A Happy Con

But for my sister I would not have gone for this year’s Comic Con convention in Bangalore. Touted as the biggest of comic conventions held in India and with a larger gathering than the previous years, Veena made sure I had all arrangements in place as she came down from Mangalore for this. And boy… was it fun.

I bought the Super Fan ticket for Veena for which she would receive some extra goodies, while I stuck to a day pass. This year the convention was held at the White Orchid Convention centre next to the Manyata Tech Park in Hebbal, Bangalore. I had hardly been to this part of town and we had to retrace their steps as I missed a turning. Thanks to Google Drive (though not completely) we made a safe landing at the venue.

Veena with Khaleesi from 'Game of Thrones'
Veena with Khaleesi from ‘Game of Thrones’

We landed on the second day, a weekend and were early, hence were able to get through the pass collection and security check quite fast. I had booked the tickets online and we did not ave to go through the registration process while picking our tickets. While going towards the security check we noticed a tiny kid dressed like Magneto from X-Men strutting confidently towards the venue with his parents. He was a part of the cosplay and what struck Veena and me was the air of confidence with which he carried himself. I missed taking a picture of him with his cape flowing as he walked past, head high in the air. It was cute and endearing. Veena was all excited and told me that we have to get a photo with this guy once we are in. Alas, with the growing crowds we lost him.

But, once inside, Comic Con was a blast. There were tons of crazy stalls and curios out there and we made it through all the stores while patiently sifting through what they had on offer. The first purchase was a Tywek Simpsons wallet for me. This wallet never tears and is made of Tywek which is one of the toughest fibers from DuPont. The next purchase was a Guardians of the Galaxy set followed by books – ‘Maus‘ by Art Spiegelman and ‘V for Vendetta‘. And then there came the big one.

David Lloyd - co-creator and artist of 'V for Vendetta'
With David Lloyd – co-creator and artist of ‘V for Vendetta’

Veena wanted to meet David Lloyd, the co-creator of ‘V for Vendetta’, but when we entered we were told he would be in the next day. This dampener was soon removed when a volunteer confirmed that he would be at the venue in 15 minutes. No sooner did we buy the ‘V for Vendetta’ graphic novel from the Crossword stall, than we saw David Lloyd settling in on stage to sign the books. We rushed to the section and were second in the line. And then he signed our book – “For Veena and Vivek from David Lloyd”. We were thrilled, never had we met an author who signed our books and here we were with one of the greatest graphic artists of all time with a personally signed copy of his masterpiece. And to top it, he graciously agreed to a request to have a photo with him. He got out of his seat, got us on stage and had an assistant take our photo with him. And he was such a gentleman. Respect.

We were now in seventh heaven. And we raided every stall from here on. My favourite was the Mario Miranda and the Bombay Talkies (I think) stall. I bought a ‘Godzilla‘ poster from the Bombay shop and a couple of Mario Miranda official digital prints from his shop. The Mario Miranda team was from Goa and they were just like a little shop of curios. A delightful experience if there was any. Veena was all over the place and I lost track of the number of things she bought.
As we left the venue the crowds swelled and it began getting stuffy. I was glad we were there on time to see everything in relative comfort. And so like giddy kids we got back home with our spoils of the day. Comic Con, I definitely will be back next year. Good show.


When the sun goes down

Sitting on the beach as twilight approaches
I look across the horizon and watch the murder of crows
flying off to their nests as evening comes by
with the waves below giving out a collective sigh.

Day ends, but the sun still remains
giving out a last ray of hope of the hours that were
the sand gently brushes against my feet
as the wind raises up a gentle storm.

I have gone through the day
It had its bright spots, it had its eclipses
and there was this one flare that really shined
to the point where I believed the experience to be divine.

But flares do die down with the change in weather
From the fiery heat to the coldness of winter
A day can include every season of the year
seasons that bring in courage and fear.

I took on the morning with the courage of a Spartan
Sure, decisive and warmed up for the moment
And then came the rain that drew out the clouds
And dampened and left me cowering in the shadows.

I tried to rise up from the storm
reached out and ran down a trail that was no longer smooth
Flowing mud and roots that caught my feet
Leaving me searching for a shelter to retreat.

The flashes of lighting lit up the trail
and the sun came out in spurts with some hail
I waited and wandered, meandered in fact
wondering if I had the courage to compete and act.

I began on a path that turned into a false start
Never reaching the true map that had been drawn
The day influenced and brought out its share of mirages
Shimmering and driving insane the needles on the compass.

I watched and waited and that’s all I did
The day went on leaving me behind
By the time all ended the wreckage was on the sands
The very sands where I built castles as a child.

