THE GOD OF SMALL THINGS

¡Feliz Navidad, mis amigos!

Whether you spent Christmas all by yourself, with family or friends, your partner or pet – I hope it was filled with ‘roses’ and warmth. There are some days and nights when you have to tell yourself that the light of sun, moon and stars are worth it. Everything! Life, and all its many mysteries. The little things. Spending part of your time reflecting on love and loss – it is hard, sometimes to count just your blessings. For cracks tend to run deep and show all that is in between. Yes; deep gulps, bitter swallows.

We are here, now and I am grateful. I cannot be anything else. There will continue to be joyful, wild hope following every desperate/destructive moment; there will continue to be plants shooting out of a ground that was only watered by hate – I will try to remember all of this. – So I spent Christmas quietly, with family – as I usually do. There was mulled apple cider that I made (it was my first time making it and uh, it was okay but yay), roast chicken with a home-made stuffing and some saffron pilaf-ish rice (cooked by my sweet, talented mother); we also met my aunts, uncle and cousins for dinner at their home in Mahim, last night. It was surprisingly low-key and lovely – we talked about mental health and sexual harassment (would you believe) and though most of our arguments weren’t met by the elders with conviction, I am glad that the conversation was had.

P.S. This post is dedicated to the inhabitants of a beautiful home in Porvorim (Goa); I have been thinking of all of you, most – this December. (And should you, dear reader, pray on a regular basis to a deity or our mother – Earth, could you please ask for love and light to swiftly and slowly be on its way to this particular family? Thank you for your ears, and eyes, dear reader – you may have them back, now.)

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Artwork by Roanna Fernandes

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THE WRITING ON THE WALL

It has been what? – one week into December, and Christmas already is so close. Should you need to know… Christmas began early for me, this year; it has been feeling like the festive season from November onwards (never mind that the Christmas spirit has momentarily abandoned me now that December is actually here but oh, well).

And oh, hello to you too. (Explaining more, below.)

#FacesintheTwitteringCrowd

This is a project inspired by the #visiblewomen I know on and off the interwebz. I titled it so because I figured that some of you enjoy your online presence (thanks, social media platforms) and perhaps might like to have an illustrated profile of yourself for personal or professional use. (If not for yourself, you could perhaps ‘gift’ this wee, intangible summat to someone you reeeeeally like/love; heh, you know ’cause… Christmas.) Personally, this project is for me to: hone my craft; make money (being a freelancer and lover of learning has its perils); and make a fun project out of.

Basically, I can render an illustrative likeness of yourself in the form of a JPEG/PNG illustration (I will even make a portrait of your prized pet, should you like); this, I will base on a photograph of yours (preferably vertical) and 3-6 questions that I would be asking you (your most worn colours/motifs etc.). To get ideas on how your likeness might be rendered, please see the poster I made for this series or check out the women I drew back in March-April of this year, etc. (The pricing details are in the poster; payments can be made to me – electronically and I make and deliver the illustration to your Inbox in 3-6 working days.)

Thank you for hearing me out! – This is something new I am trying and should you like my work and are keen to do business with me, I would be pleased to hear from you (by way of a comment or an e-mail).

P.S. The one-off chance that you are new here or have come upon this solitary post, an introduction might not be out of order. My name is Roanna Fernandes; I am a features writer and illustrator who lives in Bombay. I have had this blog for about seven years now; it has served me well as a platform to express myself, artistically  and gotten me a few illustrative assignments, etc.  Uh-huh, here’s the ‘however’: I have been harbouring doubts/thoughts about why this space continues to exist. After months of staying away though, I found myself back in the place where it all began yet I feel a lightness of brain. (At this point, my brain interjects with, “A feeble yay is better than none in the head.” Gee, thanks, Brainah, what would I do without you?  That more than you needed to know?

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Artwork by Roanna Fernandes

BENEATH A DESERT MOON

¡Hola, mis amigos! (I don’t always greet y’all, maybe I should? I just get into the thick and thin of it and that’s kinda rude, innit? I mean, I care because you’re reading which is really sweet because it’s me, and you know, you’re still here – you guys make up a handful, and you make me happy.)

Because I was so incognito back then, you would’ve missed this – this year, I created/made up themes for every couple of months in the year (I divided my year into four parts, and not quarters). Each period was to tell a story by way of the content I would be covering and sharing on my blog etc. Except you know that it didn’t work out that way, I wasn’t actively working on any material; the ideas, of course, piled on and on and you know what went down. Nothing!

SO. What the illustration for this post is meant to be is an introduction to the story I wished to tell during the months of May, June and July called…

The Song of the Seamstress

As one could tell, the drawings are inspired by Mexico (a country I have never been to – but am really keen on visiting, soon) – the colours and clothing; some desert cactuses; the marigolds and roses; the ofrendas and sugar skulls etc.  The Song of the Seamstress also drew colourful and cultural inspirations from: cameo pendants; dulce de leche; floral embroidery; Frida Kahlo; la combinación de naranja y rosa; Lisbon (I really like this city; it’s colourful and so very warm – it makes me think of Cuba, Goa and Mexico, all at once!); Mother Mary; Pablo Neruda; ruffled clothing; the Día de los Muertos festival; Ugly Betty etc.

P.S. (Would you get a better idea if you saw this? It forms the display picture and cover photo for when I did publish this theme on Facebook and Twitter etc.) – This might be continued in the posts that are to come but it’s also December and so, I will be covering some other *fun* material (I haz ideas)! We’ll see.

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Artwork by Roanna Fernandes

LOST IN TRANSLATION

What shall we talk about, in this post? How about… Why I was gone for so long? Nope, I am kidding. I have already bored you enough.

Let’s maybe talk about tea?

I am drinking some, as we speak, not rose tea (as could have been implied in the illustration, here) but mint (Moroccan mint, if you please) – and I quite like it. It’s a refreshing change from the several cups of black coffee I am otherwise used to consuming on a daily basis. That hasn’t stopped; I just have started drinking tea on the side. I like drinking it on a late night after having had an early dinner – alongside reading a book, watching a movie on my computer or something. I am saying the most obvious things one would do while drinking a beverage they particularly like, none of this is unique and yet I continue to ramble on, relentlessly.

So… What shall we talk about? It is hard being asked questions, isn’t it? I am not sure I like it very much. Especially when it is about myself, because I don’t have answers. Even so, I know that asking yourself questions is essential, sometimes. Questions that cause you take stock of everything… What you’re doing, where you’re headed, where you are – right now, how close or far are you from what you seek to do or be, etc.? I still have not figured out much of it. It sounds like a shame to admit, and I suspect that I never fully will know everything there is to know, and do and be.

I also think it’ll only come to me in bits and pieces, but I do not need to collect them to build the picture. It isn’t much like a puzzle, though it seems like one – now. What I believe is that… These contemplative moments help you come upon discoveries – they are observations you make about your life. What you have done and are going to do, who you were – then and who you are – now; my mind is in a state of upheaval, good that it might be – however, hard to explain.

‘Lost in translation’ if I may. A romantic way of putting it would be (oh, this is all me): Drink tea, and uncover your mysteries. Think about your life, your moments, your now… See with your inner eye. There is much to uphold and keep, to find and seek. Growth and decay, growth and decay – it’s the only way of the world; an infinite, repetitive loop that keeps you in check.

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Artwork by Roanna Fernandes