Sunday, March 31, 2013

Everyday I am Shiffining

An original green hero pen.
We all have that story of a lost friend, don't we? Images and experiences lost in that vast world of memories. Those lost 'visions' that pops up in your brain when you least expect it to.
The story behind 'Shiffining' is something similar. The relatively newer generation ( because I like to think I belong to the new generation) would find the story a little hard to relate to. 

There was a time in our lives when mobile phones and cameras were luxuries that most of our parents could not afford. When 'Hero' fountain pens still meant a lot to kids. Infact it is exactly a green 'Hero dupli' ( a replica of the original pen ) that motivated me to write this article.
Shiffin and I first met on a Sunday morning Bible class at the catholic church's parish hall. I was disliked by everyone in the class (as usual). I was the boy who "would not take a bath" (which I agree was true upto a certain extend).  And Shiffin was the new guy in class looking for allies in the back seat. The friendship clicked instantly.
This is not a story of how we cracked jokes or stole mangoes (we actually did quite a lot of that) and how life had defined different paths for us. That is what every writes on their blogs. Neither is it the story of the 'hero dupli' pen he had gifted me after the tenth standard bible class exam ( the last time that I saw him). He had no phone at his home so we did not even exchange numbers. It had been a very casual ending to what now seems like a real boyhood friendship (we were also glad to be rid of those boring classes).
I don't remember Shiffin all that well now. It is strange but that can happen in this age of technology where you rely completely on hard data while you tend to neglect the memories.
Photo via :
The frail boy in over sized clothes raids my mind occasionally like an omen. Therefore I'm engulfed in this sense of anticipation - That I will run into him one day.
This has developed a very queer habit in me. Whenever I see people wearing over sized Shirts I check them out and make mental comparisons with the young Shiffin that often visit my memories. It is strange, he might have even started wearing correct sized dresses now. Younger brothers like us, we get to use a lot carry overs (funny how sustainable consumption was always a part of our lives and yet need textbooks to make it complicated). But I do it everyday that I've deiced to call this process "Shiffining".
The sad part is, I could've very well seen the right 'Shiffin' and not realised it's him. He does not come to the church any more either. So there practically remains no way to know. I've searched Facebook but there is no profile picture and he has not accepted my friend request yet ( assuming  that I found the right guy).
It's amazing how such a story can exist in these modern times where communication is so easy. It is also fascinating to see the kind of growth technology and science has had in the past 8 years. My quest to find Shiffin and 'Shiffining' will keep on going until I find the person someday. May that be soon.

Shiffining kinda matches with the word shufflin'
Try singing this song with the Shiffining now...

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The 11th Hour

The next time someone says his/her plans to buy a new AC owing to ‘global warming’ to you, smack him/her on the head as hard as possible. It is this kind of ‘immediate solution’, the inability to foresee, that has brought mankind to its 11th hour. We’ve abused Earth and its resources for a long time now. There remains very little on Earth. We’ve reached that penultimate hour. Our very existence on this planet depends on how we react to this predicament.

Yet you are surrounded by people who ruthlessly loot the environment in the name of ‘development’ and livelihood. Quite hard to believe, when you see the effect these moves have on the people - The rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Recently I had the unfortunate displeasure of visiting the Mithi River in Mumbai. The distressing sight of the river along with the words of Mr.Abhay (a friend and local resident) gave me nightmares for weeks. “When the chief minister himself calls the river Mumbai’s sewer, what hope can one carry”, he had said.

The situation is the same everywhere. The story of River Yamuna and its troubled marriage with Delhi is another example of such gross negligence. Indian government, for its part, has been doing nothing. The ‘developing nation’ tag must not mean money at the sake of environment. It is not a license to rape Earth of its resources. This is precisely the “inability to foresee” that I had pointed out initially. Isn’t it only sensible we that invest on environment friendly technology?   Neglect river Ganga and build IT farms everywhere. And what happens (in the near future) when the water in the holy river is termed undrinkable? You will provide the entire central India “technological solutions” to quench their thirst?
A body floats in River Ganga

A man drinks water from the same river
(Image courtesy:

Source :

Deputy Chairperson of the planning commission  Montek Singh Ahluwalia, on a recent global investor’s meet ( ‘Emerging Kerala’ project) asked the Kerala government to “move on from its insistence on traditional paddy cultivation and use the farms for creating IT hubs and tourist resorts.” 

“These paddy fields are not merely production centres of paddy, but are wetlands and the richest water source of Kerala, maintaining the water table. If the average water level in a paddy field is one foot, an acre (0.4 hectare) of the field would be holding 1,200 cubic metre (1.2 million litres) of water. This percolates down and replenishes the ground water” - Usha S, national convener of Save Our Rice campaign, a network of interested groups working for the sustainability of paddy cultivation. The lack of political will to support anything that goes along with the Nature’s way is shocking. 

In the following days I shall be highlighting some shocking environmental dangers that Kerala ( where I live) face.

Stay tuned…

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Avatar : A Discovery

This is a comic strip based on avatars in bitsrips. Not to be used for any commercial purposes.

#1 : Having watched 'The Truman Show' Nevin decides to check if Truman was right. If there indeed was a world beyond the magical land of "Bitstrips".
After sailing for a day in the sea Nevin's boat comes to an abrupt halt. There he finds the stairs to the "outerworld".
#2 : "The outerworld is beautiful"
Nevin decides to travel across the "outerworld" and see its wonders...

#3 : Nevin meditates while flying over Japan...

#4: Pacific Islands
#5: Nevin flies over the great pyramids of Giza

#6 : Malaysia
Finally, after having travelled around the world, Nevin decides to go back to "bitstrips" and tell everyone about the outerworld...
#7: Having heard about Nevin's adventures, his friendsJoseShafath and Shaakir decides to accompany him on his next trip.
The gang crossing the 'Abbey Road"....

Series to be continued....

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Idea Behind The Avatar Series

Why should someone like me, who has no technical/artistic ability, make a comic strip based on Bitstrips characters? To be honest, the idea has always been there. To create characters with whom everyone can associate. And to make them do things that contemporary superheroes fail to do.

The avatars, made via the bitsrips app, has a very unique ability to catch the audience by their looks and behavior  Through the series I hope to highlight some of the serious social issues that is affecting us. While the idea is to make an impact on the society I think it is best served with a touch of humour and childishness.
Feedback is the only way to improve the series, so please leave your comments. While this might be shared, do not use it for any commercial purposes.

You can also contribute to the cause...
Add me on Facebook ( send a message prior to your request) and we can discuss about various possibilities. Till then Om Mani Padme Hum....

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