Page 1

START magazine




CONT 6. EDITORIAL Priya Prakash

10. MYSTICDEWS Nikhil Tailang

18. DESIGNGEEK Menaka Chandrasekhar

26. WARLI ART Surabhi Ramachandra

ENTS 34. WEEVIL GIRL Shriparna Sarkar

42. DANDELI Akshay Gururaj

48. LONGING Swati Bhatnagar

54. BOOK REVIEW Vishesh Unni R



Dear Readers, I am enthusiastically looking forward to what 2011 has in store for us. Of course, depending completely on the forces would be a silly thing to do. It is time to raise the bar for ourselves, and get better at what we do. I am extremely happy with the third issue of START! Many comments and suggestions are coming in, with the readers asking for more diversity and content in the magazine. That is exactly what we’ve tried to achieve in this edition. It takes time, yes, but we are getting there – one step at a time. I hope START gets bigger and better in the following years. We will make this happen, together. Here’s wishing you all a wonderful new year! Let this be a year where many more dreams are realized .

Priya Prakash EDITOR


We live in the world

when we love it. - Rabindranath Tagore


23 // MCA student // Mumbai

Nikhil Tailang



How and when did you get into photography? My interest in photography began right from my childhood. I had a horizontal brick shaped film camera back then. My dad would let me handle it on our family trips. That’s how I started experimenting in photography. I got serious about it when I got my camera-phone. My pictures impressed my parents and I soon got a point and shoot camera which I used for three years until recently, when I got a DSLR.

What inspires you? There is a picture from my childhood where I am splashing water at a beach. My smile in that photo inspires me. I keep it on my desk to remind myself to enjoy everything that comes my way. For photography, the very idea of capturing what I see and feel, and keeping that moment forever with me, is inspiring. Life is constantly changing. What I see today might not happen again tomorrow. There are moments in my everyday life that enchants me. The thought of preserving them in a photograph is inspiring. It is like preserving a state of my mind.


Which is the best picture you have taken so far? An old couple capturing the Mumbai's skyline on their camera-phone. They had travelled to Mumbai from a small town in Maharashtra with a phone gifted to them by their son. After clicking some shots, they came to me and asked if I could help them view the images which they had captured. I taught them how to do it and they thanked me for it. I like this picture because it shows the love between the two that encouraged them to undertake such a trip with each other. It also portrays their openness in adapting tools of the newer times.

If you take a picture of a street at the exact same time of the day, for ten days, you'll appreciate the dynamism there. No two of those ten pictures will have the exact same feel. It is this agility of life that makes photography interesting to me.




are always taught to concentrate on what we are doing and filter out everything else. There are many beautiful things around us that get ignored.

I photograph to discover the beauty of such overlooked dimensions of life.

Photography to me is a medium to present interesting stories to people. An appealing thing 窶話out it is that it doesn't necessarily bind your viewers to one particular feeling. Everyone sees a picture differently and is free to interpret its meaning many number of times. It's a free form tool that encourages not only you, but also your viewers to be imaginative. Although I take pictures of pretty much everything, photographing people fascinates me the most. People are never the same.




Why did you choose art over other fields? I don't think I chose art. Art chose me. I've always been creatively inclined as a child, learning oil painting, calligraphy, pottery, embroidery and other crafts, growing up. I have my parents to thank me for pushing me into that! After my 12th board exams, I wasn't sure what career path I should head on, but I was sure that it needed to be something fun that would challenge my mind! After contemplating different design courses, I ended up choosing Advertising and Graphic design. 5 years later, here I am enjoying every love/hate moment of creativity.

HIGH HEELS Vector Illustration

How do you go about creating a new concept or a design?

My design process involves 3 stages. I start off with researching the subject. The amount of time spent doing this of course varies with each project. If it is a branding / identity project, this stage involves studying the competition and analyzing brand positioning etc. For a more illustrative project, let's say a bag design, I usually research along the lines of an overall theme. This research is mostly visual. The next stage is Ideation. This involves mind-mapping/sketching and many cups of coffee! The more ideas I can think of the better. I try to get them all down on paper before narrowing in on the one that works best. Finally, it comes down to execution. This again depends entirely on the project. I use traditional illustration methods (drawing/painting etc.) when required, mixed with several design programs (Illustrator/ Photoshop etc.) or sometimes draw entirely on the computer. 21

Which has been your best work so far? I want to risk sounding clichĂŠd and say that the best is yet to come! But if I had to choose from all the work I have created so far, I had the most fun working on my second year final project at design school - Formulate.

