire – A Short Story and the Caricature of Anger Divine.

“If I could, I would kill him!” the man in the tattered jacket and stained trousers hissed as he watched the flames that danced violently mirroring his own state of mind.

He didn’t expect his cry to be heard, nor his pain to be felt by another. He sat in a small recess that was between two cliffs that faced each other, touching and teasing at times then moving away, just a little, just enough to let a man escape the freezing wind that could peel the skin off his face; just enough to let a man build a fire that could warm his chilled bones and melt the blood that had frozen in his veins.

“If they wouldn’t hang me for killing him, I would kill him,” he muttered to himself, contemplating why he hadn’t killed him. He knew they would hang him, or take him out to the fields, ask him to make a run for his life, then put a bullet in him – they’d call it encounter. They ignored the law when it came to punishing a crime against their own kind.

And now, more than ever before, he couldn’t die. He had to live. He couldn’t even get arrested and be put away for years.

He turned his attention to the fire. He needed to stop thinking about that man.

But how did you stop thinking about someone who stole your reason to live?
How did you tell yourself to go on, when your reason to go on, had gone away… taken away… wrenched away…hacked away?

He couldn’t staunch the flow of his thoughts, but watching the fire soothed him. The fire hadn’t lost its strength yet. It still burned strong, nearly white in the center; and a fiery orange outside. It threw a golden glow on the walls of cliffs that faced each other. The flames still danced passionately, angrily, demanding to be assimilated, absorbed in each other.

And then he saw a face – among the flames, made of flames; so full of anger that it could have been his own. The matted hair that coiled on the top, the impression of a third eye – he knew the face, and he knew that the anger that filled this face that was made of flames, was the force of justice.

Caricature Portrait of an Angry sadhu -

“What did he do?” he heard a voice, which sounded like it came from the face in the fire.

The calm voice from the angry face, made him feel better. Gradually he began remember everything in vivid detail – everything including that which reminded him why he couldn’t kill the man who had rendered his life meaningless. Images rushed to fill in the space that his receding pain and anger left vacant. He saw the woman he loved and their son waving him goodbye – the image was lit with the soft morning light that fills hearts with joy and hope. Then he saw the broken door, the picture of him and his wife on the floor with its glass shattered, and inside, he saw blood on the sheets. The light he saw it all in had the ink of night spilling into it – throwing his soul into the dark abyss of hopelessness. She wasn’t there, nor was his son. Then he saw her – bloodied, clutching her throat and dying near the scarecrow they had both built together. Finally, he saw in her fist, the piece of paper that stopped him from going after him and killing him. He had taken away their son! He had known him for fifteen years and considered him a friend.

“He should pay,” said the angry face in the fire, or he thought it said. But could he? If he killed him, and they killed his son, what then?!

The stream of his thoughts was dammed by a scream that came from above. He looked up and saw a man falling, hitting the walls, rebounding from one then from the other. He crashed to the ground just a few feet away from him on the other side of the fire he had built. Before his body struck the ground, the man’s face turned toward him. His head smashed against a boulder that lay at the bottom of the cliff’s wall and spattered it with blood, before his eyes closed forever. The police uniform that he had always admired on his friend was soaked in blood, even his badge was twisted out of shape.

The man watched spellbound. He had wanted this man to die – but his death didn’t soothe him the way he thought it would. His death couldn’t become life for her…and his son? He was still missing.

He turned to look at the fire.
The face was gone.
Or was it never there? 

He looked up, wondering if the face was up there among the stars, but it wasn’t. Instead he saw a tiny silhouette of a little head. He could’ve recognized it anywhere. Against the backdrop of a moonlit sky, he saw the child. They used to come here, father and son; they knew the place like the back of their hands. His son was safe. Now he had to only get up there and pick the threads of his life again. He had a reason to go on.

Before he prepared himself for the climb, he turned to look at the fire again. It was suddenly close to dying, like it didn’t have a reason to blaze and sing anymore.

But he was sure.

There was a face in the fire.

Read some, draw some, write some, but blog none? Ho hum!

