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START magazine


START magazine June 2011 Issue 6 All images belong to the respective artists Cover image by Saranya Gunasekaran Š Respect copyrights

dear readers START (even before it was called ‘start’), was originally supposed to be an ‘inspiration blog’ where I would interview young people like me, who created something of their own. As the links in my ‘inspiration’ bookmark folder increased, I discovered and the whole idea of START to be an e-zine took shape. START is growing every month and for me, it feels great to be that medium between the artists and you. As months pass by, I see more folks joining me in creating START and take it in a particular direction. This issue has a nice variety of art – from individual photography projects to designing personal sketchbooks. Creative writing is back, and I was surprised to see it still fresh and undying. Also, look out for that 17 year young girl who taught me that photography is about learning about your subjects and not just about clicking something ‘artsy’. At the end of it all, may it be poetry or painting, art remains our favourite medium of expression. Keep creating.


featured BHARAT BASWANI ……………………….………….… travel keeda ANGAD PAL SINGH KINGRA ………….…..delhi uncommon MADHUVANTHI MOHAN …………….….. something sketchy SARANYA GUNASEKARAN ………………..colours on canvas NAMRATA GOYAL ………………….………. life in an art school ABHIJNA DESAI ………………………...…………… winged jewels EJAZ AHMED ………………….…. small, little and big things

travel keeda BHARAT BASWANI is a 20 year young electronic media student from Indore, showcasing two of his photography projects - ‘Doors, Windows and Locks’ and, ‘Children from different worlds’ captured along his travels across India.


I'm an enthusiastic photographer, low budget traveler and backpacker from Indore, India who is on his quest to explore and capture the incredible country of India. Being an explorer, I have a wide range of interests. From Indian classical music to trance, I love listening good music. Birdwatching, trekking and camping help me increase my proximity to nature. Having explored many waterfalls around the city, bathing in waterfalls is my hobby. Riding on curvy mountainous roads is also in my list of favorite activities. Apart from these, I'm also interested in movies, sports and culture. I love photographing historical monuments and structures from a different perspective and point of view. Doors, Locks and Windows is a theme that I would like to work upon as a long term project.

Spotted this array of windows in Devguradia village. This photo is a personal favorite. The contrasting colors, the shadows and the monotony broken by the last window. I've named this one as "Things change". No matter how many hardships you face, a day will come when things will change. This is the idea behind the picture.

Another one from my favorite series. A monochrome photo offering a range of tones. Location – Rajbada, Indore

Ice-creamy colors. Location – Ujjain, MP

The door and the pillar are from the Holkar Palace (aka Rajbada) of Indore.

‘Children from different worlds’ is about capturing the essence and hardships of childhood as seen from different places. It gives the viewer a contrasting perspective about how children from distinct locations experience their world.

This one was taken in Piwdai village in Indore district. I was on the cycle yatra with some like-minded people. We cycled for some 25-30 km one way to the village with only a camera and a cycle, worked a bit with villagers and slept outside a small concrete room in the middle of the fields. The next morning when we moved ahead, we were greeted by these children who were curious about my camera. Each one of them approached me for a picture. I then asked them to line up height-wise for a group picture. Some say that, it is similar to the signal bar in the cell phones!

Shivji Ka Halma - More than 10,000 tribals got together on the hills of Hathipaava, approx 1 km from Jhabua (MP), to build trenches and other infrastructure for rain water harvesting.

Clicked this urban kid while trying my hands on the magical 50mm

Shot at Kampel VIllage during the Hatyari Khoh Photowalk.

While roaming around in the old streets of Maheshwar (MP), I found these two sisters peeping out from a window. Soon they came down and approached me for a picture. I saw an old bicycle resting against the wall. I chose it as the backdrop. The cowdung lying nearby added to the old and raw feel of the photograph so, I decide to include it as well.

