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REC, 1986, Election season. There are not many things I would like to remember from that period of blood, sweat and tears except perhaps the deep bonds of friendship we forged under fire…and my first logo.


Flashback: After the suspension/ police action that happened in our first year, it was rumoured that politicos refused to help sort out the issue because the student-body was apolitical. Anyway, soon after that NSUI and SFI units were formed in REC, and nothing would ever be the same again.


I was in B224 during the period, with Paramu, Jackie and Binod Ramakrishnan. I was a little upset about this whole politics thing, and one evening while Paramu was mugging, I had this – to use a Sangham phrase – sudden brilliant idea, ‘Let us start a movement to fight party politics in campus…Engineering Students Council Against Political Exploitation, ESCAPE for short, the tagline would be ‘Escape with us” and the logo, the letters e-s-c-a-p-e stacked to form a stairway to heaven…’


I don’t remember what exactly Paramu’s response to my idea was, but it was something on the lines of ‘smirk!’ (expression of disgust, said out loud, not a facial expression). But that very evening we were called to Thadian Vinod’s room, and briefed about the launch of…a movement that fights party politics in campus. I told him about Escape, Thadian told me the objective was not to form another party…RIP Escape.


We fought two elections under Thadian, unofficially called Anti-Pols (the world referred to us as Andi Poliyans). By the time we reached the final year, we adopted a less-confrontational name, Non-Pol, and during the election season I created the Non-Pol logo, and not that anybody cared, the logo grid.




Over the years I have had the good fortune to moonlight as a graphic designer and create logos for products, events, awards, etc. Here are my personal favourites…


CD Check Valve. Inspired by the product. Sajeev helped refine the logo. Thanks.





Theme for 2007-08. We had the budget confab in Manali. The logo combines the contours of the hills and a growth graph (The rhyme would work only in Australia)





Logo for silver jubilee stockists. The letters 2 and 5 merge to form a valve icon.




Event logo. Started as a scribble on a napkin…





Face-to-Face. Customer Interface Programme. I was trying to fit the two Fs together and the ‘2’ suddenly popped up and hit me. 



Last month I was stuck in Brussels for three days after the Valve World expo. I had three days to myself and the original plan was to do a World According to Garp meets Sound of Music trip, from where Marcus died to where Maria…um, cried? tried? Any way, to cut a long story short, Austria didn’t happen…


Day 1

Wake up call at 5:30. Checked out of Apple Park Maastricht by 6:30. Got dropped at Brussels Airport by 7:30. I had a large suitcase, a laptop bag and a huge sleep backlog.


Flashback: Brussels Airport, five days before. I arrived from Chennai to discover that my suitcase hadn’t. Filed a complaint and hit the road. Didn’t enjoy the ride to Maastricht at all – the car smelled of ciggies and I had given up smoking the previous night. FM was playing all my fav songs from the ‘80s – remixed with something slimy. And outside the car, autumn vistas in 64 million colours – big deal…dead leaves.


Things kind of improved from there. The expo went off well. Then, our last night in Maastricht – that will be the night before Day 1 (image of God tinkering with a light device flash in my mind) and we did the touristy things – main square, dinner at a brasserie, the bridge on the river Maas.


(To do: Reread A Bridge Too Far. All the towns from the book – Maastricht, Liege, Eindhoven, Nijmegan – are on the motorway boards. Trivia: Maastricht was the first Dutch town liberated by Allies)






OK, back to Brussles and day 1. I started my adventure armed with a city map and instructions in pantomime. And, this would be a recurring motif, I lost my way, horribly. Finally after walking about for 5 kms, with my shoe gnawing on my small toe, I discovered that the Grand Place, and the tourism office, was just next to my hotel. From there, another hike, to board the hop-on hop-off bus from near Brussels Station – church, palace, museum, ok, ok.


The highlight of the day was the visit to the The Belgian Center for Comic Strip Art. I smurfed through the collection and hit the Tintin gallery – ten panels, 3 statues, one rocket model.




While walking back to the hotel, finally in the right direction after two false starts, I began to miss Chennai.


Day 2

The Cathedral and Atomium in the morning – gothic and futuristic, stained glass and brushed steel, infinite and infinitesimal.






Flew past Belgian Aircraft Museum – website much better than real thing. Antwerp after noon. Cathedral, Christ, Cross, Capello and cut, carat, colour, clarity.


By the time I got back to Brussels, my friend Venky was waiting for the Brussles tour – drive-by shooting version. We did the Grand Place, Town Hall, Manneken Pis, t’Seerclaes, Cathedral and Galeries Royales St. Hubert in one hour and settled down in Rue des Bouchers for some French cuisine (we had amplette, and the waiterbhai wasn’t amused when we asked for peanuts to go with the wine).


Day 3

Woke up late. I figured my hotel room would have more to offer in terms of entertainment than Brussels on day 3. I figured right. Dinosaur Gallery, Museum of Ancient Art. By evening, halfway between ancient and extinct, i trudged back to my room, St. Michael on top of the tower guiding my way.






Thanks Chittapps.
No country for old men, eh?


Thursday, 27 November , 2008, 12:36   
Chennai: Cyclone ‘Nisha’, with wind speed of 75 km, moved slightly northwards and crossed the Tamil Nadu coast close to north of Karaikal between 5.30 am and 6.30 am on Thursday. It now lies centred close to North West off Karaikal. The system is likely to move in a North Westerly direction and will weaken gradually, the meterological office said. Under its influence, very heavy rainfall would occur in almost all places in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in the next 24 hours, starting from 8.30 am on Thursday.

The condition of the sea would be rough and signal number 3 has been hoisted at Chennai, Ennore, Puducherry, Cuddalore and Nagapattinam, it said. Fishermen have been advised not to venture to sea.
Chennai recorded 14 cm of rainfall in the last 24 hours, accompanied by wind with speed of 45-55 km, while Vedaranyam recorded 33 cm, they said. In Chennai, the Corporation has evacuated people in low-lying areas, while a similar exercise was carried out in Cuddalore, Nagapattinam and Tiruvarur districts.

Thanks Sify

The Hindu, Kochi, story here

Ferreting out the ‘inspiration’ behind popular B-K-T-Mollywood movies and songs is a thriving cottage industry. While Wiki is still the best source for info about movies (Saroja: Judgement Night, Dasdivaniya: My Life Without Me/ Bucket List) not many sites can beat (I-two FS, Inspirations in Indian Film Songs) when it comes to giving Anu Malik-types sleepless nights.


But what ’bout balposh? (Sangham-speak for wall posters).


I remember the time when brick-effect-on-Vijaykanth’s-face was very cutting-edge for Tamil movie poster art. Today, the writing (pasting? sticking?) on the wall is very clear. Tamil movie posters have distanced themselves from the Dravidian political poster funda (check out the Krish Ashok’s take), and discovered cool – innovative layouts, unusual colour combinations, unreadable typography.


But the 35 bucks DVD to 35mm formula seems to have impacted poster design also (I had blogged about Siva Mansula Sakthu and Satyam posters, didn’t want to blog about Billa and Eagen titles, Lost inspired layouts, the connection between SaSi and SS Music…)


Then last month I saw something in Landmark that can only happen in the world of cut-and-paste – Ranbir Kapoor kissing Evan Rachel Wood. The blues and the greens were exactly the same, the actors positioned at exactly the same angle, I couldn’t make out where Saawariya ended and where Across the Universe began.


Jai guru deva…Saawariya Saawariya…



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November 2008