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Jhumpa Lahiri shares feelings of dislocation

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Jhumpa Lahiri shares feelings of dislocation

Jhumpa Lahiri, Photo by: Brigitte Lacombe for The Wall Street Journal


“Even though I have been raised and lived practically my entire life in the U.S., I didn’t really live fully within it, having been raised as I was by my parents”, said Jhumpa Lahiri in her interview with Alexandra Wolfe in the WSJ article.

Jhumpa articulates the feelings of many ‘fresh of the board’ and first generation of foreign/ Indian ancestry very well.  Desi’s battle identity crises at everyday where we desire our children to be completely assimilated in our adopted country, yet keep connections with our country of origin.

PS: In the WSJ Blog, you will also get links to excerpts from her new book, The Lowland.


Written by Redpatang

September 22, 2013 at 11:19 am

Swati Rastogi – custom arts and products

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This month’s artist feature is a showcase of our very own city’s local talent Swati Rastogi.

We stumbled upon Swati’s breathtaking work at the Newton India day festival with her display of eye-catching lanterns and vases.

Lantern                Tea light, candle, Om

Each piece of Swati’s art is painstakingly hand crafted and one of a kind.  Swati is highly influenced by Indian folk art (Gond, Warli, Madhubani and Patachitra).  She also finds inspiration in images of the sun, Shiva, Om and Sanskrit Slokas.

What drew us to Swati’s work was her ability to marry an ancient and traditional art style to everyday household articles and that too with a modern flair.  Swati’s style is influenced by the bold brush strokes of Jamini Roy but she doesn’t shy away from any medium whether its water /poster colors, acrylics enamels or even pencil and charcoal

Swati-charcoal                 Swati-photoframe

To find out more about Swati’s eclectic collection or purchase/commission one of a kind gifts (including artwork on fabrics and bags and canvas), please contact her at or on 1-617 955 9431

Written by Redpatang

February 7, 2013 at 11:57 am

Almost grounded – Comic strip by Manjiri McCoy

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This weeks feature is on a new and upcoming comic strip called Almost Grounded.  The newly launched comic strip Almost Grounded is the brainchild of Manjiri McCoy, a software engineer who has teamed up with Brian Martin, a cartoonist from Richmond, Virginia.

The comic tells the story of a group of alien engineers with questionable credentials who are grounded on Earth, and have to make a new life for themselves while adapting to different cultures.   Manjiri says that she had been thinking about the strip for a few years now and started working on the script since last year in her spare time.   “Many of the storylines in the strip are inspired by true events. They probably are the more unbelievable ones! “  The daily strip often has writers notes at the bottom of the strip and I’ve caught myself chuckling at the way she captures humor in situations that people might not have given a second thought to.

And why aliens you may ask?  Well, although she is now a citizen, the writer was once a US visa holder (non-resident alien…under US immigration definitions) and then a green card holder (resident alien). “Being labeled an ‘alien’ made me think – what if actual aliens came to Earth, didn’t really have any superpowers (well, maybe one – just to keep things interesting) and had to live here for an unknown period of time because they were grounded? They’d have to get jobs and deal with the same stuff that we have to deal with. Being is the US, India or China wouldn’t make any difference to them because all places would be strange. I can’t imagine they’d all speak English. They wouldn’t all live in Roswell. They wouldn’t want to take over the planet. People would notice that our aliens were somehow ‘different’, though in varying degrees. Some people would freak out, and some wouldn’t notice anything odd about them at all. There would be plenty of opportunities for misunderstandings leading to comic situations, and the idea for the strip grew out of that.”

Here are some of her favorite characters – alien twins Wikk and Zikk. “They are very clever, well-meaning and good hearted, but they don’t have much common sense or tact. They cause a lot of trouble, but always get away with it. As a writer, I can do so much with these characters – I can put them anywhere on Earth and they’ll end up having some incredible adventures.”

Wikk and Zikk

Of course, this is a comic strip and so its meant to add a sprinkling of humor to your day, but Manjiri hopes that by basing her characters in different international cities like Mumbai and Shanghai…her strip not only creates a sense of empathy but also informs, educates and raises interest in these places.  A noble cause indeed!