Photography for me is a lifestyle. It is a way of living. You see things from your perspective, you interpret the surroundings in your own way and try to capture your feelings in a frame. I've had so many ambitions since my childhood. I wanted to be a civil engineer, a software engineer, an electronic music producer and a dj. Now I want to be a photographer, want to be a traveler and travel writer, want to open a cafe in the mountains. Let's see how and where it goes!

delhi uncommon by ANGAD


a 24 year young startup guy from Chandigarh


In 6th grade my dad gave me his trusty old yashica automatic film camera, that was was where it all started. For as long as I can remember I've always viewed the world around me with a certain sense of awe. I've had this notion in my head that people around me don't quite appreciate this world we live in quite as much. I moved to dSLRs with a Canon 350D in 2007 and have never looked back!

All the pictures for this project have been shot within the Chandni Chowk and Chawri Bazaar area of Old Delhi on a single day. This is, in my opinion, the real Delhi, the Delhi that is soon being forgotten and replaced with malls and flyovers.

I went there with my friends to explore the innards of Old Delhi, and ofcourse to visit Karim's! I had never really shot people before, mainly because I'm too shy to approach them and am afraid of how they might react. This time however, I was determined. I must confess this determination was the result of some great advice from some of my photographer friends online. The couple of hours I spent shooting people left me humbled, this place and it's people were very different from what I'm used to. I was amazed at the conditions people put up with and how they survive.

This may sound incredibly cliched and boring, but the world and it's people inspire me! Everyday, mostly when I'm commuting to work I look at people and try to imagine their side of the story, the hardships they face, the problems they deal with, but still take each day head on.

Photography is important alright, but I try not to think of it as the only thing I love doing. That said, there is nothing that gives me greater satisfaction than getting a great picture. The way I photograph has changed over the years, I now try to get it right in the camera itself rather than rely on intense photoshop surgery. It is a life long exercise, you learn something new everyday.

something sketchy Brainchild of

MADHUVANTHI MOHAN, a 23 year young copywriter working in Mumbai, ‘something sketchy’ is all about light, funny, quirky, relevant, comic and funky pop art! Read on to find more about her journey as an artist and about ‘The sketchbook Project’.

I moved to Mumbai about two years ago, to study advertising at XIC, and that’s when I started doodling in my notebooks. I’ve always been the writer, but lately art has been giving me such a creative high. The XIC notebooks are sort of where I started.

The first proper sketch I did was for my company’s internal campaign, on how the company works. I’d initially conceptualised and visualised the idea, but my art director asked if I could sketch it out too, which is eventually what I did and it turned out pretty well. The company sent me to Amsterdam to attend a creative workshop soon after. I really loved it there, Amsterdam is amazing for art.

A month or so later I heard about The Sketchbook Project, run by the Art House Co-op in Brooklyn, New York. They send you a barcoded sketchbook, you pick a topic (mine was ‘Help!’), fill it up with whatever you want, and send it back to them. Then your sketchbook along with thousands of others goes on a tour across the US, and is displayed at different art galleries. I took part, and thoroughly enjoyed doing it. You can see my entire Sketchbook at

Comic Relief This was on a particularly frustrating day at work.

Toes with teeth It’s Christmastime, the stockings are all up. That leaves the poor toes out in the cold, doesn’t it?

You’ll be my Angel I was listening to “Angel” by Dave Matthews Band. Read the letters spelt out on the angel’s fringe. Bit difficult to spot. It reads M-a-m-a.

Something in my Eye I was listening to “Pretend” by MGMT. Look carefully in the more intricate designs of the iris. You'll find some words in there. The ‘something in the eye’, is a vision that we haven’t achieved yet, or are trying to.

MUST we be “Social” Today? Sometimes too many people can really get to you.

Santa Stuck in a Chimney. The aerial view.

Meanwhile, one of the MDs of my company saw my sketchbook and asked if I would be interested in doing some art for his band, The Second Shift. Of course, I was. I did an illustration for one of his songs, and made it into an AV. They played at Hard Rock Cafe, Mumbai on April 28, and projected my art on the screen behind them while they played. Good feeling!

When he was posting the video online, he asked me for a link to my page, for credits. I didn’t really have a page at that time, so I decided to create one. That’s how Something Sketchy came about. On the day of the gig I printed last minute cards to give out at HRC.

