He was scribbling a dash here and a speck there. At the end there was a caricature on the board. I was jotting down those specks and dashes, and finally drawn a caricature for the first time in many years. We were at the Kerala Press Club, Kochi, attending a seminar on media and disability. The man was a cartoonist.
I was drawn back to my days at Madhava’s. I drew my first cartoon there; a caricature of Karunakaran.
My first drawing attempt was on the unpainted walls of my then home. I used to get the left-over chalks of the literacy mission campaign. (Unni maman was an active member of the "Saksharata mission."). I still remember Thambi kochachan scolding me for scribbling on the walls.
Then I got my first set of colour pencils. Note books became my canvas. I drew up many pictures, good and bad. But after beginning to use water colours, I started collecting and keeping the pictures. I recall I had more than 100. I used to display them in pride whenever a relative or a guest came.
I learned the actual techniques of drawing in Madhava’s. I tried my hand in cartoons, with good results.
As always, my father was a silent admirer of the pictures. He considered (and still considers) it inappropriate to appreciate his son directly. Instead, he became my patron. I got my first box of imported water colours.
I began participating in drawing competitions. The first prize was actually the first prize of that competition. I drew a peacock. I got fifty bucks. I became the star of my class in the convent.
Many competitions, many prizes. But somewhere I lost my interest to experiment and later, my drive to draw. That was when I joined St Aloysius’. I took part in my last competition there. Those three years turned the participant in me to the complete spectator that I am now.
I forgot the lessons I learnt. My skill lost the lustre of experience. But I still treasure that unused range of Chinese brushes and the made-in-Italy colour box. I still hope to give a try sometime; to brush up.