I last posted about the Song of Ice and Water series by GRR Martin. I can now declare that I am two books into the series already. With the way life’s been this past month, Martin gets the credit for this feat of mine. He weaves such a complex web of tales studded with such intriguing characters, that once caught in it, you can’t leave, until you’ve traversed along every shiny sliver that holds his web of ice and water together.

So I read some.

Then I painted a magazine cover with the portraits of three gentlemen, and now I am painting another cover with a whole mad group of toony looking people on it. I got some inquiries that made me scratch my head rather furiously and lose some hair. I’m also looking forward to painting a couple of beautiful covers for SFF author Barbara G. Tarn, who is also a long time friend.

So I drew some.

I spent some time writing some short stories around the concepts that inspired my hat paintings. I should’ve been writing a new story for the new quarter of the Writers of the Future contest, but for some inexplicable reason, I was more drawn to explore the human mind and its machinations – and so ended up writing these stories, which are more in the realm of psychological fiction.

So I wrote some.

But I couldn’t blog. There are times when you want to find a quiet corner and create. I guess that the last whole month was that time for me 🙂

 

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.

 

Aunt Rosie’s Fables – The First Dozen (Stories for Kids) is Free to Download Today – View my Children’s Illustrations.

“Rose S. Ferguson’s Fables – The First Dozen” is available for a Free Download. Please note that it’s a promotional offer by the author and it will be available free only on May 27th and 28th.

If you want to check out my Children’s Illustrations along with twelve cute and funky children’s stories – download it now. The stories are cute, crazy, and completely off the track!

Click here to Download “Aunt Rosie’s Fables – The First Dozen” from Amazon.

You don’t need a Kindle to download it – Any hand-held device/computer will do. You can download the Free Kindle Reading App for any of the non-Kindle handheld devices (Tablets/Smartphones) from: http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?docId=1000493771)

Here’s the cover once again 🙂 (Yes. I just LOVE it!)

Cover Art for Aunt Rosie's Fables - The First Dozen

 

The 12 stories are:
1. Supercool Sewster and his Super-dream 
2. Emoti and Emoto – The Mushroom-dwellers 
3. Moms are Cool! 
4. When Fibby was Caught Lying 
5. Romulus – The Rodent Soldier 
6. When Terry Challenged Harry 
7. Rolly – The Tourist from Antarctica 
8. Rooney Reinster Learned a Lesson 
9. Mumbo – The Mouse-elf 
10. How Justin Rooster became a Good Singer? 
11. Zick, Zack, Zuck! 
12. Smucko and Sparky – An Odd Friendship 

My personal favorites are:

  • Romulus – The Rodent Soldier
  • Rooney Reinster Learned a Lesson, and
  • How Justin Rooster became a Good Singer?

So go check it out 🙂

This week’s going to be uber-busy. I’m doing two magazine covers and one interior illustration. The first week of June’s going to be a little relaxed with just one book cover artwork for my dear old friend who’s an awesome client too. So, I’ll reappear in a week from now. Until then…go meet all those fun characters in “Aunt Rosie’s Fables – The First Dozen!”

I know that a post on “Evolution of a Caricaturist – How to Draw Caricatures” is pending…perhaps the next one.

Cover and Other Illustrations for Aunt Rosie’s Children’s Book

I spent the last two weeks working on something different. Moms of young kids may want to check it out. It’s called “Aunt Rosie’s Fables   of Courage, Honesty, Hard Work, and Wisdom – The First Dozen.” It has 12 stories that can be read to kids at bedtime or if the kids are a little older, they could read them on their own too.

Here’s the Cover:

Cover Art for Aunt Rosie's Fables  - The First Dozen

Click here to view Aunt Rosie’s Fables on Amazon.

I’ll be back with some caricatures soon. Unfortunately, there’s been so much to do in such little time. I am not complaining, but yes, I do miss posting to my blog.

If you are Children’s Book Author and looking to hire an illustrator, I’d love to explore the possibility of working with you.

I’ll be cross-posting this to my Children’s Illustrations blog too.

Eurozone Debt Crisis – Part 1 of 3 – Explaining the Crisis and Paving way for the new Tsars of Europe – Sarkozy and Merkel!

Read the other two parts of this story at the following links:

Do you know what the Eurozone crisis is?
Of course it’s got to do with debt – but what’s the real story?

