Zikr – the story of love, obsession and redemption

I think all of us have heard this phrase once, “Love is like an ocean of fire, you have to drown, if you have to cross”

But what would drowning mean, in the fire of love ? As per Hindu Vedas and Puranas, Fire, or agni, is the most powerful purifier in the world. When we give something to the fire, it is considered as a sacrifice, that is why the process of purifying one’s own self/ soul by giving offerings to fire is called ‘Yagya’. Drowning in the ocean of fire means leaving all the attachments and giving everything that you possess and purify or transform yourself. Such a great transformation will help you cross the ocean of love and reach the destination, which is, unification with the beloved.
Those of you, who, like me, believe in power of love would opine that the argument is true. This explanation of the old phrase “Love is like an ocean…” goes well with the sayings of an ancient poet and forefathers of Sufism, named Hazrat Amir Khusro. Khusro emphasized on love between God and men. The core of Sufism is linked with Ishq-e-Majazi (love among men-women and vice versa) and Ishq-e-Haqiqi (love of God).

This great thought and belief is the inspiration of my next graphic novel series named “Zikr“. It is a tale of love, passion, transformation and redemption. There is something unique about the manner of story telling in Zikr. This story is heavily inspired by the famous verses in Sufism, and the world of soothing ghazals, sher-o-shayari, etc. I have incorporated those verses and sher(s) (verses) entirely along with their meanings as actual songs in the story, which makes it look like an Indian movie, but with good songs. I believe that songs written long ago and in the world of ghazals, etc had deep meanings. We rarely get a chance to listen to a song which is well written these days. This story is in a way my homage to all the great souls who have left us with heart soothing songs and music, be it Amir Khusro, Ghalib or Kaifi Azmi.

The story of Zikr starts with a guy meeting a girl, and then falling in love with her. But all is not so well and easy for him, as you can expect. The girl has a past. A terrifying and tragic past, which has sucked out all the emotions from her life and she is as stone-cold as a dead. The story is about the journey of the guy and how he attempts to revive the woman he loves and bring her back in to the world of belief. The road to accomplish that is very dangerous and in the process he has to deal with the evil of the society. The story is about how far would he go to act as his woman’s man, and how far would he get transformed in the process, and, in the process, will he too achieve his long sought redemption ?

The color tone for the entire graphic novel series is Grayscale. It is because the story deals with the characters lying between the two extremes of good and bad. They are all of grey shades. The story itself is of transformation from black to white and vice-versa.

There are six to seven parts planned for the series. The first part titled “Zikr: Roz-e-vasalash” is slated to release soon.

Zikr: Love, Obsession, Redemption

Zikr: Love, Obsession, Redemption

Attached above is the first image for promotion.

To know more about the progress and updates on Zikr, stay tuned with my blog and also visit and like my facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-lotus-of-Saraswati-by-Mrinal-Rai/161777847253568

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Kurukshetra Yuddha: Ek Mahayuddh ki Mahakatha video

It took me lot of time to create and upload the video as an introduction to my book based on Kurukshetra war. I have included many of my paintings (It was very hard to select out of 200+ paintings I did from Mahabharata). The song that I chose is from B.R Chopra’s TV serial “Mahabharat”.

This video is not only a promotional effort from my side for my book, its also in a way tribute to the great war and the warriors who participated. I do believe that I have their blessings and I should tell their stories through my work. May the pious land of Kurukshetra bless us all and deliver us from all evil.

The book “Kurukshetra Yuddha” is now available in e-version to buy from Instamojo and Pothi. The benefit of the e-version is that I could place the painting exactly where I need, unlike the printed version.
The link for Instamojo: https://www.instamojo.com/mrinalrai/-1-/
The link for Pothi: http://pothi.com/pothi/book/ebook-mrinal-rai-%E0%A4%95%E0%A5%81%E0%A4%B0%E0%A5%81%E0%A4%95%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B7%E0%A5%87%E0%A4%A4%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B0-%E0%A4%AF%E0%A5%81%E0%A4%A6%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%A7

The printed version of book is available on Flipkart and amazon:
http://www.flipkart.com/kurukshetra-yuddha-hindi/p/itmddzresspczjwa
http://www.amazon.in/Kurukshetra-Yuddha-Mrinal-Rai/dp/9350875136/ref=sr_1_1/280-3531301-8356204?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1392965062&sr=1-1&keywords=9789350875131

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Legends of India 04: Chandragupta Maurya

Chandragupta MauryaNext in the series of Legends of India, I talk about Chandragupta Maurya, the first emperor of the unified India. A great personality, an achiever at a very young age. I have put a bit of my own research related to ancient India and Mauryan empire and ofcourse, with my drawings.