Photo by Pavan Srinath

Right now, Something Sketchy is just a facebook page - a means to showcase anything creative I do, and a means for people to contact me. Maybe it’ll be something more, later. My art is light, funny, quirky, relevant, comic, funky, pop art-y. I think there’s more to the thought than the execution. I usually listen to music while sketching... I like sketching to the beat. I love using lots of colour. But most of all, I love that feeling of being in ‘the zone’, when you’re completely consumed by what you’re doing, and that creative high you feel when you complete a project. It’s kind of addictive. Love that feeling... live for it.

colours on canvas Meet SARANYA GUNASEKARAN – a 22 year young user interface designer from Bangalore, whose paintings are influenced by Indian culture & tradition.

I am very close to Indian art, culture and tradition. Nature, people, landscape, wildlife and other trivial things bring a smile to my face. I am not a very ambitious person and consider myself a ‘girl-next-door’. I am a trained carnatic musician, play the violin and have started learning Bharthanatiyam. Now coming to my forte, which is painting. I started to paint when I was 5 and later graduated to other forms like sketching, glass painting, portraits, etc. I feel there is a lot more to learn and explore. Indulging in any kind of craft in my free time gives me immense pleasure and satisfaction.

When I was a kid, I used to scribble on whatever I found within reach - a wall, dad’s account books, magazines, table covers, etc. I’d like to mention one incident from my school days. I was in 1st grade and math class was going on. I ducked myself under the table and started sketching. The teacher caught me red handed but didn’t scolded me at all! Rather, she encouraged me to participate in a painting competition. That was my debut in the painting world. Since then, I’ve kept participating in numerous competitions and have performed well. Now, after so many years, I want to thank my teachers who supported me from the beginning.

I get inspired through observation and familiarity. Sometimes it is when I spend time reflecting on small elements, abstract thoughts, everyday life, fellow artists, personal belongings, nature, imagination, movies, books. From a single color to an entire color palette! I get ideas out of the blue when I am least expecting it. Every time I have to note it down somewhere. Else, I lose it for sure. It has happened in the past. I’ve lost many brilliant ideas which couldn’t come alive on my canvas.

I always do tasks that I like. I joined a 3 year course in animation and in parallel, took up BSc in visual communication. I was unable to find a job later due to recession. This is when I stayed home and did a lot of serious creative work and was inspired to create a blog and put up my work on it. I have recently started to sell my paintings as well.

My future is going to be as bright as my paintings, still a long way to go! For more paintings, Check out my blog at To buy my paintings, get in touch via e-mail:

life at an art school NAMRATA GOYAL, who just turned 20, is from Rajasthan, currently studying design at the Srishti school of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore. She shares her experience & views about what it is like to study art in India. Read on! working on a self portrait



ne summer vacation I remember, we

had gone over to my maternal grandparents house in Kota, Rajasthan. The next evening, I found my nani, my mother and myself sitting together to finish a stain glass painting of RadhaKrishna standing under a branch of cherry blossom like flowers. Throughout school, for as long as I can remember... I was never the topper or the girl that cried because she did not get a particular percentage or even her who fought for her marks. But I do remember staying up late nights to complete a half imperial size poster. My mother did oil paintings throughout her youth. As a child I grew up seeing those gorgeous pieces of work displayed around the house. It was in my blood I guess. I had also taken drawing and craft lessons earlier in my childhood. Eventually, when I had to start thinking beyond what I would do the next day, I took up Commercial Art as one of the subjects in high school. Which later brought me to research about design schools in India.

There are a lot things that I do, from where I draw inspiration. To name a few, reading – it could be a quote in some chapter, different genres of music – I like interpreting melodies through art/design, movies – especially silent movies – saying what needs to be said without actually saying it (except the parts which REALLY need subtitles), the editing and cinematography. Photography is another hobby that brings me back from the blue phase and inspires me to look for a new frame each time. I love going through works of great artists such as Van Gogh and Dali. People like David Carson and their contribution to graphic design is what I look up to.

One of my favourite courses – which also taught me the most important element used in Graphic Design -– was basics of typography in my first year. There were a few other skill-based courses, which were pre-requisites for projects such as making books. Second year onwards, we have more application-based courses, where the form/medium to express our understanding from the course is chosen on our own. So this year there was a course called “Street Kitchens” where we explored and researched street food, street vendors and how their lives were so connected to what they did. We made animations and one-minute films for this.