I know that a lot of people have tried to explain the Eurozone Crisis and have attempted to simplify it – but frankly, it’s just too convoluted to explain – unless of course, you use an analogy…or tell a story to explain the whole thing. I believe storytelling is the coolest way to explain anything to lay people like us. So here I go.

For Richer and For Poorer
(A Short Story – a Fictional Parallel of the Eurozone Crisis)

In the City of Plenty, there once lived a family. There was a man and he had many wives, and his wives had borne him many children. Some of them were daughters who were married off and were happy with their husbands, but others were sons. In the City of Plenty, there was never a problem of resources, and so all these sons were able to fend for themselves and their families; they lived in the city, they met one-another often, and they were happy.

Now three of these brothers worked hard, saved some money, invested wisely, and ensured that their families too did the same. So these brothers prospered more than the other brothers, who weren’t all that organized and whose families didn’t really follow many rules – in fact, some of the other brothers even gambled were always in debt. This went on for a while, but then the lenders became wary of them – so while the credit-rating of the three prosperous brothers was good, and whenever they needed some extra cash, people would happily loan it to them without even asking them for any interest, some of the other brothers would find it really difficult to borrow.

The father and his wives fretted about those other brothers…and so they came up with an idea and played upon the emotions of the prosperous brothers.

“Why don’t you all stay together, in the same house?” asked the father.
“But why?” asked one of the prosperous sons of this father.
“Don’t you know? If all of you live together, you’d be stronger and more powerful, and nobody would ever dare to mess with you,” answered the shrewd father.
“Okay, but why would they want to stay with us, won’t their families disapprove?” asked another of the prosperous sons.
“No. They’ve got something in it for them too,” answered the mother of one not-prosperous son.
“And what is that?” asked the most cynical of the three rich brothers.
“Well. People aren’t keen to loan them any money. If they stayed with you, people will assume that you are a family, and so they’d get the credit – and then they’d use that credit to do some business, and then they’ll become as rich and affluent as you are,” said the dad.
“Will they?” asked the wife of the most prosperous son.
“Of course, they would. They are as smart as you are – if they were given a chance, they’d prove it.”

Now one of the three rich brothers wasn’t convinced about the idea, so he said he’d wait and watch. The other two rich brothers agreed to it, and they all started staying together – in one big house, and they presented a united front to the whole city. The other brothers suddenly found themselves flush with funds. People would give these brothers money asking for little or no interest. People believed in the strength of the three rich brothers.

Unfortunately, those other brothers didn’t know what to do with the money. They hadn’t had such easy money before. So, one of the brothers took his family on a cruise, another bought a lot of apartment complexes hoping to sell them for a profit, and so on and so forth. They enjoyed the money until it was there, and then one day it was gone…and then one of the brothers defaulted on the loan that he had taken.

This wasteful brother went to the richest of all brothers and asked him for help. The rich brother helped, hoping that the brother would mend his ways. He didn’t. And then…in a few months…some of those other brothers defaulted on their payments too.

All hell broke loose when one of the rich brothers wanted some loan for a project, but he was shown the door by a lender who earlier believed in him. He was told that the city had lost faith in the family. The family now faced a collective crisis, with no simple solution in sight. Breaking up the family would result in loss of face and credibility for everyone, and financing the debt-ridden brothers would drain the resources of the rich brothers. After all, they had their own families to take care of, their own obligations to fulfill!

The richest brother who ran a tight ship, be it family or business; knew that his family will have to pay for the families of the other brothers, and he wasn’t happy about it. He was of the opinion that if the family got together and raised more debt, there had to be some sort of security that the other brothers would change their ways, work hard, be frugal, and start earning…but the other brothers felt that if they were made to do all this, they’d never have enough energy to start earning any way! Thus there was a deadlock…but then the other rich brother who had stayed in the family managed to broker a deal – whether the deal would work or not, is yet to be seen.

Now, here’s a quick quiz for you. If this story was about the Eurozone crisis, then:

  1. What’s the name of the family?
  2. Who are three rich brothers in the story?
  3. Who’s the brother who took him family on a cruise?
  4. Who’s the brother who bought the apartment complexes?
  5. What would be the name of the brother who bailed out the wastrel who took his family on a cruise?
  6. Which rich brother stayed out of the whole deal?