The aliens will ‘land’ in India at the end of August 2011 and here is a sneak peek into a character who has not been featured yet (Audibaba the palmist and entrepreneur)



You can follow the adventures and misgivings of these delightful aliens in the daily strip and and follow them on facebook:

Daily comic strip at:  | Facebook page:

Alicia Souza – Chumbak’s Illustrator

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This week we’d like to introduce Alicia Souza – the artist that helps bring Chumbak creations to life.  Alicia’s whacky and fun style has won over many hearts and she has shared some insights into her creative process with us.

What inspires you?
“Everything and nothing. I guess sitting alone in a room can get me thinking about the quirkiest things to do, yet sometimes going out, even for just a drive, can show you things you’ve not seen before!”

Who is YOUR favorite illustrator?
“Ohh, well, I have many favourites but I’ve always had a soft corner for Quentin Blake. Something about his loose lines and colour makes his pictures look like an organised mess”

What Chumbak project did you have the most fun doing?
“Hands down, Bobby the bobble-head. I’ve never thought I would get an opportunity to do something in 3-D so soon! I was stoked that it came out perfectly and such a relief too. I’ve never been so satisfied. ”

What medium do you like to draw on besides paper?
“People, when they are not looking. And slings. ” (Hehe..funny girl that Alicia…vot? )

What do you like to do other than your art and Chumbak?
“Make coffee, drink coffee, write letters, and dodge cows on the streets. And I have an extensive collection of photos of my dog, so unconsciously, I believe I like taking photos of my dog.”

Here are some ‘illustrations’ that have become Chumbak bestsellers:

Illustrations before production

Chumbak bestsellers - Paanwallah, Computerwallah, Chaiwallah etc














And finally, a cute and quirky illustration on “How to make Chapati like a pro”.  Click on the picture – the steps are downright Hilarious!

How to make Chapati like a pro!

Thanks Alicia!  That was super fun.

Written by Redpatang

June 21, 2011 at 3:15 pm

RK Laxman’s “The common man”

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If you read the Times of India anywhere from the 1950’s onwards, you couldn’t have missed the little comic strip “You said it” featuring  the common man by RK Laxman.

The common man

This caricature could be found in the daily comic strip, peeping down manholes, observing speeches, fights and  games.  He is usually a silent witness to all the action around him but ah… so memorable.

So for all of you who feel the same nostalgia, here are some timeless strips.  Enjoy!

The common man celebrated 50 years  sometime ago -he  has been featured on a commemorative stamp as well as honored by way of a 10 foot bronze statue at the Symbiosis Institute (Pune).

A modern take on the Dhol + Video featuring Rani Taj

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The dhol  (Indian drum) is best known for its widespread use in Punjabi and modern Bhangra music and was often used to celebrate a successful harvest.

Courtesy: Little guruskool musical instruments board book

The drum is made up of a wooden barrel with animal hide or synthetic skin stretched over its open ends, covering them completely.  The dhol is played using two wooden sticks, usually made out of bamboo and cane wood.

But the main reason the dhol has recaptured our attention is new Dhol sensation Rani Taj (yes you read that right – a girl dhol player!) and her modern take on this ancient instrument.  Here is her Dhol remix rendition to Rihanna’s Rudeboy:

Note- lyrics of this song are not kid-friendly

So, what did you think?  Post your comments here or  on our facebook page.

Written by Redpatang

April 19, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Artist feature – Aarohi Singh

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We recently stumbled onto Aarohi’s gorgeous pieces of art.  This self – taught artist from Bangalore, India says she gets inspiration from everything around her.  Aarohi paints on almost anything whether its paper, wood, metal, cardboard or fabric.

Her Kitsch kettles are one of a kind and she never repeats a pattern.  We love the cheery colors on the India kettle:

Nazarbattoo kettle

India kettle


People have always told me to put a ‘kaala teeka’ on my kids…thats where the idea of the ‘Nazar batoo’ kettle was born”







These watercolors will transport you to warm summer days :

Chalte chalte

Boys scribbling















And for those of you who prefer functional art, check out this vibrant game table:

Khiladi table


Aarohi does have a few select pieces in some stores in India but those are few and far between. Her art is available from her directly and she can even ship to North America!  Just contact her on her site and she will take it from there.   So which of these appeal to your style?


Written by Redpatang

April 12, 2011 at 4:22 pm

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