I believe one should do what they love and not for the sake of doing it – even if it is for their career. Only if they love doing it, can they do it all their life otherwise eventually they’re going to grow out of it and regret. It’s important to change the mindset of older generations that believe design is to do only with ‘Fashion’ and artists are people with unkempt hair and jholas. Art and design are the basis of all manmade creation around us. Even those big factories and production houses have a team that creates the basic design for every product that is produced in bulk. Without new designs, creativity would die. And life would become dull and static. Art and design is one field, which constantly changes. Nothing stays the same. I am one person who gets bored easily, so it’s the correct field for me.

The design industry is a new comer in our country. BUT it’s growing. People are becoming more and more aware of the new possibilities in their careers as artists and designers. I am also aware of the giant wave of competition that is going to hit me as soon as I graduate. But I guess we all need to fight and make our way through, to reach the point that all of us have dreamt of. 20 years later, I see myself as a freelance graphic designer. I may have to start with a job in a design house.


a day at Srishti There is no certainty to this one! It’s not like a regular college India’s most adolescents attend. It’s like an office, you can’t miss a day even if you want to. We have a compulsory 95% attendance! But that has its benefits also. Every one has to sign in as early as 9 am. Classes usually begin by 9:30 am. These classes and courses are chosen and picked up by the students themselves. From a range of courses that provide a similar skill set and scope for experimentation, the students sign up for one course at a time. Those courses not opted for, are usually never repeated in the

curriculum, unless they need to be or are demanded for. In between classes we have short “chai kade” breaks where most students walk out of the campus to a chai stall on wheels. The owner and his daughters are popular among all members of the Srishti Family and also become subjects of assignments and class projects every now and then. After classes, there are assignments for the day and deadlines that need to be met for the next day, almost everyday. So our day usually goes up to It’s a matter of getting used to.

With the increasing student admissions in Srishti, I know the awareness and scope of this field is growing. Everyday. And I am proud to be a part of this pod of creators

winged jewels An avid bird watcher from Bangalore, 17 year young

ABHIJNA DESAI talks about being a wildlife enthusiast, which has now led her to photography. You’ll be surprised as to how much she knows about birds and butterflies!


Caterpillar of crimson rose butterfly

My interest in butterflies started off couple of years ago. I was more into bird watching and snakes before the butterfly frenzy hit me. Dates back to 2006: a non poisonous Rat Snake entered my home and I was struck by its beauty. And gradually the interest which sparked on that day, intensified itself to the love for wildlife and compassion for animals later. It was thanks to Mr. MK Srinath, Former Education officer covering South India for the World Wildlife Fund, India, that my passion got some inputs. His trips, suggestions and all that he narrated had a great deal of impact on me, and my passion. Thanks to him, I got to know a few more people in the field of wildlife and natural history. Two years ago, I happened to meet Kishen Das, who studies butterfly migration in India. His expertise helped me gain some experience with butterflies. And here I am, photographing butterflies and identifying them, writing articles about their behaviour and how bizzare their seasonal migration is! Butterfly watching, for me, is an everywhere-and-anywhere sort of thing. I do go on short trips on the weekends exclusively for butterflies, but even otherwise, I keep watching butterflies and study them throughout the week (and throughout the day!) Its something that goes on simultaneously with everything else in my life!

to begin with, Its always better to go naturewatching with a good group of like minded people. Thats how I started off when I took to birdwatching. I joined the Bangalore Birdwatchers' Field club, which holds its regular meet at Lalbagh every second sunday of the month, 7.30am in front of the Glass house. And theres no registration or signing-up for the same. Its just a group of people with binoculars and cameras and birdbooks, where all want to spot some fine feathered creatures. The first thing one should have while naturewatching is not a pair of binoculars, not a field guide, not a camera, but simple field notes! Field notes are the ones that actually count when it comes to a lot of observations in the field. A photograph may say a thousand words, but there might be minute things it can't express. I'm sure a pen and a notebook would easily compensate that.

