Tuesday, August 13, 2013

By Two "______"

It was the month of July, last year, when the seed of Perch Project was sown. My friend, Hazel Karkaria and I slowly and steadily watered the seed, and made it into a sapling. While working on Perch, we had this hope within us that one day this project would shape up as one of those giant trees, and its very roots will be the haven for the animals and birds. A year passed and we are still nurturing that hope. But Perch wasn't the very first act for both of us working together, we studied together and we had worked on many projects before. We churned out an identity for the college graduation in a time when everything seemed done and dusted with our efforts. We worked on Ramabi Book Project where we spent hours shuffling from studio room to Library, interjected with tea breaks at chai kadhe. There were many other projects where we jotted days and nights of work without any compromise. We could work well together. Be it our shared understanding, ethics and thoughts, when put together, it rewarded us in measures that left us satisfied and humble. Time passed, but we sustained this precious hope of working together someday. With Perch, we realised that it's time to shape the ideas we had preserved for so long. 

We knew what we had to do, but putting a name for it was an ordeal. To sum it all up in a few words and make it the name of our studio was no easy fish to catch. We grappled with it for months, feeling dejected and perpetually caught in a cycle of thesaurus rant. We would walk down streets just to catch a local flavour for our name, sit with rounds of tea and coffee, hoping that some caffeine would brew the omnipotent name. All failed, and we had to look back at the end of the tunnel, catch the smell of Rava Dosa batter spreading on the steaming stove and how fondly everyone 'by two-ed' their coffee. 'By Two', the phrase that encompassed it all for us. We always took pride in the fact that it's two friend working together, two people who would stick around through thick and thin. We found that meaning in 'By Two', it was grounded, it was us. Once we knew what to call it, rest was an easy ride. By no means I am underplaying the current of this long tumultuous ocean lying ahead. But we have a boat, we just have to row and grow. 

'By Two' is not only about working together. It's about what we see each other become through this journey. 

Do check our work here - bytwodesign or drop us a line bytwodesign@gmail.com

Do read what Hazel has to say about it - By Two

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

स्वंय मर्दन

तू बन सँवर
बना वो भँवर,
पोंछ डाले हर उफ़ान
तू है वहीं  लहर।

तू अनेक नहीं एक है
उसमे भी विशेष है,
इस इकाई से ही तू श्वेत  है
ना भटके वो रेत है।

करते है तो करने दे वार
पुतलियाँ नहीं बाँधती संकल्पों का सार,
वो क्या मापे तेरा हृदय गार
सब छल लेंगे पर तेरा भार।

क्यूँ टटोले अंधे बर्तन
इस शोर का ना ले कंपन,
तुझमे ही तेरा दर्पण
यह जीवन तो है स्वंय मर्दन।

- ख़ुफ़िया कातिल

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Tales from Indian Classics

It has been a terribly long time since I blogged about something substantial. This time of the year is going pretty cramped with work and deadlines, so much that putting blog posts have gone down on the planner pages. But I guess one can only keep up with the untiring wheel as long as the cog lasts.

I went home in June and visited Ara for a few hours. The memories it brought back could be measured in inches of dust settled on the furniture. It weighed me down and then to embrace it further I opened the doors of almirahs where souvenirs of days bygone were preserved. I knew which memory I was scratching the surface of. My father used to do most of the book purchasing from Patna Book Fair and would then carry the lot to Ara. In one of the trips, he must have got this picture book called 'Tales from Indian Classics'. The book had short stories from Mahabharata, Ramayana, Vedas and Upnishads. One of the stories was on an Bhasmasura, an Asura who met his plight by putting his right hand on his head while dancing with Mohini (an Apsara). To mention it as a common experience for most of us, there are some illustrations from picture books read at a younger age that always gets pinned into the visual memory of our brain. It would usually be an artwork that had an unusual imagery, a moment to creep us out, scare us or even make us laugh because it had something beyond the ordinary to it. I took the book out and quickly flipped open the page which had the illustration of Bhasmasura. I wished to see if it could still amuse me, and it did. I wonder if it was just the nostalgia at work or some unknown logic driving my senses.


To freshen up the inspiration index, I have scanned a few more pages from the book. The illustrations are done by Pulak Biswas and Sukumar Chatterjee. When seeing work of elder illustrators, the faith gets restored on how the very lack of options is often liberating to the skill and enjoyable to the senses.

Opening Page

Inside Page


The House of Lac

Bhima and Hanuman

Cousins and Enemies



Kacha and Devayani

Sundan and Upasundan