Here are the answers all jumbled up.
Ireland, Greece, Germany, France, Britain, the Eurozone

Important Note:

This is a fictitious story written to bring out the highlights of the Euro-crisis. I must state that the Eurozone crisis also has other roots. For instance, during 2002-8 credit was wonderfully easy to obtain, during the same period the world experienced the real-estate bubble burst (and it affected Ireland in the worst possible way), and recession hit us all – All this exacerbated the issue…and I have not drawn analogies for them in my story.

Read the other two parts of this story at the following links:

Toony Pretzels Cartoon – Essentials of Asset Evaluation by Shrew and Shrewd!

Toony Pretzels by Shafali - Cartoon of a Nagging Wife and a Cheating Husband - The Shrew and the Shrewd and some Asset Evaluation

If you haven’t done your share of Asset Evaluation, here’s a quick definition to get you going.

Asset Evaluation is the process of determining the current worth of a portfolio, company, investment, or balance sheet item. (Source: Investopedia here.)

I don’t know why but this cartoon reminds me of “The Trump Card,” a twisty tale on the matters of fidelity.

And if you aren’t touchy about the issue of fidelity (or infidelity, for that matter) enjoy some cool jokes about cheating at the following links.

Caricature/Cartoon of Ajit Ninan – The Great Indian Cartoonist.

Presenting Ajit Ninan, the Indian Cartoonist who breaks all established standards of quality in cartooning.

Caricature, Cartoon, Portrait, Sketch, or Drawing of Ajit Ninan, the Great Indian Cartoonist (Times of India.)

I foraged the web to ferret out some information on Ajit Ninan, but returned empty-handed. I don’t know when he celebrates his birthday, I don’t really know a lot about his early life, and except for a few details, I know nothing about his professional life.

So what does the Caricaturist do when faced with a blank page?

She closes her eyes and lets her thoughts travel into the past, where she sees a young boy with a dimpled smile, who would become the Ajit Ninan whose drawings tell her that there are people who refuse to kill their skill – come what may.

Here’s the story of this little boy, who became one of the two Indian Cartoonists who’ve made me experience both pride and joy in equal measures.

The Caricaturist concocts a story:

Leave the Roses and Embrace the Thorns

He loved the afternoons. Hyderabadi afternoons were scathingly hot during this time of the year but the heat didn’t deter him from enjoying them. He’d walk back from school with his friends, feeling under the hot glare of the Sun on his brow, his arms, and his spindly legs only half covered by the shorts of his school uniform; but he always looked forward to the afternoons. They were his to do whatever his heart desired. Deep inside he felt that whatever he might end up doing all his life – these afternoons would remain etched in his memories forever.

This was one of those unforgettable afternoons. Ajit had returned from school, and after a quick snack of Idiyappam that his mother had made for him, he was now lying on his stomach, with his feet up in the air – letting the coolness of the marble floor seep into his body. His sketchbook lay open in front of him and propped upon his left elbow, he drew in it feverishly. He had wanted to finish the drawing of that toy car before his father arrived home from work. He looked over his shoulder to check the clock in the living room. It was past four already!

He returned to his drawing, and then drew away to look at the whole picture. What should he do with wheel? Should it be a little bigger? Would it look funnier if he made it bigger…a lot bigger than the other one?

Thoughts swirled about in his mind, blocking everything else…reducing the sounds around him to an unrecognizable medley – the slight hum of his mother’s voice in the kitchen, the distant din of the vendors in the street, even the creaking sound of the door opening…

So when he heard his name being called in his father’s loud but stern voice, Ajit almost jumped out of his skin. The drawing pencil shot out of his hand and landed under his table that was set near the window, and his sketchbook lay open on the floor – the proof of his being a wayward son.

“What are you doing?”
“Nothing, Father.”
“Doesn’t look like nothing to me,” his father took a step forward. Ajit shrunk away. He wished he had listened to his intuition, but then his father never came home early. What was different today? And then it clicked. His parents had to attend a wedding today! While Ajit’s revved-up mind was busy figuring out all this, his father had picked up the sketchbook.

