December 2010 Blog Carnival – The Story “Little Mo and the Shooting Star” by Heart!

The Story-in-the-Caricature blog carnival – December 2010 Edition, inspired one story, but it was worth it:) I loved the story and so did the other readers of this fascinating blog “A Connection to my Heart

Dear Readers, Read the story, “Little Mo and the Shooting Star,”  here, and read about this extremely versatile author who has a unique blogging perspective, here.

And now…about the other story, which my dog wrote on December 29, 2010; but which she didn’t post until now – I will wait until the WiseK9 lady condescends to make that post and inform her forever assistant about it:)

The Trump Card – A Story by Oorvi for the October Blog Carnival!

This is Oorvi’s entry for the October 2010 Story-in-the-Caricature Blog Carnival. I am publishing it here because Oorvi is between blogs:) I shall link it to her new blog when she gives me the go-ahead for it. You can leave your comments for the story here.

Another story that this caricature has inspired, has been written by Barb. You can read the Story “Robin & Beth” here.

The last date for the 5th Story-in-the-Caricature Blog Carnival is October 31, 2010, so if you are planning to invite us into the world of your imagination, please find your notebook soon:) Read the Rules for Participation here.

The Trump Card!

(A Short Story by Oorvi)

The Day they read the Will

“This is impossible! He doesn’t have a brother,” Rita shrieked. Her shriek changed into a gasp of surprise as George’s twin Matt walked in. Matt had the same eyes, the same nose, and the same height as George, however, he was thinner by at least 20 pounds, his brows weren’t as bushy and he sported a beard. He also looked muscular and tanned, which George never did, at least not in the last eight years of her marriage with him.

Matt smiled and bowed to her. After all, Rita was his brother’s widow, and who his brother had left nothing except the clothes on her back and the paltry sum that they had in their joint account. Even the palatial house, in which she lived now, had been left to him, along with everything else that George owned. Matt was now as rich as George was when he were alive.

Rita couldn’t understand it at all. What had gone wrong? She knew that George had willed it all to her. She was sure about it. He had done it a few months before his death, and in those months, she had given him no reason to change that will. And to leave it all to this brother of his, who he never even talked about. But then the solicitor told her that after their parents had divorced, Matt’s father had taken him to live in India – and the brothers had met only a handful of times – and never after they had grown up.

But…it still didn’t make sense to Rita.

—–ooo—–

Flashback – The Night George Died

George leaned back in the plush seat of his chauffeur-driven sedan, and closed his eyes. Whenever he came home late, he made it a point to bring flowers for Rita. She loved flowers, and he loved her more than anything else in the world. As the sedan turned into the driveway, George opened his eyes, and looked past the trees, beyond that expanse of grass, and into the French-windows of his house. In the distance, he could see Rita waiting for him. His heart swelled with love for her, and a smile spread on his face. She was going to love the surprise he had for her tonight.
“Sir, we’ve arrived.”
His chauffeur’s voice broke his reverie.

Rita was there, arranging the dinner table and looking ravishing in her wine-red off-shoulder gown, with a single strand of pearls gleaming around her lovely neck. She deserves the world, he thought as he took her into his arms, before going in to change into his evening dress.

Rita had planned a quiet evening after dinner – some wine and music. The setting was just perfect for what George wanted to tell her. That evening, he didn’t want to talk business, and he didn’t even want to drink the wine. He was drunk on her beauty and all he wanted to do was tell her about the cruise that he had planned for just the two of them.

Man, woman, wine-glass - Caricature.

Rita however, wanted to talk business, and he put it all down to her love and concern for him. She didn’t trust Steve at all. Steve had joined his company around three years ago, and he was younger to him by at least a dozen years. Steve was also extremely good at cutting the bureaucratic red tape and so George valued him a lot. Though most women found Steve attractive, Rita disliked him immensely and she didn’t trust him around George. She always thought that Steve was never as good as he made himself out to be. In fact, they didn’t get along at all.

So they sat and talked, and so George never got around to talking about the surprise that she had for her.

His head felt heavy, and his limbs felt cold and numb. He could hear Rita’s voice floating in from the other room, but it appeared to be coming from a place faraway. He tried to call out to her but he couldn’t – his voice failed. With a lot of effort, he turned his head to see the clock. It looked hazy, but he managed to figure out that it was about two in the morning.

Gradually, consciousness returned to George and Rita’s voice became clearer. She was talking to someone on the phone. He tuned himself in.

He is dead! I am scared! Just come up to the house.”

“We’ve got to move fast and remove the body. This is the most important part of the plan.”

