A platform for writers to share their portfolios

There was always Behance for designers and SoundCloud for musicians, but when it came to a platform for writers to share their portfolio—there was none that I knew of. I just discovered Contently, a wonderful website that costed nothing but a bit of my time to showcase all of my published articles. Yes, the name of the website itself sounds bright, and now that I’ve discovered it, I understand why.

It’s really quite amazing. As soon as I registered and filled up all the publications I had ever written for, Contently automatically sourced all of those pieces that were available on the Internet and compiled them to my portfolio! The rest could be uploaded manually, using the PDF format.

I also like the no-frills, minimal design of this platform. In this age of SEO-centric articles that aim to do nothing but sell you products or services, or list-centric websites like Buzzfeed that vie for your valuable time, it really is imperative for writers to have a place to showcase their work and to connect with their readers via a single platform.

While personal blogs are the first choice of most writers, I really like the idea of having all my work, or at least some of it, up on a single website. Head over here to have a look at my portfolio! I’ll be sure to add more stories soon!

Close Encounters

A piece on the elusive tiger that I had written for The Indian Trumpet, a Dubai-based digital magazine for NRIs with a month’s worth of interesting stories.

Click here to read online: http://issuu.com/theindiantrumpet/docs/may-june_2014/71?e=8107160/7597345 globe & gully_Page_1globe & gully_Page_2globe & gully_Page_3

Dreaming in Black and White

An illustrated novel explores Hinduism’s colourful mythology in monochrome

Image

John Jackson, the author of the recently released Brahma Dreaming, prefers to call his stories legends or folk tales than to classify them as mythology.“Mythology cannot be dismissed as something trivial.  Myths have their roots in what Jung called ‘the collective unconscious’. They are part of the human heritage and can teach us much about human behaviour.”

On a trek in the Himalayas, in 1978, Jackson encountered Hindus near the Indian border, at the foot of the Annapurna range, and Buddhists in the middle areas. “High up, in the final layer, there are animists, who see spirit in everything,” says Jackson, now 84, and a keen student of world religion.

The Milk Ocean“Mountain people are excellent storytellers. I was fascinated by their legends and myths, passed on by itinerant storytellers who told them for a bowl of soup and a crust of bread in the villages they travelled to.” After the trek, the London-based polymath writer, lawyer, campaigner and founder of JJ Books, Jackson, spent 35 years researching Indian and Nepalese mythology, including the Mahabharata.

His encounters with wandering storytellers, and extensive research on ancient Mesopotamia, the breeding ground of many of the world’s religions, culminated in the creation of Brahma Dreaming. The 248-page illustrated book re-imagines some of Hinduism’s foundational myths using rich yet simple storytelling paired with black and white artwork by Italian illustrator Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini.

Tales Of CreationThe story opens with Brahma, who, in the Tales of Creation, dreams the world into being. The focus later shifts to Vishnu and Shiva in the Tales of Preservation and Tales of Destruction. Jackson’s take is not a significant departure from Hindu mythology as we know it. Yet, it does not glorify characters to godly proportions. “The idea was to create a book that would use words and imagery to draw the reader into these timeless stories. It can well be seen as a successor of the mountain storytellers’ of erstwhile times.”

Terrazzini has taken some creative liberties with the imagery, depicting mythological figures in ways one may not be used to. There’s a lanky Shiva with a roaring tiger on his back and a lovelorn goddess Sati in a sweeping gown and floral head wreath. Another chapter depicts Ganesha effortlessly balancing a ridiculously large head on a human body while he rides atop a gigantic rat.

bd2“Using pure black and white, and, in a sense, being limited by such a choice, helped me to be expressive and free in my imagery,” says Terrazzini, who usually works with watercolours. “These stories, with their dark and surreal nature, served to benefit from this.” Not always adhering to traditional iconography, her versions of Hindu deities personify the characters, if not make them more approachable.

The hardcover, cloth-bound Brahma Dreaming is, as much as anything, an exploration of the imagination. “I hope the book will appeal to the imaginative and intuitive child that lives in all of us, whether we are 10 or 110,” says Jackson.

Published in Man’s World (MW) in October 2013