Common Five Ring (Ypthima baldus)

Common leopard

locations When I'm in the city, the weekends are all I get. So I visit nearby places rich in biodiversity. My favorite butterfly-ing spots in and around Bangalore are: Lalbagh, Hebbal lake and its surroundings, Kanakapura area, Mallasandra - our new school campus! And the surroundings of Valley School, Turahalli Reserve forest off Kanakpura, Bannerghatta reserve forest, Tippagondanahalli, Ragi halli and many others. If I get time, I get out of the city and head to Ranganthittu for some birdwatching. And if I get many days at a stretch, its the western ghats! Bandipur, Nagarhole, Kemmangundi, Chikmaglur, Kudremukh, Sringeri, Agumbe, Dandeli and Kali are my favorite places to visit for the sake of butterflies.

Common Banded Awl - nectaring

This is a Common Nawab (Polyura athamas), a very pretty butterfly. This has been my favorite no matter how many times I've seen it. Its an extremely territorial butterfly - which means, it shoos away other butterflies that enter its territory, and it maintains the same by "patrolling" all around! There are much prettier and beautiful butterflies among my favorites. The Southern Birdwing, India's largest butterfly, tops my list of favorites. I haven't been able to photograph it as yet, but have made countless paintings of it. I even sport a painting of it on my T-shirts! The Malabar Banded Peacock butterfly has been on my wish-list since the day I saw its picture in one of the books I've read. I've been looking for this butterfly since two years, but still haven't come across a single one. Its a rarity, all the same with the most beautiful ones!

Abnormally marked specimen - Dark Grass Blue

Plain Orange Tip (Colotis eucharis)

I've been into wildlife since I was in 6th grade. That makes it up to 7 years. And its been only a year since I've taken photography as a serious hobby. Wildlife photography is an interesting thing to do. Its a pain-staking, patiencedemanding job that pays off in the end as beautiful pictures. Strategically chasing the butterfly, stalking its daily behaviour, and finally getting that perfect picture! Its one awesome feeling! But there's more to wildlife photography than just beautiful pictures.

Yellow Orange Tip (Ixias pyrene)

Crimson tip female

Every picture has something to do with the characteristics of the species photographed: the behaviour, the habitat, the weather conditions it prefers, food habits, territorial rituals, courtship rituals, fights and many other aspects. One such aspect that has had me wondering since as long as I can remember: Butterfly migration. Three species of butterflies in southern India, migrate a whopping distance of 300+ kilometres at a stretch, two times a year in definite seasons. They migrate in several thousands.

Illustrating butterflies and birds is another branch of my wildlife-mania. I sketch every beautiful organism I come across. Butterflies, birds, lizards, geckos, snakes... what not. Sketching is another thing that acts as a compensation when photographs don't come out good, or when there are no possibilities of photography. A lot of observation goes into sketching animals in the wild, but its just as heavenly as photography. In fact, wildlife illustration and sketching has a lot more scope and importance in comparison to wildlife photography.

Studying wildlife, as I said, is painstaking!! Leeches get on your feet and you just don't know it until you notice that your socks are dripping blood. Ticks get hooked onto the folds of your stomach and suck all the blood they want. When you find them you don't even know how they got in there. Mosquitoes that bite painfully. Painful enough to cause a loud scream, seriously. Cuts, scratches, falls and sprains, muscle catches... I say its all part of the fun. Thats what makes me feel good at the end of the day. I pick up fecal matter of animals to study what they might have consumed, so that I can deduce what organism it was, that had defecated. I'm buried knee deep in slushy soil, trying to capture a picture of a rare butterfly. The danger, the insects and everything anyone normally wouldn't like to face, is what keeps me going. There's some excitement in that. And once you get into it, its just too hard to let it go. I'm sure I'll never feel like I had enough of wildlife, I'm sure I'll never feel like letting go, no matter where life takes me in the future. Cheers to wildlife! Red Pierrot

small, little, big things. by EJAZ AHMED

We all have had our share of joyous moments when we were under the blanket of bliss, which unseemly shrouded and denigrated the bleak path ahead. However, those larks clearly defined us. When I was young, I used to look forward to sit on the trolleys of the departmental stores and being pushed around the immaculately arranged drafty aisles. The colourful world whizzed around me. These scanty bursts of joy ride lauded my shopping experience. The whole world was my oyster. As time passed by, my steel Benz grew smaller and became less captivating as my legs could no longer be accommodated into those tiny compartments. Well, I convinced myself with that reason but there was something else to it. I thought that if I did sit on those carts again it would be considered condescending, even though I could not restrain myself to the strong impulsive inviting aura of the cart. So I bid farewell to the chauffeured days and turned myself away reluctantly.