Ajit held the edge of the table to steady himself. This was going to be one of those days.

“You made all these?” His father asked.
Isn’t it obvious? It’s my sketchbook, isn’t it? Ajit thought.
“Yes, Father,” he said.
“You think that these scribblings would get you a job?”
“…
“You think that I am spending on your education, so that you could become a painter?”
“…
“How many marks did you get in Math last year?”
“…
“How many? I am asking you a question. Answer it.”
“45,” quaked Ajit.
“45. 45 out of 100! How you’ll ever make it into Engineering is beyond me.”

“Tell me. How will you ever become an engineer, if you go on neglecting Math for these…these…” his father struggled to find the right word.
“Drawings?” Ajit couldn’t stop himself from supplying the word, but regretting it immediately after.
“Drawings. Yes. You are good at making these – and this skill will help you a lot when you study engineering. These tractors, these jeeps, these pumps…” he continued as he flipped through Ajit’s sketchbook, while Ajit waited for the tirade to end.

It ended, as always, when his mother intervened. Oh, how he loved her. She was the only one in the whole family, who truly supported his love for drawing – but even she fretted about his future. If only he could prove them wrong.

Later that evening, as Ajit sat at his table near the window, absently trying to resolve those improper fractions into proper fractions, random pieces of conversation floated in from his parents’ bedroom.

“He takes after you…all these feminine habits.”
“He takes after both of us.”
“I never got 45 in Math.”
“But he’s as stubborn as you are.”
“I am telling you…he’s got this stupid thing for drawing! I am telling you, I don’t want him writing letters to the black sheep of our family.”
“I don’t think he writes to him.”
“I don’t know. Who knows anything about what that boy does? You have to ask him.”

Ajit turned his attention to his notebook. Those fractions kept changing into cartoon characters. Why? Didn’t 2 look almost like a serpent and the number 8…he found himself doodling two meshing gears into the 8! The “black sheep” of the family. That had to be his uncle Abu Abraham. He worked for this American Publication called the Guardian, but he was shortly returning to India. Abu’s atheism and the way he thumbed his nose at traditions had ensured his symbolic ouster from the family.

His whole body tensed up in anticipation as he waited for them to leave. Ajit’s parents were going out for a Punjabi wedding, which meant that they’d not return until late in night. He could now look forward to many hours of unadulterated drawing pleasure.

Ajit Ninan’s Nonexistent Biography

I couldn’t find his biography, so I tried to glean whatever information I could from a variety of sources, especially from this post by Abhijit Bhaduri.

Here’s the sum total of my learning.

Ajit Ninan was born in Hyderabad in 1955. His parents were from Kerala though. Ajit studied at Hyderabad Public School where he manipulated his way into the library, so that he could go through the Cartoons in magazines. When he was young, he prefered to draw mechanical drawings, which I presume, must’ve made his father believe that his son wanted to become and engineer when he grew up. Fortunately Ninan wasn’t good at Math (I say fortunately, because had he been good at it, he’d have ended up becoming an engineer; which would mean that India would’ve lost one of its few great cartoonists,)so he studied political science, and became a political cartoonist.

Ninan published in first cartoon in Shankar’s Weekly, a magazine that his equally illustrious uncle Abu Abraham also drew for.

Ninan’s Inspirations include Mario Miranda, James Thurber, and Arnold Roth (he used to spend his precious out-of-class-in-the-library hours poring over the drawings of JT and AR.) Ajit Ninan worked with India Today as a Cartoonist and an Illustrator. He then moved to The Indian Express. He currently works with The Times of India as their Group Art Consultant.

Here are some interesting links for you to follow.

What this caricaturist has in common with the Great Ninan?

Believe it or not, I have the exact same lamp on my table that Ninan has on his. I had bought it 15 years ago. I wanted to buy another of the same kind, but failed 😦

A Blog Carnival for Bloggers – Tell the Story-in-the-Caricature – April 2011 – Edition 8!

Header for Story in the Caricature Blog Carnival Contest for fiction writers

Dear Bloggers,

Welcome to the new edition of the Story-in-the-Caricature blog carnival. Call it a storytelling festival or a spark of inspiration for the writer within you – but write a story that wows your readers!

