Not very far away from Nehru Place, the flamboyant mall in South Delhi lives and works Vishwajyoti Ghosh. Vishwajyoti Ghosh born in 1972 is the author of the graphic novel ‘Delhi Calm’ (www. ), a political graphic novel set in the 70′s and a visual book of postcards ‘Times New Roman & Countrymen’. Ghosh is also the creator of the cartoon column ‘Full Toss’ in Hindustan Times Edit Page, every Sunday, besides his earlier columns like Backlog in Little Magazine and Acid Test in Down to Earth. His comics are regularly published in various journals and anthologies, both in India and abroad. Thousand Miles Team in an exclusive talk with this immensely talented author cum illustrator, Mr. Ghosh.
TM: What was the inspiration behind writing your novel ‘Delhi Calm ‘?
VG: Delhi Calm comes out of curiosity about a Delhi in a period when India was going through a major political change. It was trying to remember a time when I was a child and a city that was the center of a landmark political event.
TM: Tell us briefly about your novel. How do you get attracted to Comics World?
VG: Delhi Calm is a graphic novel based on the Emergency of the 70s. It reflects and recounts a period of political turmoil when democracy was challenged, fundamental rights suspended and freedom to express was muffled. An emergency is an important turning factor in Indian politics.
TM: Did you ever get any rejections for any of your novel? If yes how did you react to them?
VG: No I did not. I was lucky
TM: How did you come up with the title?
VG: We struggled a fair bit with the title, till my editor suggested Delhi Calm based on a newspaper clip of that era.
TM: How do you usually find your ideas to write or do graphical illustrations and
VG: I don’t usually go looking for ideas but start chasing things that make me curious and interested. Sometimes that translates into stories and sometimes an idea to be kept for later. As for drawing, I work on a lot of styles and then pick one I think works best for the particular style. I try not to repeat myself.
TM: How do you derive the plot of Delhi Calm?
VG: Delhi Calm was based on a lot of interactions with people who lived through the period, a lot of research and field notes of the era. All this helped put together a narrative set in the Delhi as I knew it.
TM: What are the major challenges that you have faced in writing this book?
VG: A few challenges that always appear on working on any period based narrative is the quantum of research it requires, the references, the visual feel and this is important. I definitely put a lot of stress on research.
TM: How has been the response and does it fulfill your expectations as a graphic writer?
VG: I have been overwhelmed by the response I’ve received for both Delhi Calm and This Side That Side, a graphic anthology on a partition that I put together. Working on such themes is challenging but seeing the response I’ve received is surely inspiring.
TM: Do you see writing or graphic writing as a career? Please provide some suggestions to novice writers/illustrators in this regard?
VG: In no part of the world, Graphic Novel can be considered a full-time career, except for a very few of them. Everyone else is doing other things, related or unrelated and pursuing the practice as a passion.
TM: Is there any particular message in your novel that you want your readers to grasp?
TM: What are your hobbies besides graphical illustrations? Your other interests and passion.
VG: I think its current affairs, storytelling, cinema and art that are my core interests and much of this inspire and inform my work.
TM: Any particular genre you would like to write/illustrate about more other than ‘Indian Politics’?
VG: I like working both on themes both contemporary issues and themes inspired by history. For me reprocessing this througfh a graphic narrative is both a challenge and inspiration. Any good story works for me, inspires me.
TM: Any new book you are preparing to launch or writing for your fans?
VG: I am working on a new book on urban issues. I work for myself and my close circle of concern and friends. Over the time I am thankful for having a core group of readers and that inspires me.
TM: Do you have to travel much concerning your book? If yes, how was the travel from place to place?
VG: Depends entirely on the subject. If required, yes. If this question is specific to Delhi Calm, then no since this is a city I live in and know fairly well.
TM: Who designed the covers and helped you in publishing your books?
VG: I usually design my own covers, the editors help me in putting the book together and the publisher publishes them.
TM: Which is your favourite book and favourite author & graphic designer/painter/ illustrator of all times?
VG: I don’t have any particular one of any kind. I have always acknowledged all my influences from the world of art, cinema and literature. I think it is important to realise and acknowledge our influences and address that in a creative manner. I like looking for new ideas and styles and always try to acknowledge that through my work.
TM: Any message you want to deliver to your fans and modern Indian writing trend?
VG: I don’t know if I have any fans and besides I don’t have any life-changing or any other message for anyone. As long as there is tolerance, respect, and regard for each other, we should be fine.
TM: Favourite Indian Comics series so Name some
VG: I don’t know of any contemporary stuff but my childhood favourites were Amar Chitra Katha comics, cartoon strips of Pran like Chacha Chaudhury, Srimati ji or Abid Surti’s Dabbooj and of course political cartoons, especially RK Laxman’s You Said It.
TM: Your thoughts on being featured in the ‘Monsoon’ Issue of our magazine Thousand Miles.
VG: This is a great initiative and hats off to the team for pulling this through with such strength. This truly is commendable. Please keep the flag high!