And, there I was drifting away, nonchalantly, to the dainty world of books. New worlds blossomed with every turn of the page. Boundaries that I couldn’t transcend with the handcarts were now perceivable to such an extent that I literally lived and breathed the characters envisioned by some brainbox. It felt strange that I could connect intellectually and emotionally to some imaginary persona through words alone. Eventually, novels were my escapade into my blanket of bliss, which I thought I had lost when I abandoned my cart. No matter what the moments were, be it swaying from a swing to show how high we could reach, or bursting the bubble wraps or a casual night stroll or the hours of listening sessions with our iPods where we meant the world to us. It all has got us going and living, making our daily life unconventional. Every day we wait to indulge in those sweet illustrations, which are our own for the taking and it is worth the wait. Some people are so busy with their life that they forgot to set time for their own moments or didn't bother to chance upon them. Even if they did have one, it became invalid to them through the course of time.

Well, as far as I am concerned, I pity them for casting off such an invaluable asset that could sometime later on in life could define their existence or help in understanding the finer nuances of everyday living. It is not that hard to find those moments that make everyday special. I have found them in every walk of life, if I am unable to find them; I simply make believe that every following moment is special. Now the question still lingers, and it will never be totally answered, have you found your own special moment? We still loiter thinking about the past things and convincing ourselves that those were the best of times. Sometimes, the past was the best and we try to make our present just like the past and perhaps maybe in the future we could reminisce about the past, which is currently the present. I do sometimes miss my cart rides. So whenever possible, while shopping, I chauffeur myself unpretentiously along the aisles and I feel like I am six all over again.

Photo by Karthik

To say that writing just chanced upon me would be an understatement. After years of being a voracious reader and being inspired by the works of Stephen King, Tolkien, and the authors to the likes of Alice Sebold, if I didn’t have the propensity to write, I would be better off being without a soul and roam this derelict world like a zombie and I have been slowly building up my concepts, themes and fantasies. But I have not been able to find a suitable avenue for a while to channel my thoughts, I would doodle my views at the back of my notes hoping that someday it would turn into a real work. But then, something just pushed me, I felt I had to express myself before it’s just too late and then I started to write.

Writing literally means the world to me. I can just pen down any issue of any sort and infuse my ideas into it and create my own worlds and statements. Moreover, writing helps me to be seen and heard. Once, I was a nobody, just another kid going through the circle of life. And now, I am a someone, someone synonymous writings, someone who has different ideologies and a fair share of irregularities. As the old adage goes " a pen is mightier than a the sword" or better yet " words can kill"; I firmly believe that well refined words could make or break a person, either devastating the very fabric that defined him for long or could set him in motion that were merely his dreams. I hope to make people believe that there is still some good left in this world that is worth living for through my writings. Writing is what I really am and what I want people to know me for.

This is our fairy tale I won't be the one to come in gentle strides, a prince on a stallion, with a shiny armour. Won't be the one to carry you for a ride, on a road in the glory days of summer. I may not drape my coat on the ground, for you to saunter across the street. Out of the blue, I won't serenade love songs, every time I see you and when my heart skips a beat. Don't expect me to talk as the time unfolds, if that's what all Romeos and Juliets must do. My hands won't stretch out with flowers and gold, reading out all the time that I love you , too. You may have dreamed of a love of old fairy tales, but I am here just for you to start our very own. You can be rest assured that my love will never fail, as in my kingdom, a princess, you have been crowned.

Ejaz is a 21 year young writer and a poet from Chennai. The entire collection of his work can be found at

My life is shaped by the urgent need to wander

and observe, and my camera is my passport. STEVE McCURRY

Issue 6  

June 2011 Issue 6. Featuring young Indian artists.