The brief was to explore Swiss typography and come up with a book and find ways to market it. I ended up creating several versions of the covers during ideation and even wrote most of the book content myself even though the brief didn't require this. In the end it was satisfying to put up the work for my lecturers to grade and receiving positive feedback about it. I even entered it in the 2008 Crowbar Awards, editorial category, where I was one of the 15 finalists.


What inspires you? I am inspired by great design. By great - I mean functional / witty / colourful / humorous / exciting design. This could be any principle of design really. I love architecture, art history (Pop art is my favorite genre), typography, print design and photography. I'm a very visual person. I always tend to see pictures of the scene/object in my head when someone is describing something to me. I guess this leads to ideas which in turn lead me to realize them in my own artistic style. How do you consider yourself unique from everyone else? I don't believe in having only one style of designing. While this works for some designers, I feel my ability to experiment and adapt my style/sensibilities to a project's needs makes my point of view come across in my work. Also, I am not afraid of color and I tend to use a lot of it in my projects. Black and white may be classic but I find creating colorful stuff more engaging.


Art to me.. ‌is a means of expression. I honestly believe that there is a very fine boundary between artist and designer. When you are creating for yourself or for the world to see what YOU are thinking/feeling, you can be an 'artist', but when you create art that communicates a message, for someone other than yourself, you are now the 'designer'. The thing I love most about graphic design is that it often crosses that line between art and design. It lets you redefine through everyday objects what 'art' could mean to a common person versus someone from the creative field. I'd like to end with one of my favorite quotes by Scott Adams,

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.



Surabhi Ramachandra

On 14′th November ‘10, I got the opportunity to interview Surabhi, an 18 years young artist from Bangalore, currently pursuing a degree in Ayurvedic Medicine. I was awe-struck when I first saw her house – with Warli art on the compound walls!, and her other work inside. It was interesting to learn about her journey so far and on how she got into creating this ancient Indian art, while living in an advanced world racing with fast paced digital designers.

Warli Painting is a tribal art that originated in Maharashtra around 400* years back. This simple 2-dimensional art form is created using just circles, triangles and squares! Warli art portrays the simple and Eco-friendly lifestyle of the Warli tribe, by depicting their customs and their interaction with nature. The images of their daily life (harvesting, drawing water from well, festivals, dancing, etc) are created in a rhythmic pattern. The shapes used are not meaningless. Each geometrical pattern symbolizes something with respect to the environment. Circle – represents the sun and the moon; Triangle – is derived from the mountains and pointed trees; and Square – indicates sacred enclosure, or a piece of land.



I have had a great experience with Warli art. It is amazing to represent different customs and believes in the form of just triangles and circles! It is fascinating to know that people of those days were more attached to society and environment. Being an Ayurvedic medical student, “Nature within life and life within nature" is relatable.

Frustration inspires me. The urge to come out of a frustration inspires me. I seek out for a new creation in art in that moment of disturbance. My art is created in a boundary beyond any expectations; in complete freedom. I want to do something by myself, something that I can totally own, something that gives me inspiration and something that represents me.

Before starting, I first decide whether it is a modern art or folk art or an intricate design. Next, I make a sketch of the same. I decide on the choice of colors as and when I’m working on the sketch. The designs are created once the background is done. My strong belief is that the best time to paint is at the time of exams!! Once I start, the thoughts just flow continuously.





Though some of my paintings are complicated, I am a simple person who likes simple food! and a simple living..I like kids around while I am painting. I hesitate to paint in the presence of grown ups. I started this (below) with no interest in colour; with just a black paint bottle and the thinnest possible brush. I decided to do something which is simple, yet complicated - just like the thoughts running haphazardly in my mind. I started with a line and a circle and went on building on it, similar to the way cells multiply in our body..

I don't create for publicity or for marketing. If someone likes to buy my art, they are welcome. But I am totally attached to all my paintings. 33

WEEVIL G♀RL Shriparna Sarkar

19, and mostly always studying stones and faces, but has officially enrolled in a design school to study communication design.



