An evening with Chris

Chris Guillebeau came to Bangalore, India this December. It was for the book signing event of his latest book "$100 startup", which comes with quite an amusing tag line that you can see in the picture below:

Also, in a corner, Chris himself

And the man who traveled 180 countries (and counting), curator of many recipes for world domination (without using a shrinking ray gun, yes), and the author of a book which calls out to fire your own boss, stood there in the middle of a small bookstore, in the middle of a curious bunch of people, and talked about entrepreneurship, and stuff.

I wasn't much of a follower of Chris until then, and the plan was to get started with it at this event. The QA session was interesting with the shared experiences of assorted people. Traditional work and Entrepreneurship was the main topic under scrutiny. Several views were tossed around, like how work can in fact give experience in starting your own business, how some people do work for work (not because they don't have a choice), and most interestingly, how entrepreneurship is not always about building billion dollar companies, but also about simple self sustenance.

The event's attraction wasn't Chris alone, but the whole environment. The audience themselves were a collection of interesting people. Ideas were floating around, plans discussed, and motivation was in the air. Chris was apparently happy to know from me that at least one person in the group did read Haruki Murakami and thought his novels were great.

I walked away with a Chris-signed book, had a very colorful and vivid dinner with my friends, and all the while we were discussing ideas and more ideas.

Where you could go all crazy and yet blend in perfectly

Comic Con Express Bengaluru edition happened on September 8th and 9th, 2012.
This has been my first experience at a comic con, and it has been as colorful as expected. And there has been a lot more crowd than expected.

It is a pleasant feeling to know that so many people keep their minds open to the lines, colors, and the imaginary worlds they create. At one point comics fans were flowing in such large numbers so that even a queue formed outside the entrance. There was all varieties of comic artists and stalls. Collectible bobble-heads shared part of the awesomeness with (an overload of ) creative t-shirts.

There were serious artists, mysterious ones, simple ones, and the humble and friendly ones. It has been a joy ride to talk to the bunch of them. The ongoing cosplay contest resulted in real life cartoon characters roaming all around the venue. There was Batman, Catwoman, and Spiderman. Then there was also Velma, Daffny, and Rorschach who brought along his baby :)

Okay, picture time.

Wolver Anna - mutants Indianized

The complete Comic Con Bengaluru art. Click for better resolution

Yes that's right! Throwable knives, removable hat, AND the V-dialogues playback

Desi digital art :D

Alicia Souza, a really awesome illustrator, just got awesomer as she starts drawing cat stuff!

Got hold of Auto Pilot, Book #1. Trivia: This work is done by three guys from Kerala

For the hardcore cricket fans

A cartoon by Mario Miranda. Nice treatment of theme and colors

My friend trying out the Wacom

There were some unique art styles all over the place

See the big picture ? (It's a girl)

Bonus: A witty ad board at the entry

-- fin --

The rage of today's comics

Any idea that successfully relates closely to people has found its popularity in history; Rage comics isn't a different story. It has further accelerated through hundreds of comics posted everyday by the Internet populace. But where is it heading now?

What started out as a four panel comic in 4chan website featuring the 'FFFFUUUUUUU' guy in 2007, what climbed to booming popularity in 2009 with Reddit's dedicated f7u12 section, has now spread through all possible social media and humor websites to the point that you can't use the Interwebs without stumbling upon one of these comics or the rage faces.

Going a step ahead of other Internet memes, rage comics have crossed boundaries of language and culture. Once in a while we come across rage comics specific to a country, or a more specific geographic region. Rage comics has even crossed the boundaries of Internet and appeared in advertisements and posters in the real world.

Every time I read a book, it's like, the author stole a part of me that I thought only I knew. 
Someday I'm gonna write a book and I'll do it to somebody else
~ The Number 23, 2007

When these comics were all adored and shared around the web, they won hearts by delicately associating to common events which were never before considered for discussion.

