If you have a habit of relentlessly posting pictures on instagram (which we know you have), we bet you haven’t thought of something like an Instagram graphic novel. Yes, you heard it right…!!
Aazar Anis co- created Delhi Hectic ; the first instagram graphic novel with his friend Arjun Jassal. A visual narrative created out of a series of pictures clicked through his smart phone, his creation has a visible gush of emotions, ranging from an absolute longing to a feeling of I –do- reside- elsewhere- but –my- heart –never- miss- a- beat –for- delhi. Aazar has taken a step further and his very own creation Bombay Hectic, is a brilliant treat of nostalgic encounters.
In a conversation with Dfordelhi, Aazar shared with us how distances can never separate us from memories and made us realise that a true delhiite can fit anywhere on the globe.
Following is the short conversation we had with Aazar.
Dfordelhi: Tell us something about yourself?
Aazar: I am a fairly average guy who’s always believed he’s bound for normalcy. I used to run from the same at a young age but now I’ve learnt to embrace it whole heartedly. As far as silly credentials go, I am (almost) 29 years of age, hailing from Delhi. I never knew what I would do when I was a kid and when the time came, I became a journalist but I gave that life up after some time and now I am a copywriter working for a digital advertising firm in Bombay.
Dfordelhi: How did you ended up with Bombay Hectic?
Aazar: You can say that without Delhi Hectic, there would be no Bombay Hectic. While the former was also an Instagram graphic novel started by my friend, Arjun Jassal and I in 2013 as a vitriolic response to the feeling of not belonging in Delhi even after being born in it and living in it, Bombay Hectic came to be when I decided to move to Bombay and capture my experience of living in the city all by myself.
The idea of writing Bombay Hectic came to me before I moved out of Delhi. I had never lived by myself after growing up all my life in a joint family in Delhi. People said, “Bombay has no space,” but I didn’t know what to do with my 1 RK when I got there! There was all this space around me that I had no idea how I should utilise it. So I thought I should capture my journey and transition to becoming a young working adult living in a crazy metropolitan city by myself. And I decided that I would only use my phone to do it. I had all these crazy drafts of strange scribbles in my phone, and a lot of pictures – but I decided I won’t use any of that but create new drafts and turn them into scripts and take new pictures and turn them into canvases for Bombay Hectic.
Novel Chapter12 : The Missing
Dfordelhi: How will you describe Bombay Hectic in its very essence?
Aazar: When I first shifted to Bombay, I took some time to get used to being alone, and it was hard, since I had always lived in a big house with a big family. Writing comes naturally to me as a form of expressing how I’m feeling and writing about this place certainly helped me cope with the loneliness I felt at the time. I finally understood what many of my out of town friends felt in Delhi. So I guess that’s what it is – one person’s or outsider’s journey into making sense of this hyper city which seemingly has the heart that Delhi seems to be missing these days. If you compare Delhi Hectic with Bombay Hectic, the two are different in their tone.
While Delhi Hectic was quite ‘hectic’ to say the least, I wouldn’t say Bombay is hectic per se. While Delhi Hectic felt more like a response, Bombay Hectic feels more like an observation – even though I haven’t been here long enough to arrive at any sort of concrete conclusion.
Dfordelhi: Since you are a Delhiite, share how you had find Mumbai to be. Spill some love for Delhi and obviously no contempt for the other.
Aazar: Well, I’ve completed more than a year in the city and I can say moving here was one of the best decisions ever made. The city has made me more confident, made me trust myself in newer ways and made me a stronger person.
The city is more photogenic than Delhi so it has converged very well with the Hectic series and I guess it is different here because even now, a lot of things are new to me – and that feeling helped me in writing about Bombay. How things have changed for the better, how it is different here, how the city follows a certain timetable – all these things lend themselves to the mini stories I wrote for Bombay Hectic.
I had never lived alone in my life so even though the city was very friendly as I’ve said before, I was just not used to having so much silence around me as I slept, to living alone and doing chores after coming back home from a long day. I didn’t have any friends here, and my first job didn’t really turn out to be what I had expected. Plus moving right when it was raining cats and dogs didn’t help my case either – it was like boot camp – I just had to get used to too much too fast, and I didn’t have any choice in the matter.
Basically not having a support system can take some time to get used to. When all your extra layers of comfort are removed, you realise you have to trust yourself and just carry on like everyone else.
Dfordelhi: How is it to be away from Delhi? Share your memories-ones you made here or anything you miss the most.
Aazar: I really miss my friends and family during holidays when you’re essentially just sitting and watching shows on your laptop but this city makes it very easy to celebrate even the smallest of things so you never feel really alone.
However, I love Bombay. Never had that feeling of hating the city, which is often what is associated with most Delhiites who come here. The auto takes you by meter at 3 am in the morning – And returns two rupees as change – how can anyone hate that??!!
The only three things I miss about Delhi are my friends, family and food! I remember walking around the thin lanes of Bandra – Chapel road and around Mount Mary Steps and Church, of getting used to the rain and the schedule one must follow when it doesn’t stop pouring – and how the city comes together during such times. I live close to bandstand too and the view one has access to being in the area makes it all worth it. There’s something magical about the sea, it lulls you into a believing that no matter how bad your day was, it will all be okay and possesses you into falling in love with the city.
Picture Courtesy: facebook.com/bombayhectic
Dfordelhi: What Inspires you.
Aazar: From the graffiti walls to the sea, the little by lanes and old houses tucked away from the rest of the city – everything is written on the go in autos, taxis and usually, the local trains while I’m on the way to work, meeting friends, coming back from places and stuck in traffic.
Dfordelhi: How do plan to take Bombay Hectic further.
Aazar: Everything that I’ve written about or described is true – all of it has actually happened to me or with me or around me. I wanted Bombay Hectic to be 100% real and something that people can connect with from the start. That is why after writing about the city, the gaps between the chapters widened and my speed of putting them out slowed down. I just didn’t want to write anything that happened, I wanted it to have a flow and even if it is largely unconnected, I never wanted it to feel like it was forced or hurried.
So that’s how I plan to take it further – writing about my little experiences whenever they are worth talking about or whenever the muse strikes.
Check out Bombay Hectic on Facebook. Like the page, share the stories, let aazar know what you think of this little effort! You can reach him over at firstname.lastname@example.org