 

 

Read my full post here: http://netra-creative-vision.blogspot.in/2014/02/chandragupta-maurya-first-emperor-of.html

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Losing yourself like Don Jon’s way

Image

(Don Jon painting I did in water color)

I read few days ago over the internet about a news that Bangalore topped in India as a city where people watch porn regularly. The news said that porn addiction has increased in the city and has resulted in people becoming socially inactive.

On a related note, last weekend I saw the recent film by Joseph Gordon Levitt “Don Jon”, the story of which revolves around a guy who is addicted to porn so much that he rates the real sexual encounters to be less interesting as compared to porn. The protagonist played exceptionally well by Levitt himself thinks its natural for a guy of his age to be addicted to porn. Still while confessing in the church, he admits that he had sinned by watching porn and having sexual relations out of wedlock. The story evolves as the guy looks for the moment when the pleasure that he derives out of watching porn will match in reality. He is caught once watching porn by his over demanding girlfriend who wants him to stop watching it and he agrees. Later we see him confessing in the church that he has stopped watching porn. But later it is revealed that the guy is still into addiction sub-consciously.

The situation, though exaggerated in the movie, comes very close to reality. Pornography is an all-time high these days as we have access to the content through various devices. The report in the news talked about the addiction of the young men affecting their sexual relations. They are unable to perform well in the real activity unless they watch porn.

The same is the scenario with the guy in the movie. He meets an older woman to whom he admits that he wants to lose himself in the sexual act the same way he does while watching porn. The woman asks him to try to please himself without watching porn. He finds himself unable to do so. The lesson later learned is that sex is a mutual experience. Losing one’s own self in the act is not a one-way thing. It has to be two ways.

The report in the news talked about IT laws governing publishing and distribution of content over the web. I don’t think laws can do much to prevent such addictions. First of all, its not immoral or a sin to watch porn. Secondly, the issue can be divided in two categories: one for unmarried, ignorant youngsters who can be handled through proper sex education in the right age. The second category is of married, middle aged men who can come out of the addiction if they have real relation as a mutual experience and not one-way. For getting lost means getting lost in someone and not in the act itself.

 

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God of cricket retires with a Bharat Ratna

So Sachin Tendulkar retires from cricket. I have never been a cricket aficianado. But, it was really interesting to see him bid farewell to everyone. His farewell speech was emotional to the core. He acknowledged the people who made him right from his parents, to cousins, aunts, uncles everyone. That is called humble nature.

Sachin TendulkarI saw in a News channel where a reporter asked an intellectual about the reason why Sachin is so popular and has become an icon. To this question the man gave a very valid reason. In these times, public specially youth is so well fed with knowledge and intellect that they won’t choose simply anyone as their inspiration. Specially when they know that most of those who make into popularity these days either have a strong family background or money or something or other behind him. But Sachin was an exception. He grew to popularity and achieved everything purely on the basis of talent and merit. He is seen as a role model for everyone.

I was bowled over by his humility when he said that his father always wanted him to be a better human being, “for which he still try to be” instead of saying that “he is”.

Finally the Government has decided to give him the “Bharat Ratna”; the highest civilian award in India. That would be a true salute to him. I see that like other popular public figures, there are controversies associated with Sachin too. But his image and popularity overshadows everything and is enough to convince his fans that he indeed is a Ratna (jewel) of Bharat (India).

Sachin Tendulkar
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Raghuram Rajan – the new savior ?

Raghuram Rajan, the new governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has been appointed  at the time when the Indian currency the Rupee has been falling continuously against the American dollar. It would be a tough task for Mr. Raghuram Rajan to save the Rupee and overcome the economic crisis the country is facing today. My new illustration shows him as Tom Cruise of Mission Impossible. Have a look at the image here: http://mrinalraiartwork.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/the-new-hero-of-rbi-who-is-gonna-save-falling-rupee/

Raghuram Rajan illustratio

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Legends of India 03- Chanakya

In the third installment about legends of India, I have write about the great scholar and guru of politics, Chanakya. I have already written about Chanakya in my earlier posts on my blog dedicated to the TV serial made based on his life. You can read it here and here. The paintings used in these two blog posts were made by me and they have been used over the web by different people/ site. Some give credit some don’t. So, now to show that this drawing is indeed made by me, I have added a background and a watermark too.

My post on Chanakya talks about his well-known story, his generally accepted contribution to the ancient treatise on Economics and Political Science “Arthashastra” and the learning that his teachings has given us. Please read my post see my paintings here on Chanakya who was a legendary personality of India:
http://netra-creative-vision.blogspot.in/2013/08/chanakya-god-of-political-science.html

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