But then there were more than a couple of online rage comic makers, and people started attempts at being more creative. Here the subtle element which initially propelled its popularity was starting to diminish.

More and more trivial but individual events were converted to rage comics. Here the general theme was being killed. People, though, with their inertia and the general agreement that rage comics are funny, continued to spend time on scrolling through the increasing number of them. Everyone was now looking at random events from other people's lives presented as a mash of Google image search results and spontaneously chosen rage faces.

The fact that people continued to follow the usual rage comic hubs coupled with the fact that people continued to make more comics keeping the present ones as standard, essentially lead to further downfall. The Googled images were selected with even less bother, and so were the rage faces.

Finally, the storyline ceased to matter. Rage comics are now a set of panels which have rage faces and text which you may or may not bother to read.

At this moment, even more comics are being made, a bunch of them are being read by a large audience, and probably liked and upvoted? Rage comics aggressively replaced occasions where regular comics might've been used. When proper comic art with properly written text became less important, the conclusion as to where the rage comics is headed seems only predictable.

If you're still spending a considerable part of your Internet time reading rage comics, may be it's a good time to pause and reflect, and reconsider. Often it is the case that you go in search of humor, and you're desperately searching for them in the general amalgam of text, images, and rage faces. The normal comics still exist out there, and they're still continuing with their own unique styles. Your perception of humor and creativity might badly need a reboot by now if you've been a rage comic addict. Look around, find something fresh. Let rage comics be created when they are really the best choice for the occasion. Let's do not make it just because it's supposed to be cool.

A new domain !

After a considerable amount of postponing, continuous distractions, and quite a bit of commotion from moving things around, finally I've managed to bring everything under a single domain !

From now on, this blog will be accessible from the url:

There are a bunch of new things and a bunch of changes to the older stuff. For one thing there is a new compilation of the portfolio. I've also put the selected flash games in a special category :)

You'll get to see a new about me page, that place where we try to minimize the use of 'I's and 'Me's but nevertheless end up using them quite a number of times.

The comic also has its own sub-domain, so will the upcoming projects have. I have a few creation plans in the basket. Hoping to get going with them and publish them under the new home soon enough ^_^

Over and out, for now.
Let me know your comments, suggestions and unforgiving criticisms, as usual.

An evening in the flea market

Present day. Bangalore is cool, windy, and slightly damp with the recent showers.

It is Sunday evening.
Just within the tall walls of Palace Grounds, lies a whole world of colors, art, food and music.
And a crazy crowd, with their labradors and pugs and the weirdest umbrellas.

It's Kitsch Mandi. And this time, I am there :)

First I'll show you the pulp fiction art work from Graphicurry which I'd coveted for a while now and finally brought home on this rainy Sunday :

You know the dialogue! Else you deserve to be shot :-|
And what follows is the all too (actually, tooo) colorful world of the flea market fest. I'll let solely the pictures speak:

Budha and Autorikshaw ties; Quite a good way to appear in your next team meeting :P

More uses of beer bottles

And then it rained, and the weirdest umbrellas popped into the air

Then there was Batman (tshirts)

And more mad colors

Some stores exclusively for the girls

And some for the foodies :)

And that's all the pictures for now. The photographs are incomplete; there is so much more that hasn't been covered in here. 
I believe that the event is to be experienced, and only so much of the real fun can be gathered from mere photographs. My advice is to be there on the next Kitsch Mandi.

Don't miss the Bengaluru flea markets fests if you can. Why enjoy life only partially when it can be fully lived? :)


Bangalore is still having the windy evenings. The vague hints of a subtle rain do lurk in the clouds at times.
What more do we need for a happy walk back home after work?

I have got into the full pace in enjoying my new city. Discovering, absorbing, meandering.
And meeting people!