“Don’t worry about it. I know what’s there in his will. All of it comes to me – to us, I mean. And as it was an overdose of his own medicine, even if it comes to postmortem, they’d never learn the truth.”

George closed his eyes. The pain that shot through his heart made him dizzy again. His wife had tried to kill her, and she said something about a plan to dispose his body off. Suddenly the whole evening and the spell of unconsciousness began to make sense to him. He realized that he wanted to know more…and so he decided to play along. But who was the man on the other end of the phone?

“Steve, he’s dead. We don’t need to tie him up. We need it to look like an accident!”

That’s a smart woman, Steve. Listen to her, you moron, thought George. They were on the riverbank, in his car.

“Okay…okay! But what about the car?” Steve was just a pawn; Rita, his beautiful and intelligent wife, was the master strategist.

“We are going to put him in the driver’s seat, and the push the car into the river. It’ll appear as if he drove the car into the river… after he got drunk and fought with me.” said Rita.

Under Rita’s deft management, the deed was done, and the car with George in it, was safely deposited upon the riverbed. George’s consciousness had returned completely by this time; he got out and swam to the other bank. While he sat on a rock, waiting for his breath to even out, Rita and Steve drove back to his house. As he sat there, watching the lights of his wife’s car recede into the distance, he made his plan.

—–ooo—–

The Day they read the Will

George smiled as he looked at himself in the mirror. He was a new man. The pot-bellied, stressed-out George who looked like an albino fish was gone. Here was the new George – lean, tanned, athletic, and young! The last year had been good to him. Changing the will and his identity wasn’t difficult at all. Despite the strong circumstantial evidence, they couldn’t declare him dead for almost an year, as they couldn’t find a body! An year was a long time for him to straighten up the matters. He couldn’t have planned it better.

George turned and looked out of his hotel-room window. Across the street stood the eighteen-storied building of his erstwhile competitor, Cureall Drugs. For once, their unethical practices had saved a live.

He turned back and smiled at Matt in the mirror. This is who he was now, and who he wanted to be all his life.

—–ooo—–

(Author: Oorvi)

August 2010 Blog Carnival – Thanks to the Participating Authors!

The Story in the Caricature Blog Carnival for Bloggers, Storytellers, and All of us!

My Dear Readers and Visitors,
The August Blog Carnival brought in many wonderful stories:) This is the caricature that inspired the writers.

The Story in the Caricature Blog Carnival for Bloggers, Storytellers, and All of us!

What's his Story?

DEAR WRITERS, THANK YOU FOR WRITING THESE WONDERFUL STORIES! MAY YOU FIND MILLIONS OF READERS IN THE YEARS TO COME!

Writers and Storytellers who Participated in the August Story-in-the-Caricature Blog Carnival:

Stories Written by the Authors:

Welcome to my “Storytellers” Blogroll!

A Request to Readers:

I request all my readers to read these wonderful stories:)

A Request to the Writers:

I also request the writers to add the links for the stories of the other participants below their own stories. All you’d need to do is copy and paste the second list at the end of your own stories:) It will help all the writers find more readers.

While I DRAW to SMILE…go ahead and WRITE to SMILE!
Warm Regards,
Shafali

My Childhood Love – A Naked Truth – A Caricature of Life!

Important Note:

This isn’t the usual fare that’s served at this blog. If you’ve arrived here through a search and if you are looking for caricatures click the Gallery link and if you are here for the Story-in-the-Caricature Blog Carnival, click here.

However, if you are looking for nothing in particular and if for some unfathomable reason you care about the beautiful unique relationship I share with Pratap Mullick, read on.

There’s a good chance that you know neither about Pratap Mullick nor about me, but if you are an artist who grew up in the far-flung regions of India, where if you wanted to buy a magazine, you’d have to travel about 40 miles – you probably have seen Pratap Mullick’s art.

WARNING:

I am NOT talking about Nagraj Comics. He did illustrate the first 50 of those…but I haven’t seen those illustrations. (Pratap Mullick illustrated for Nagraj Comics before 1995 – and Nagraj comics aren’t really what we’d call the “classics” so I can’t find the old issues anywhere. Honestly I don’t care about what I see of Nagraj Comics now! Searches of “Pratap Mullick” often throw up image results that show the work of other artists – and that work isn’t at the same scale of quality as Pratap Mullick’s…so I take no responsibility for misconceptions born out of indiscriminate searches.)