I don't really 'go about creating' much, and when I try, I wind up in

bed curled into a ball of failure and rat poop; so I take a walk, pick pebbles and listen to music, some distant human sounds and some uncomfortably close ones and eat a lot of tamarind and throw up on paper. If it winds up looking like it could mean something I try to trick you into believing ITS A HEART ITS A CASTLE ITS THE STORY OF YOUR LONG LOST TRENCH COAT and sometimes it works and sometimes its a bad story and no one's clapping, so I take a nap until I'm ready for a walk again.

Poetry inspires me, and misery. The way there is no right reaction to anything and all the wrong reactions trigger more of the same. Kaleidoscopic images and madwomen on street corners and ruins. I am inspired when I look at a stranger's photograph with a little grain, shoulders falling like a sound. I take the image, stuff it into a ventricle and it exits another as an infant or dead tree and the pumping of my ticker has done what it had to, its the closest to 'create' that I've been.



„MY MANIAC AND I‟ I love my calligraphy pen because it's wood between my fingers is a thick block of comfort. It makes me draw trees and one such day, these trees start growing lines of age and music on them. I listen Laura Marling in my head and my curly haired manic takes form on paper. He is sickened, my turban is blue. It gets heavier with grief with every line under my eye.(My tone grows more pretentious, my metaphorical beard growing longer.) The birds spurt words while I just get paler despite my attire of desire. I put the picture on my knees, give it a finger, whisper to it saying ‘shhh its alright - the sun's afloat, here's your dinner and the birds are singing to calm us down'.


I like the word EVISCERATE. I like blankets, collarbones and a high sternum, like my mom's. I like dead skin, scabs and MINT. I hate strands of human hair ON THE FLOOR, or the bed, or taped to the wall or anywhere they aren't being egged on by follicles, it makes me want to shut my eyes and imagine a world with cotton-wool growing on heads and underarms etcetera and I like saying etcetera. I LIKE CAPS LOCK sometimes. And I like taking pictures and drawing spirals, I like thunderstorms, the internet, food and free things YEAH.


I don't watch myself against „everyone else' as a backdrop. I cannot tell if I'm monochrome against colour or an afro or a bald patch against a wave of pixie haircuts, but I like to think I'm looking at things from under a table or over a rooftop and what I'm throwing at you might hit you odd but its really just where I may be standing, lost and phased out. Art means a lot to me. Art is almost perfect. Art once stole me a ring and said 'marry me, I got you a ring'. Art wears a red cape sometimes, makes coffee every morning, and wipes out the rest of the mornings. Art might be cheating on me, and I can never fall asleep. For a bit I had to be on steroids. Art likes to hold me by my waist. That solves everything.


“Swalpa stamina, Full vegetarian, Super maja!”

DANDELI by Akshay Gururaj

I was walking down the main block of Christ University and happened to see this board which had the words – nature conservation, trekking, and all meals included, Dandeli and Rs. 2600. I signed up for this, not knowing what to expect and there we were, 21 people, in the railway station on the 9th April 2010. This was exactly how one of the best trips I’ve done so far began. I mean, it was something that supported what I believed in, that you know you’re travelling and you don’t know what to expect as an end result. We reached the Dandeli - Anshi Tiger Resort in the same named Reserve, situated along the River Kali, which flows into the Arabian Sea. It is a good 10-12 hour drive from Bangalore and about the same by train. The closest airport is Panaji, Goa, about 2-3 hours from the Reserve. It is 100 kms from the nearest coastal town of Karwar. The Resort is owned by the Forest Department, so you will need to contact the department for permission to stay there. The main animals that are spotted most frequently are birds like Hornbills, Shikaras, Kingfishers, among others. There are very high chances of spotting leopards in summer as they exist in plenty. Tigers are spotted too, but only the lucky ones do. [A tiger was spotted behind one of the tents just three days before we arrived!]

We were not exactly in the middle of nowhere, but it was a good distance away from ‘human settlements’ (I won’t say civilization). It was pretty hot when we reached. After breakfast, we were guided into a hall where we were given caps and T-shirts for the trip.

