People who know me well are aware that I often end up bringing people I love into my work as characters. This is true of both animation films and especially book illustrations.Sometimes these characters are full fledged roles like our friends Arvind & Kusum in The Grand Chapati Contest or Sumant Rao as 'Nature Uncle' in the recently released 'Ishaan's Treasures' if they fit the bill. They are most often guest appearances and walk by cameos. This has been so since the earliest projects.. so colleagues, friends, my own humble self and of course the family! show up in my work.
This is not a deliberate exercise, it happens when it does and gives me great joy when doing it. It also makes the scene more real for me, the pose and posture of the character no longer needs to be imagined, but just 'seen' or merely remembered to be drawn and and is obviously more authentic... In the earlier mentioned 'Ishaan's Treasures', my late father-in-law, Tabla maestro Pt. Sudhir Sansare made an unexpected appearance on the beach coz it felt like he had gone for a stroll there... Instead of some random character it became him. I have only met him a couple of times and he passed away long before I married his daughter :)
Yesterday many people celebrated 'Father's Day' by remembering and paying tribute and notes of love to their dads... Jyotika, my sister was inspired to create an entire song which was filled with genuine feeling. The little video with pictures of her and papa was indeed a touching tribute and made one remember him intensely.
Papa, Shri PremKumar Sharma passed on in 2013.
Often, even as late as last week, I feel like he is back home... tinkering away with something, mostly a tune and calling my sister cute made up names..
Especially in my baby steps into the world of classical music, I wish he was around even more... As a parent he didn't force me to learn music tho he tried and gave up when he found his child more interested in "kaagaz kaale karna" (literally: blackening paper ie drawing)... (Its not that I wasn't interested in music, drawing and comics offered a far greater pull to my imagination.. but its a whole different story for another time)
As I was seeing her song I suddenly remembered all the times He has popped up in my illustration work, whether from the first 'role' I gave him as Nandbaba (5) in The Karadi Tales KRISHNA books from 2000, or the many cameos of him walking around (usually with Jyo in his arms) in the pages (worlds) of 1] Miss Moochie's 'FRANK GOES TO THE MARKET' 2017, 2] RAMU AT THE FAIR' (2) 2019, 3] The Mangrove Foundation's ISHAAN'S TREASURES 2021, 4] Complan CRICKET BOOK 1999, 6] Duckbill's THE GRAND CHAPATI CONTEST