I had this day to reach out and act
Slice through the foliage that blocked out the sun
Be on a path that ran through and true
But alas I was stuck in a shadow I hardly knew.

I know not what I have become
As twilight descends on the sands of the beach
I know not what the next day holds
Or if the moon would shine down tonight with unease.

As I leave nature to chart its own path
I look into myself and see what I have got
I could use the waves and the wind that blows in gusts
To map my course with an honest heart.

Done with the Dark

In the last couple of months I have turned into a voracious reader – all thanks to Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series. I loved reading as a kid, devouring 2-3 novels a week during the summer holidays, but the habit sort of fizzled out once I got into college and then into professional life. Not that reading was completely ruled out but now it was restricted to 4-5 novels a year and that too each novel took me a couple of months to read by which time I had forgotten half of the characters and their mortality rate.his-dark-materials

I inherited His Dark Materials from my sister’s collection with the recommendation that these were novels that were integral to the neo-classical genre and a must read. This coming from my sister who rarely showcases her likes or dislikes piqued my curiosity and got me to start off on this. This brought back my old habits. Three books back to back were finished in no time and a regret that there were no more in the series to pursue.

My verdict of His Dark Materials series (Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass) – One of the best grown up fantasy adventures ever written. The contents of the books may be somewhat controversial to those who swear by organised religion and the diktats from13738203 above that bind them, but the subtle meaning in the books drive home the point that there’s more to life after all. No more metaphors or dragging reviews and giveaways. Just go read it.

Besides the His Dark Materials trilogy, I also had an unfinished Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy omnibus with me. This book that I picked up from Sankar’s at the Bangalore Airport in 2006 had been a stutter and stop read. I had just about made it to the last novel i.e. Mostly Harmless and the short story before it which was ‘Young Zaphod Plays it Safe’ when I stopped short of completing it about a year ago. The book was just lying there unfinished. After Dark Materials I made it a point to complete this at the expense of mundane news and TV serials.

I would say that my new found interest in books is due to the fact that there is hardly anything worthwhile paying on TV nowa300px-sherlock_holmes_-_the_man_with_the_twisted_lipdays. Now that the reading bug has bitten me I don’t see it disappearing anytime soon. Right now, I am onto the complete and unabridged Sherlock Holmes series. This is another book that I picked up at a book sale in 2005 (I don’t remember the book seller). It included the adventures, memoirs, return of Sherlock Holmes and the Hound of Baskervilles all in one book with the original Sidney Paget illustrations. All this for Rs. 350. Quite a steal, but it lay unread on my table for sometime. Sherlock Homes was a hero to me as a kid and I had read some of the short stories that appeared randomly in assorted sets of books. Long forgotten, I turned to my complete Sherlock Holmes volume and I am now in the middle of it trying to figure out the Adventure of The Man with the Twisted Lip.

Thank god for literature. In the event of an electric storm we still have a lot to look forward to.

Birthday Blues

I hate it when birthdays come on a weekday, especially the start of the week. Mine happened to fall on a Tuesday (yesterday). Went through the day like any other day. Mundane work and the words ‘economic recession’ drilled into your head day in and day out don’t make for a good time to go about celebrating.

Also, I hate celebrating my birthday at the workplace. A birthday is personal and I prefer keeping it that way and celebrate it with people who mean to me. I made sure that the birthday notices pasted at the office reception and screaming best wishes to me were removed as soon as I got in. The admin guy summed it up best. You can’t remove the posters in my honour as it’s part of the process to post these rags. That’s exactly it, my birthday has no business to be apart of your process. It’s my birthday and it’s my decision to paste things around about me.

snickersAnyway the day went off as usual. Well-wishers in office did wish me thanks to the social networking sites sending them notices and by word-of-mouth. My treat for the day was having a couple of Snickers after dinner. Other than that it was the normal menu. I am a sucker for Snickers, but the one’s sold in India suck. They are made somewhere in Poland and imported to India. While they retain the general texture and taste, I felt that they were a bit too oily and not as dry and hard as the one’s fromt he US. Anyway, ended the day with a couple of chapters from ‘The Amber Spyglass‘, the last of Philip Pullman‘s His Dark Materials trilogy. I am enjoying every bit of this series.amberspyglass1

Birthday plans – This Saturday with friends in Bangalore. Yet to decide on a restaurant. Chinese probably. Followed by another birthday bash next weekend in Mangalore with friends (thinking of The Village, got some of the best grub in Mangalore). Wish I could have one big treat in Mangalore. The food and retaurants there beat the food scene in Bangalore hands down. Now, you know why most of the cooks in Bangalore come from this region. Christy Bharath are you listening?