Just when we thought that the rest of the day would be free and to ourselves to explore the place, the organizing committee dropped the bomb. “We’re going for a small trek, just about 3 kms”. Of course it sounded awesome, but not when most of us hadn’t even got our bit of sleep in the train the previous night. We followed their instructions and left for the trek, panting and puffing, already! The trek was not bad, except for the timing (11 am in mid-summer at 38ºC). It was strenuous because it was more of climbing up and down well laid out concrete staircases. (Wait a sec! This was not my idea of trekking in a jungle).

We finished the ‘trek’ in about 2 hours where we visited Sintheri Rocks and then headed for the river where all of us just jumped in. Some of us had to be pulled out of the river by force (it was that refreshing!). Since I was adamant enough not to carry extra clothes, a couple of them joined me in settling on top of the jeep and we headed for our allotted tents. Excited as we all were, the tents turned out to be perfect, with three of us in a single tent although in ours we managed with four. We freshened up for some more presentations about tigers and other animals that could be found in the vicinity in the evening. Most of us switched off early to compensate for the previous night. Also, for what was coming the next day - the 6 km trek. 43


We were slated to leave at 0630 but by the time everyone got out of their tents, filled our water bottles and left, it was almost 0700. We left in our jeeps, feeling the cool breeze in the morning. It was good as we started out early; we couldn’t feel the heat of the sun, even if it was up by about 9, completely blazing. The jeeps dropped us off at a certain point and we walked from there. It was a nice place with a small cave inside, which contained stalactites and stalagmites and also a naturally made statue of the ‘linga’. After touring the caves, we climbed down little more and finally reached the river where we were going to swim again. After what felt like heaven, we readied ourselves to continue the journey, now upwards. We walked for 2 kms to find the jeeps waiting for us. We jumped in and most of us passed out for about an hour until we reached the Resort. In the evening, an environmentalist- Mr. Bhatt came to visit us. We had a little chat with him and then we were informed that they had scheduled a night walk. Yes, a walk in the jungle at night! It would be pitch dark and we would walk, one behind another, not knowing what would be lying in front of us. When the time arrived, we equipped ourselves with torches only to learn that the leader alone was allowed to use the torch, not the 20 of us walking behind. We were given instructions to remain as quiet as possible as it would increase the chances of catching a wild animal. So we walked for about 10 minutes and then we heard something running. When the person flashed the torch, we saw nothing. It was supposedly just a small animal, according to Mr. Bhatt and the locals. After the futile search, we were made to sit down in our paths in three rows. We sat there for another 15 mins observing the sounds of crickets, other insects and a few birds. We spent just half an hour but it has to be one of the best experiences of my life.


Just when we thought that our trip was coming to end, we were informed that we would be going for another trek the following morning. This was going to be the toughest trek of the tour. Now the path that we were walking in inspired me as it was the ‘real’ trekking type; hard, slippery and narrow. We walked across dry rivers, even ones that were tributaries of River Kali. We trekked for almost 2 hours, some girls already crying out of fear. Then we reached the point that struck us all by surprise, making it worse for more women. A hill next to the waterfall!! We were going to trek on the mountain, without any support or safety measures. We helped each other and I managed to get a small scratch on my camera lens as it accidentally hit something while climbing (Carrying a camera around your neck and climbing, not a good idea at all!). It was a mind-blowing experience no doubt, but tested our stamina. Being a sportsperson, I did not feel the pinch, except on the first day (because of lack of sleep and tiredness of the train journey!).

We got back to the hostel, had lunch and we were instructed to pack our bags as we were leaving that evening. We packed and assembled to discuss about the entire trip, how all of us enjoyed and what we all learned from the trip. (I learned to bond with nature and I’d definitely do more to give back to them, in whatever way I can). It was one of the best nature conservation camps that I had attended, not that I have attended many, but I know it wouldn’t be of this quality. This trip is strongly recommended. The best time to go has to be before May and after the rains. Winter is great but it would be cold so stack up some warm clothes. But in case you plan to do the trip, please carry cargo pants and do not trek in jeans or in shorts. 3/4 pants should be okay as long as your socks can cover the rest of your leg.

