February 3, 2019

Peeping into India

Some years back I found a travel book on India written and illustrated by a Japanese stage designer Senoh Kappa. I enjoyed looking at the sketches as they reminded me of my 1980s childhood living across India. I like his style of making observational sketches of daily life. I felt that the act of trying to draw what you see, helps us connect with the environment versus taking photographs. I gave away this book at a travel talk some year back. Yesterday, while randomly browsing a bookstore in Osaka, I found this book again.

Kappa Peeps India Cover

Bird’s eye view of the hotel room Kappa Peeps India -

Kappa obsevered every day objects in meticulous detail Kappa Peeps India - a post box

An air conditioned cabin on the train Kappa Peeps India - AC railway cabin

The ubiquitous lunch carrier Kappa Peeps India - Lunch box in India

How to wear a saree Kappa Peeps India - how to wear a saree

A family planning poster Kappa Peeps India - family planning poster

There used to be many cold water vendors in the summer months. I used to wonder what they did in the winters. Also an air” vendor for the bicycle riders. Kappa Peeps India - Cold water vendor

Perhaps the best comment that I have read about this book is penned by the opinion editor Wan Lixin m (Shanghai Daily) in his article There are still a few cities left unravaged by concrete and greed”

One of my colleagues recently sent me a copy of the Chinese edition of The Kappa Peeped India,” by Kappa Senoh, and I was fascinated by how this Japanese artist is capable of perceiving the world in his gossipy, narrative style, set off by a profusion of masterfully wrought sketches. He shows how our obsession with speed has compromised our ability to see the people and the nature. If our economists and policymakers could view the people and the environs as this Japanese gentleman, probably we need not grieve so much for what man has made of man, or nature.

India Japan Travel

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