Here’s the caricature to inspire you 🙂

Cartoon caricature of three people in discussion for the story in the caricature blog carnival for fiction or story writers

The rules haven’t changed – but I should repeat them for the new storytellers.

Here are the Rules for the Participating in the Storytelling Carnival

1. Write a story, small or big, about this caricature.

2. Publish the story on your blog, along with this caricature.

3. Leave the link to your post, as a comment to this post here.

4. The festival ends on April 30, 2011.

The Four Rewards for this Story Carnival

1. All the story links added for stories published along with the above caricature, until the last date, will be published on this blog in May 2011, along with your blog-address, and a link to the About Page of your blog.

2. The blog addresses of the participating bloggers will find way into my “The Storytellers” blog-roll.

3. We will also request all the story-writers to publish the links of other story-writers in a blog-post on their respective blogs. This will help the story writers find more readers – but of course, this would be voluntary.

4. The first blogger to do everything right (publish the story on his/her blog with the caricature, and then leave the link of the story against this post) will get the opportunity to name one international celeb that he or she would like to see caricatured.

Important Note:

Pornographic/Obscene Language won’t work:) so keep it clean.

Happy Writing:) I’ll wait…as I always do:)

Caesar’s assassination, his heart-broken guilt-ridden scribe, and his Caricature!

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!

Blog Carnival, Some Reflection, Future Direction.

Blog carnival story telling story writing story in the caricature

NEW, IMPROVED?!

Dear Readers and Visitors,

I’ve been thinking about the “Tell-the-Story-in-the-Caricature” blog Carnival and though I tried very hard, I couldn’t let myself euthanize it. There’s a lot of life and promises left in the Carnival, but I guess I haven’t been able to do justice to it. So I took an off from the Carnival this month, and did something that artists are never given credit for doing. I chucked the pencil, sat down, and thought. Here’s what came of it.

1. The Carnival lives but it doesn’t stay confined to this blog. It moves. The writer who posts the first link gets to take the Carnival to her/his blog and then it remains there for that month. I’ll still do the caricature, but I send the caricature to the writer and she presents it on her blog. I’ll do a post promoting the carnival.

2. I’ll be able to bring the Carnival back by being the first to post a story for a caricature, and believe me, I have no qualms bringing it back:)

3. Oorvi won’t be writing any more stories for the Carnival. She tells me that she wants to write dog-stories, and I have told her that I don’t want to do dog-caricatures…so we are likes cats and dogs now – and we don’t see eye-to-eye.

My takeaway would be the happiness of seeing my caricature on your blog:) What do you think?

‘guess that’s about it. I’ll be posting the February 2011 Carnival soon and see if we can work with its New Improved Version.

Ideas for improvement would be appreciated, as long as they don’t include doing Free Caricatures because I don’t really have the bandwidth for it. I work about 14 hours a day, and the only reason I do caricatures is because I appreciate the freedom of doing what catches my fancy.

Will set the ball rolling if I get at least five votes in. More are appreciated:)

Another interesting idea (for the Artist Visitor of this blog) is brewing in my overworked mind…it’ll spillover shortly:)

Best Regards and Thanks for visiting and commenting.

Shafali the Caricaturist who wants to DRAW TO SMILE!

Update on Feb 02, 2011:  The idea got just one vote in the last three days 😦 So…crish…crash…crush…idea balled up…and here it goes sailing into the waste-basket! More on this later. Ajay, thanks for your kind support:)

December 2010 Story Carnival – “Walking in Circles” – A Short Story by Oorvi

Well…well.

Finally my dog shook off her sloth, got out of her bed, and posted her story.  You know how lazy she is…and so it shouldn’t surprise you that she’s posted her story as a .pdf.  The good news is that the .pdf also includes the caricature, and so if you click the download button, you’d get something more than the WiseK9’s Twisty Tale “Walking in Circles”!

Do read the story to figure out why you can’t control everything, and why Sid keeps walking in circles.

That’s all for now…

And yes, please let me know if you’d like the Blog Carnival to continue…because I am not sure 😦