Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Low-cost sanitary napkins for tribal girls

The Inner Wheel Club, a women's-only volunteer organisation, distributed sanitary napkins to 182 girls in a tribal residential girls' school in Vadodara. The low-cost napkins have been designed and manufactured by social entrepreneur Swati Bedekar's Vatsalya Foundation. I found the girls giggling with awkwardness and hiding the napkins under their desks.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Data cartooning

I am trying out a new style of representing statistical data: through cartoons. Check it out:

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Champaner snapshots

A trio of journalists and a UNESCO heritage site make for a nice Saturday afternoon picnic. Here are some snapshots from Champaner:

Kabutarkhana, Champaner

Jami Masjid, Champaner

Jami Masjid, Champaner

Saher ki Masjid, Champaner

Goats and a gate at Saher ki Masjid, Champaner

Auto and goats at Champaner Fort

Motorbike, goats, men carrying fodder for the goats at Champaner

Carvings at Jami Masjid

Friday, August 21, 2015


Once again my friends threw me words such as chess, fetch, wind, gumboots, chromatic, Friday, indelible, messiah and departure for a new poem. This is how it goes:


Warns the white pawn
“I'm coming for you.”
The black pawn cowers
A rook and a pawn
“Where shall I go now?
If I stay here, I die
If I move, I'll be gone.”
And so he falls,
a soldier lost
Without a fight,
A soldier dies.
White triumphs
Black's vanquished.
This game of chess:
Of small victories
And many defeats,
Of focus, concentration,
Endless conversation,
Of Friday evenings.
The silent wind
The light showers
A pair of gumboots
An umbrella to fetch.
This checkered life:
Of indelible histories
Of many saviours
messiahs, mysteries
Of unannounced arrivals
And early departures
Of narrow minds,
their chromatic perceptions.
This game of life
Like the game of chess
Squared and complex
A matter of survival.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Deskie's Job

Sits a deskie

A sub-editor

Always a 'sub'

Seldom a master.

Like an artist

He makes a page

Of text and images:

Tomorrow's paper.

Deadlines, bylines

Citylines, datelines

Timelines, factfiles:

Nothing's out of line.

Then comes a story

From a reporter in stress

Unpunctuated, unedited

It's clearly a mess!

The beat's crime

A serious story

A prisoner in jail

Who gets no bail.

The guards worry

Watch him closely

Lest they find him

Strangled, hanging.

His new pyjamas

Of white cotton

No string to tie them

Just two buttons.

The sub smiles

Shakes his head

"How's he filed

such a story?"

A wordsmith's task

To hammer and snip

Beat out a story

Of garbled mess.

He trims the ends

Creates a headline

This text of imagery

Befits a byline.

Silently he keys in

A name not his own

Wish the reader knew

The story he was shown.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Men are from Mars

Alphabetically Indian

Authentic, 'awesome', argumentative
Bollywood, Bajaj, bureaucratic
Crafts, cobra, cricket, Carnatic
Democratic, demanding, dollar-friendly
Elephants, engineers, enterprising
Films, fashion, forts, fans a-plenty
Gandhi, Gateway, gods, gifts, glory
Honour, Hing-lish, holy, history
India, Independence, Infosys, IITs
'Jugaad', Jungle Book, jewellery, jest
Krishna, Kipling, Kalam, karma
Love, license, lengthy legislations
Modi, maharaja, magic, marriage
New Delhi, noises, nods and 'netas'
Om, order, organise, obedience
Pride, patriot, priviledge, princes
Quests, questions, quotes, quotations
Religion, railways, rivers, rations
States, strikes, sovereign, secular
Taj, tribes, tea, tests, turmeric
Umbrellas, underdogs, unions, UT
Vermillion, varied, voices, vernacular
Weddings, wellness, wonders
Xerox, xerophytes, X-rated, Xavier's
Yoga, yonder, yellow, youth
Zandu, Zee, zero, Zoroastrian, zest.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Painting doors: Day 2

Title: Girl at the desk
Medium: Mixed media on wood
Time taken: 5 hours

Painting Doors: Day 1

I came back to my home in Baroda to find the white doors stained. No anount of sanding, scrubbing, rubbing or washing seemed to help. I bought some acrylics and markers and gave them a makeover. The first one's called Secret Garden and took 10 hours and 40 mins.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Homecoming

Places, faces

Familiar races

Many smiles

Warm hugs

Teary eyes

In the country

I call my home.

Soft caresses

Curious glances

Friendly embraces

Hot cups of tea

Empty suitcases

In the country

I call my home.

The art of gifting

The art of giving,

Of forgiving

A part of living

A part of loving

In the country

I call my home


Stresses of travel

Lack of sleep,

Of time and distance

Lost or gained

I forget to complain

In the country

I call my home.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

A true selfie

My last art class in Australia and this is a self-portrait I made that best describes me: The map on the forehead represents my curiosity about places and people far and wide, the silhouette on the nose describes my love for solitude and my own company, the lips put together by a collage of bricks is a wall I have around me that people (even loved ones) find difficult to penetrate though the big mouth breaking into a smile is deceptively inviting, the book represents my twin passions for writing and education, the hearts (broken, deformed and perfect) symbolise my romantic and intense nature, the kids represent my work with children in India and Australia, the birds talk of my interest in ornithology and conservation, the crowd represents the people of different races and cultures I meet and work with, the blue bits showcase my love for water and swimming and the hair describes the vibrancy of my artwork.