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In my office, the moment I get real close to somebody that person would either get a transfer or quit. I have seen this happen so many times – with Yashwanth, Ravi, Jimmy, Senior, Chaina, Gambhir, Anshul, Shruthi, Sharat, Kajal, Sajeev, Johny, Kumz, Jose, Venky…Last month the curse crossed the road…Srini, a friend who works in an office near mine quit. This post is dedicated to him (and of course, to all the friends listed above).

It was Srini who introduced me to the world of ‘inspired posters’. And posters kept me going, perhaps more than anything else, through 2009. It also took up more time than anything else in 2009 – I became am IMPA addict, downloaded 15 years worth of posters, spent hours peering at thumbnails trying to identify ‘stuff that looks like other stuff’ (that explains the glasses), man, did I have a good time…

One of Srini’s early posts was about art-inspired posters. That sent me scurrying to my art books collection. I did find a few (perhaps farfetched) similarities…


David Brinkley

William Hogarth

I also stumbled upon a painting by Degas, Spartan Girls Provoking Boys. Bingo! Doesnt that look like Goya’s famous massacre painting.

Edgar Degas. Spartan Girls Provoking Boys. c.1860-62

Francisco Goya. The Third of May. 1814. (flipped for comparison)

Googling for Goya brought me to the blind flaneur who had posted on Goya. I left a comment about the apparent similarities in composition, and the flaneur (love him) wrote on his site – “Babu has a discerning eye, and his website documents many resonances in contemporary visual rhetoric”. Wow, that sounds much better than ‘stuff looks like other stuff’.

So here goes…

Jai Shree Ram!
Adios Amigo!!

I love books, their heft, feel and smell, and book collections…always envied the collections my uncles had, and when I was in class 5 or 6 put together my first collection in a wall-mounted shelf in my room – Balaramas, a few Amar Chitra Kathas, a dozen paperbacks…Arabian Nights, Bible stories, etc. – all numbered and stacked heightwise.

In a couple of years I moved all the embarrassing age-inappropriate stuff to the store, decided my collection would have to wait, focused on reading…started raiding the Rajagiri library, joined Ernakulam Public Library, Chavara, Eloor, started hanging out at Paico, touching and feeling books, righting crooked stacks – those days my biggest fantasy was to marry Paico swami’s daughter.

BTW, Jojo Jose, been so long…and thanks for all the books.

I discovered magazines during pre-degree. Was a sucker for anything billed as a special issue, bought a huge pile of stuff – India Today, Sportstar, Sunday, Illustrated Weekly, Sun…and once, from a paper mart, 20 years’ worth of Reader’s Digest.

My book-buying spree really picked up steam while at REC (enhanced cash flow)…couple of years and I had to get an old kitchen shelf refurbished to house the collection. After engineering I took a break and went to Delhi, spent most of the vacation bargain-hunting at CP and Darya Ganj, and came back fully loaded – Portnoy’s Complaint, Catcher in the Rye, Bell Jar…   

Next chapter, Chennai. Bought a huge stack of books from the roadside bhais between GPO and LIC – classics, best-sellers, books-not-available-at-the-shop-around-the-corner (Henry Miller, Anais Nin, HHGG, books on art, aircrafts), and lucky finds (Johnny Got His Gun, I Heard the Owl Call My Name, Illustrated Beatles Lyrics).

Perambur. Chacko’s stuff on the left side. Meri Junk on the right…the beginning of the Chennai collection.

Besant Nagar



Home. Complete works of Kurt Vonnegut, Joseph Heller, John Irwing, Tom Robbins, Tom Wolf…RDs from 1965 to 1995 in the shelf on the left. Peace.

My desert island collection…My people always found it a little strange, the way I used to take pics of my books and bookshelves, but think there is hardly anything as beautiful as a stack of books…

…and i am not alone. Check out John Mark Gleadow

Epilogue. Part of my bookshelf on goodreads.commy-books-5k
…to be continued.

Not airborne


Andrew Wyeth, Painter, Dies at 91
NYT Obit          Christina’s World          Online Gallery

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April 2021