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Art and Life

Henry Taylor

In the Portland Museum of Art’s snack bar
one July morning, a young woman worked
at the board that lists the specials of the day.
From her little stepladder she leaned in
with various colored chalks, using both point
and edge, adjusting with her fingertips,
experimenting with size and color, print
and script, once or twice stepping down and back,
then homing in on what was to be solved.
The whole thing might have taken her ten minutes.
At last she moved a little farther back
to see how what she’d done had changed the room,
while we, who had the good luck to be there
at the beginning of her day, beheld
the change she couldn’t know that she had wrought
merely by how her red hair caught the light.


While the world disagrees about what Art is, where it starts and where it ends; it’s safe to say that we all find comfort and solace in seemingly small, sometimes, even similar products of artistic invention or effort. This poem by Taylor seemed perfect for this issue, considering the workshop and all the different pulps, powders, glues, inks and dyes we have all found ourselves drowning in. 

In her delectable book ‘Just Kids’, Patti Smith writes of a conversation she had with Robert Mapplethorpe about his “hard- core photographs… for people over eighteen”. 

“He didn’t think the work was for everybody…. He said that someone had to do it, and it might as well be him. His mission was not to reveal, but to document… as it had never been done before. What excited Robert the most as an artist was to produce something that no one else had.” 

Interestingly, Austin Kleon’s ‘Steal like an Artist’ takes a vastly different approach to creating. 

Irrespective of your leanings, it seems to me that to be a Maker (yes, with a capital M) is to trust in (a) process. And so, here are some things lovely, lonesome and even laughable that might just remind you to trust 🟡




Manasvini SN

The Silent Scourge

Reading Time: 4 Minutes

Our cities are fighting with what is, now, clearly a disconcerting problem. It seems to be something so new that even after many months, countries across the globe are still grappling trying to understand it. The number of people affected is rising as we speak and there has been very little headway in finding a cure for this strange, new disease. Where did it come from? What do we do about it? And most importantly, will the world learn to adjust to it now that it’s here to stay? Let us look at the problem a little closer.

Over these houses hangs an air of guilt, sickness, lethargy and an above all, inexertion. It’s inhabitants display all the symptoms of this new illness, some of them fighting against it while others have not been as strong and have had to surrender to it long ago.

Under these roofs, in the middle of the afternoon, are people napping.

In the infant days of the pandemic when a good part of the world was engaged in ‘Until-Tomorrow’s, brewing foamy coffee and 15-second choreographies, a small juvenile crowd started experimenting with uncontrolled, unprescribed afternoons naps. Such midday breaks were not unheard of, but the regularity with which they were being indulged in was worrying. Isolated cases began to be reported in housing societies in Bangalore and were quickly reported by Resident Welfare Associations to the concerned authorities.

Since the very first days, ‘the nap’ has been attended to with reverence and awe. People have been taken in by it to such an extent that the lack of it, after enough doses and prolonged habituation, has the ability to drive victims almost mad. Day after day, people have been reported waking up at a quarter past six in the evening with haggard hair, dry mouths and move with the grace of semi-conscious, tranquillized trolls. What first began as harmless afternoon breaks have turned into a dangerous addiction, with those who have returned to work unable to function without them.

“I used to be a happy fellow before…but now I can’t get through the day without having two-or-three good ones. I feel like its the only interesting thing I do. It’s really tearing my family apart”, said a home-science teacher, asking to remain anonymous. His wife is an anti-napper.

Obscure sects, rumoured to be funded by mattress companies, have also started strengthening their hold on such vulnerable nappers. Organizations like The Cult of the Siesta have opened hundreds of small nap dens around our own country replete with fluffy cushions, springy mattresses, fine-tuned ceiling fans and, in some of the more serious ones, extra soft blankets. The political discourse over this rising menace has been unexpectedly unanimous, with a resounding outcry from both the Conservative and Liberal sides denouncing such unjustifiably unproductive practices.

The napping community, however, is not taking this lightly and has actively tried conducting protests demanding their rights. 

These have been only sparsely successful since they were organized in the afternoon.

Naps clearly seem to make people see the world differently. They are currently the leading reason people take sick days and the lack of them is a common cause of visits to the emergency room.

How do you protect yourself from such naps? There are a few things you can try at home:

      1. If you see anyone in your home napping, or even preparing for one, maintain your distance. Naps are highly contagious and you might feel the lethargy before you know it.
      2. If you find yourself napping in excess and uncontrollably, consider acquiring a disease. Experts suggest diarrhoea, abdominal pain, hives or even rampant dental caries. This may sound uncomfortable, but they add that “They do a damn good job of keeping you awake.” The premise of this course of treatment is that the more time patients spend dealing with a slightly bigger problem, the less they’re likely to sleep. The research is sparse and sketchy, but the clinical trials have shown some promise.
      3. Consider Conquistador Instant Coffee.