There was a time when I really really looked forward to trying pani puri; Warmly choreographed scenes where I walk through the wide streets and snatch a pani puri from the road-side chat shop. I am disappointed to say (and I apologize to fans of pani puri) that reality wasn't all that smooth. I am not criticizing a popular food from a neighboring culture, but let's just say I am no more looking forward to having any more pani puris. May be I was having it from the wrong places. May be my tastes will change in the future. For now, though, I am content without pani puris in my life.

I have a couple of doodles to share with you folks today. These are from two different places, depicting observations from my first visit.

The first one is from Richmond park, which is close by my work location. It is a small park. People do come to have evening walks, but have to walk several rounds to have any satisfactory exercise. The benches - if you exclude the fact that they're mostly occupied - promises a good place to sit and relax and read a book perhaps.

Some interesting persons I came across there:

The next one is from Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum in Bengaluru. The history, science and technology exhibits were indeed fun and informative. It is interesting how the constant crowd in the building includes all varieties of people.

I came across this very simple man who was operating the control on a mathematical exhibit:

He was obviously oblivious to the properties of this peculiar curve or the equations governing it. But he was energetically turning the handle which would rotate the three rods, their spinning plane describing a hyperbola; There was something for everyone in every exhibit.

It was nice to see the exhibits as well as to observe how different age groups and different types of people respond to various exhibits. It was a good day.
Although the food was bad. Then again, the taste of homely food is something you'll always miss despite all the colors of a distant land and the wanderlust.

Happiness is found in pot plants etc

It took me a few weeks before the new daily activities in the new city became part of the unconscious routine.

Once everything from waking up and welcoming the not-so-fresh sun rays, to the office commute, to the software engineer's 8 hours, to the visits paid to nearby food outlets became repeated, automated things, my eyes finally got into the creative mood and started absorbing the finer details. I should mention that absorbing or even merely noticing the finer details of cleanliness in the dinner outlets may give you incentive to take up night-time fasting on a daily basis.

As an attempt for daily creativity I started keeping a daily sketch book. Of course, days are skipped on end but at times it turns out to be a medium which surely captures the curious observations/epiphanies of the day. I intend to accessorize the coming blog posts with selected sketches.

Converting my single room in a PG ( paying guest) to my own habitat inevitably involved filling it up with weird goodies. My choice of a pot plant as the living companion was to ensure its good health even when I was away for days on weekends. Let us also reflect at this point, on the fact that water and drinking-water (swapping these things in Bengaluru can cause you ending up with typhoid etc) are on an unreliable supply at this above mentioned PG.

As of drinking-water crisis, it is caused by a phenomenon what I personally prefer to call "water drainers". The beings in question look almost as depicted below:

However, it wasn't too late when I started to recognize this as the final result of an evolutionary process in our PG ecosystem; It was survival of the one with the most number of filled bottles.
And it wasn't too late when I found myself collecting extra plastic bottles and start filling them up with an expression similar to above :P

It is a happy thing that I don't hate mondays as I did when I was in college. The fifteen minutes walk to office can become an eventful thing if you'll just look around with open eyes. I can now spot familiar faces who'll pass me if I start at a particular time, and even find subjects for amusing paintings.
Here's a quick sketch of the girl in purple top who shared the walk with me from office to home one day (not necessarily together :D):

Awkwardness starts when people start walking with you at exactly the same speed as yours; You can't overtake, neither can you be overtaken. The above was one of such situations.

I have bid my farewells to the PG and the water drainers and my extra plastic bottles. I now write this from an apartment which is currently shared among four other people. And it is currently a mess. But my pot plant sits in a corner silently and reminds me that everything will be always okay in the end. Silly pot plant.

An awesome unlucky day - way to Sunday Soul Sante

The Day
Last Sunday was one of those unlucky days for me, in that, you know, how every thing predictably seems to go the only possible way - the wrong way. I don't have to list all the nitty gritty of it; It was as if the day was dedicated to the celebration of Murphy's law.