When I was a child, I was not just a child, I was a girl child; and despite being born in quite an emancipated family, nobody thought to ask me what I’d like to become when I grew up. Until I was ten, school was a mercurial affair – it was there, then it wasn’t, then again…it was there, and then it wasn’t. We often lived in places where ours was the only family for miles around. So I had a lot of time to read what I wanted to instead of reading what I had to.

Once a month, my father would take us to the nearest town, and I’d spend my monthly pocket-money (5 Rupees) on comics. I’d buy some combination of Indrajal comics (1 Rupee) and Amar Chitra Kathas (1.50 Rupees, if I remember right.) Indrajaal comics distributed the Phantom comics and the Mandrake comics in India – they later created their own hero, Bahadur too. In contrast, Amar Chitra Kathas (translates to: Immortal Stories with Pictures,) had stories from Indian Mythology and History. After a few months of buying both, I decided that I preferred Amar Chitra Kathas, so I requested my parents for an increment of one rupee in my pocket-money and began buying four Amar Chitra Kathas instead.

It was then that I realized that some of the Amar Chitra Kathas had drawings that were considerably better than those in others. As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, I was a selectively curious child. For a long time, it didn’t occur to me that real artists made those drawings, and I never thought that I could one day illustrate for books and magazines. I drew because it was nice to draw.

Coming back to the point, I realized that certain drawings looked better – in fact, they looked beautiful. They inspired me to draw better. Without realizing that I was learning from those drawings, I began to learn. I learned about proportions, shades, backgrounds, perspectives…I looked at those drawings and then looked around – and then I’d try to draw what I saw, the way they were drawn in those drawings.

I still didn’t know that there was an artist behind those drawings, so next when I went to the town and shopped for Amar Chitra Kathas, I’d look inside, check out the drawings, and instinctively select the Amar Chitra Kathas with those beautiful drawings. My parents would wonder why I selected some and rejected some – but they never asked and I never told. It was my secret.

When kids grow up, they are often asked what they’d like to be when they grew up – in my time, a girl child was seldom asked this question – and so I never could connect art with illustration. If I were asked the question, I might’ve said something like – I would like to draw…and then one thing could’ve led to another, and I might’ve ended up becoming a “real” artist. But for this reason or some other, there was a mental gap somewhere – some synapses didn’t connect – somehow I never realized that art could be a profession as well.

Then during the Nineties there was a time when it was difficult to find Amar Chitra Kathas on the bookstalls, and once in while I’d think about those beautifully illustrated comics, and feel sad. But they probably experienced some sort of revival and I began seeing Amar Chitra Kathas again. One day, when I was in a bookstore, I picked one of them up. I picked it up gingerly – ready to be disappointed – ready to accept that as a child what I found beautiful was indeed crass and mediocre. But the comic that I had instinctively picked up had the same beautiful drawings that I had fallen in love with as a child. I had picked up “Urvashi.

But I was a different Shafali now. I knew that a real artist did those illustrations, and so with my heart beating hard against my ribs, I checked out the cover for the credits – expecting to find none. (Our publishers often fear that they’d lose their illustrators and so they don’t provide credit to the artists.) But there it was. It said: “Illustrated by: Pratap Mullick”! For the first time, I knew the name of the man who had held my hand and steadied it as I learned to draw – for the first time in my life, my thoughts went beyond those drawings and I visualized what his life must’ve been – for now I also know a lot about the struggle that life is for an Indian artist.

It was a moment that was both happy and sad. The fact that Pratap Mullick could survive in this world and that he made drawings that’d survive him – made me happy. The fact that a man of his caliber, wasn’t celebrated – wasn’t known – and wasn’t given the status he deserved, made me sad. I should’ve heard his name as one of the great artists of India – he changed lives, he helped people learn art, and he still remains the best book illustrator that India has ever seen – and believe me when I say that because I spend hours looking at illustrations…and just one illustration is what it takes to tell you what an artist is worth!

As someone who’s keen on art, I wonder why an Amar Chitra Katha that he illustrated should sell at the same price at which all other Amar Chitra Kathas would sell? The comics he illustrated are collectibles – the comics that others did…well they just earned their living! If you don’t know what I am talking about buy “Vasantasena” and “Vasavadatta” – and compare them (Don’t go by the cover illustrations…they are always done well.) ! I just hope that he was at least paid better.

The question is – Why do we normalize? Why do we pull real talent down to the level of mediocrity?

We all know the answer…don’t we? This ability of the human race, is one of the things that define our humanity. We’ve decided to trash the evolutionary theory of “Survival of the Fittest” and that’s precisely why we are headed where we are…

Downhill.