If you see anyone around you indulging in excessive napping and encouraging others to do the same, remember to contact the Public Welfare Officers appointed by the government to keep you safe. Stay safe, stay awake. Constant vigilance. 

PS: I wrote this to be silly, but I was surprised to find during my reading, halfway through writing this, that something similar had in fact happened, nearly a century ago when people were dying of a sleeping sickness (or ‘encephalitis lethargica’). There are newspaper clippings in the
Library of Congress archives, a book by Oliver Sacks and this article in Scientific American if you’re interested in reading more about this bizarre epidemic. As Sherlock Holmes put it in ‘A Case of Identity’, life truly is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent.

Aman Bhargava

Pick of the Web

Butler’s notes to herself about writing. |
The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens

1. Bestselling sci-fi author, Octavia Butler, at the age of nine, had what can only be called an ‘artistic epiphany’. Here’s a snippet of her awe- inspiring journey from “Geez, I can write a better story than that!” to the MacArthur Fellowship.

2. Leon Fleisher was one of America’s most beloved pianists. “In his memoir, Fleisher said he couldn’t remember a time when he wasn’t playing the piano.Here is a list of lessons his son, Julian learned from him.

3. Rick Steves, travel writer, activist and author can tell you how to avoid having your pocket picked on the subway in Istanbul, and can teach you the magic idiom that unlocks perfectly complementary gelato flavours in Florence (“What marries well?”). The pandemic has bound Steves to his house; which is more than unfortunate for a man who once said: “I get energy from travelling. It’s like I’m breathing straight oxygen. What would I do if I stayed home? Nothing I would remember.” Here is an interview about his life in isolation, featuring silly calendars, lovely sunsets and dogs.

Source: Zenpencils

Da Vinci's self doubt.

Whether these two weeks have been harrowing or relaxing, we hope that you are sleeping enough and drinking water. (If you have access to pandas and are getting fluffy hugs, even better). 

To wish you luck for the upcoming cycle would be predictable; so instead, here’s some advice from da Vinci; he obviously knew what he was talking about.

Student Artist Spotlight

Malay Vasa

Hey there. I’m Malay.
Starting with a little bit about me, I started getting into design in the early days of school. I would volunteer for almost any sort of task that required design posters, invites, PPTs you name it. This slowly led to me participating(and winning a few) in Inter and Intra School competitions, and eventually that’s what made me choose design as a career. I mostly use Cinema 4D, Photoshop and Illustrator. 

I’m into coding too, I’ve tried almost everything from simple HTML & CSS websites to full-stack MERN applications. I also love working with p5.js, and along with Aman from The Yelli Pages team, I’ve attached an interactive p5.js project of mine right here in the newsletter called Generative Identity. This was made part of the official p5JS showcase earlier this year, as you can see here. Like the name suggests, this generates an abstract visual pattern from your name. Just enter your first name and click Generate (You can also download your pattern too if you really like it). Want an explanation? Visit my Behance below.

As for my artwork, This is a series I call “Crispy Render”. Crispy Render because people often have the urge to eat them after looking at them for a while. This series is the result of an absolutely random process of exploration in Cinema4D. I just took every dial and button, and pushed it as far as it would go before my computer gave up. 

If I were to talk about what inspires me, I’d say mostly it comes from SciFi Books or Movies. I’m a huge space nerd. Some random facts about me: My favorite movie is Interstellar, I have a (dead) podcast called The Helu World Podcast (Just a bunch of Srishti Kids discussing random topics) and I like playing with Legos.

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Eating with Your hands

Tales From the road begrudgingly traveled :
a comic in ten parts.

Anvay Sudame

Odyssey, Part 1

You left

The next day we spat out
A needle
Small and vicious
Peppered with blood
The arrow curved
It carved our throat
Glinted on our bedside table
Like a promise

The next day
The dial
Ripped apart our pupil
So now we only see

The day we put them together
Our neighbour’s dog died
A coincidence
We’re sure

Now we search for you
Using the compass
Magnets grown in our garden
Heavy with the resentment
You cultivated in us
So lovingly

[read more]

We laid out a map
Of your transgressions
A ruler made of
Pieces of our spine
Warped together

We had abandoned it
When we were with you
It wasn’t happy when it saw us
Dusty as it had become
In the attic 

But the bone is such a lovely shade
For every stroke we make
A crow comes and dies in our doorway
Climate change
We’re sure

The chain to hold
The compass
Leaked out of our ears
Like a gift
From a nightmare

The compass
Is complete

We begin.


Diya Philippa Varkey

Year 2, Creative Writing, Batch of 2023

Bazaar Mic 2020

Mujo will will be organizing Bazaar Mic 2020 and are looking for student performers to join them. If you’re up to it, registrations close on 20th October (Tuesday). More on that in the link in bio here.


(PS: Go for it, we believe in you. God promise)

  • Art and Life
  • Be
  • The Silent Scourge
  • Pick of the Web
  • Student Artist Spotlight
  • Eating with Your hands
  • Odyssey, Part 1
  • Bazaar Mic 2020