One positive thing here is, you already know everything is probably not going to be okay. The frustration is over the moment you accept this, and actually start enjoying the (awful) way your day has turned out to be :D.

The awesomeness scale went high ever since I discovered that the Sunday Soul Sante was happening in Bengaluru, thanks to Alicia. It was a last minute plan; it was hard to gather any company. But there was an enourmous pull on me from the venue of Eden gardens, a creative gravity of sorts. And so I embarked on this quest with nothing but Google maps in my phone.
Soon the reality striked me with considerably lethal melee weapons. I was still in the effective period of the unlucky day. Everything continued to go wrong, including none of the transport buses that Google maps promised me appearing at the bus stops. And even when I finally reached the premises, I had a few more long unnecessary walks, as depicted below:

People who are familiar with the place will understand this well; People who aren't, let this be a warning to you

The Sante !

And then I entered the sante. All the unluck temporarily driven away, I basked in the world of arts, crafts, music and food ^_^

Let the pictures speak:

Special mention for Alicia Souza, the cutest stall in the whole place. And the person herself, incredibly awesome :)

As one of her illustrations says: "It takes a lot of hard work to be cute"

Below, some well executed digital drawings by Graphicurry. Part of my bad luck came into play here. I had only credit cards and not much of ready cash. A sad thing when you find so many things to buy and there are no swiping machines..

And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger..

This is only part of it all. It feels good that I went on this day itself, although alone, for the next one will take another 3 months to happen. Looking forward to it nevertheless!

Later in the day, I stood several minutes waiting in a queue inside the hypermarket because our cashier alone had disappeared to take care of something else. By this time I was used to the flow of the day. When my turn came and the swiping machine magically stopped working altogether, I gave it an unsurprised smile. This day has given me a lot of motivation. Moreover I was happy to be feeling the pulse of the new city at places where my heart truly belonged.

No song unsung, No wine untasted

It seems like facebook has finally extended its long blue grips into my blogging life. 

Blogs have been deserted and left to die when twitter and facebook came in, tapping out each idea and each photograph as and when they occured, leaving nothing to be shared in the blog. 

I may argue that there is more to blogging, that there is something special about how ideas transpire in a blogpost in a way that cannot be recreated in any social network.. But it would sound ironical when I finally share this blogpost in facebook and twitter :P

I am out of my free times at home and the freelance works I used to do. My dear cat Chloé is now a mom. A responsible mom I should say. Concerned about her kid, losing her sleep and appetite.

Many photos of Chloé since her childhood has been shared in this blog. Yet there are a few good ones I've saved till now. These were taken during the times we spent together, completely free of any major responsibilities. These were also the times when I practiced with my new camera in hopes of capturing some good Chloé-moments. The understanding cat that Chloé is, her cooperation in this venture was as good as the cooperation of Hitler in improving the life condition of Jews.

Nevertheless, some Chloé moments :)

The Terrace Photoshoot

Mistress of palm leaves..


Who is winning the fight?

But where do I get that much dynamite ??

The House Yard Photoshoot

Possibly one of the best photos of Chloé. This one was, indeed, captured with a lot of patience and at the cost of a scratch on my hand. Because in this photo, the thing she's targetting to attack was.. me!

Smell of the wild :P


Perfect time for a completely relaxed nap? YES.
This photo was taken just before I left home to join my first job (although I joined a different company in the end). The bed was crowded with suitcases, travel bags and lots of other stuff. There was the last minute hurry, a bunch of uncertainties, and enough stress looming in the air.
And then came Chloé, casually walking into the room. She lept on to my blanket, pawed the Rubik's cube, and was soon closing her eyes for a completely peaceful sleep.
This is one thing I love about her. We will be thinking up a lot of possiblities regarding our future, letting the pressure take on us. But watching Chloé being so cool amidst all of this was very relaxing. Suddenly all the tension and worries seem to be pointless. She keeps reminding me that worry is indeed imagination misplaced ^_^