Akshay, 20, is currently a student at Swansea University, UK, pursuing a degree in Media Studies. He loves travelling and photography. His blog -


LONGING Series by Swati Bhatnagar


My constant endeavor when I take a picture is to tell a story. So when I take a picture I ask myself - does this picture tell a story? How different is it from the millions of other pictures out there? What sets it apart? So I love to learn, I love to get better..


I was born in Delhi and I grew up here. Majoring in Philosophy from Delhi University made me realize how much I hated Philosophy and loved photography. Its only been a couple of months that I've been shooting. I also feel that a university like Delhi University, which is arguably, one of the best universities in the world should provide more options for students who love photography. We need more colleges, better infrastructure! I'd love to take this up professionally. But I've just started. And I am willing to learn as much as I possibly can.


Simple things fascinate me. Telling a story out of them fascinates me more.


Book Review by Vishesh Unni R Book: Bala Takes The Plunge Author: Melvin Durai Simple, funny and entertaining! When someone says ‘Indian Authors’, the writers who come to my mind are Ghosh, Rushdie, Seth and the like. But this book is something completely new (at least to me) and what’s more, I really liked it! A simple story - Bala is a Chennai boy with an engineering degree, working in the US. He gets lonely and wants to get married (thus ‘takes the plunge’). The first part of the book is about Bala’s childhood, family and the way he was brought up. The second part is about his love for America (his dog) and the search for a bride. The Indian characters are the easily recognizable stereotypes who are omnipresent and the ending is predictable. Yet, what makes the book worth reading, is the wit- humour and word play. The book gets you chuckling and yes, the ‘mokais’ (PJs or Blunt jokes) are well timed (considering it caught me off guard at a few places).

Today, sexual jokes are invariable form any part of literature, plays, movies, etc that categorize under the ‘humour’ tag. But the author is confident enough to stray away from this beaten path (except maybe in a few innuendos, which depend upon your perception). This makes the book refreshing and enjoyable. I love the way he tries to define how people classify others based on their intellect (like scrabble being one level below Chess; and if you happen to play chess, you are seen as a clever person). Overall, a very simple & enjoyable book. Something which you could read while travelling. Of course, I’m tempted to put this under TamBram literature, but I don’t think there is something called TamBram literature.

Vishesh, 19, is an avid reader and writer from Chennai. He has been blogging since the dinosaurs disappeared and has recently started to grow a moustache. His other interests include music, poetry and football. His blog -


There is no end to Art. The reason for your creativity to have ‘stopped’ is *you* and nobody else. I honestly wish that every artist who gets featured in START takes it in a positive direction to make something worthwhile of all the recognition. This is an opportunity that needs to be caught and we are all working really hard to make it happen. I wish you all the best.



I have never written a letter to a magazine before, but now I am doing it, because the greatness of the magazine has to be acknowledged. 1500 hits for an inaugural issue is excellent!! Talking about firsts, this is where my first story got published by a platform that was not mine. Which given my immense talent and astronomical amounts of finesse is a shocker. But, personal tragedies of life aside, I've a very important observation to make. Ever since I was featured in stART, my writing has come to a stOP! All I have written is a few blog posts, and such literary gems as this letter itself. My life too, seems to have drifted away from the life required for an artist to blossom. The writers and the photographers of this magazine are great. The editor is also great. The publisher issuu is also very nice. Please read it. And tell it to your friends too. Sameer Jha.

The second issue was very good. However I would like to see a more diverse content for the mag. Featuring the artists is the core of the mag and there is no meddling with that... but I would like to see more stuff on the side-lines, like a regular column, which you can write...Or, say a photo and your view on it or some contribution from your readers... or some really cool website/blog related to your mag's theme. The theme of art still remains except that it is not now wholly concentrated on those featured artists alone. Cheers, Rahul V



These are some great ideas. Thanks for the suggestions, Rahul! Will definitely try to implement some of it in the coming issues.

Got something to say to the artists or the editor? Send us your ideas and feedback! Weâ€&#x;d love to hear from you! 57

Join us!

Direct your feedback and suggestions to


Cover image by: Shriparna Sarkar

Issue 3  

December 2010 Issue 3. Showcasing Young Indian Artists.

Issue 3  

December 2010 Issue 3. Showcasing Young Indian Artists.