I love drawing. Especially cartoons. It all started when I was in the 5th grade, my first year at a boarding school. I was in Scindia, by the way. I hated math and had a terrible math teacher. Also, did I mention that I was a stubborn little critter? My way of protesting was to doodle in my math book.
The very first comic strip I drew was called ‘Big Mac’. It was about a guy who wanted to become a boxer against his father’s wishes. He’d get beat up every night and come home with a few teeth missing. One day, after some 70+ episodes, I got caught and ‘Big Mac’ got confiscated. And that’s all I have to say about that.
In 8th grade, I had an art teacher called Mr. Jojo Jacob, who I really liked, mainly because he encouraged me to bunk classes and hang out in the art room. He was a pothead which I learnt much later on. He was never really liked by the other teachers for his very anti-establishment outlook. In his head, the poor guy was still in woodstock. He made me start a cartoon strip mocking every teacher, one a week. All to be taken in jest of course, but it was petrifying. The teachers took it well though mainly because I kept the humor a little above the belt.
As with all Indian students, the years from 10th to the 12th grade were a blur. Periods of intense studying and even more intense praying. Getting into a medical school was not easy. Whilst in 11th, I met this bunch of really fun people, all of whom wanted to pursue engineering abroad. We had a blast and it was very sad when they left after 12th. So my third attempt at a comic strip was starring this odd bunch called ‘God Save Us’, chronicling all the good and not so good times we shared. It was the most finished product I had ever come up with, inked with special rotring pens and india ink, it looked professional. And very well received, remembered to this day.
So, when I came across Marjane Satrapi’s work, namely Persepolis and Embroideries, I was taken back to what was my beloved hobby. I want to crack open my pens and dust off the cartridge paper sketch books and start doodling again. This stupid doctor profession keeps getting in the way.
The only question is, who’ll be my muse? My wife? The mother-in-law (that would be a funny strip)? Or the kids in the house?
And just for that feeling of fresh enthusiasm, thanks Marjane.
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