Write about what you know, they say. And, it’s advice followed by writer Ram V in his original graphic novel Grafity’s Wall, which I thoroughly enjoyed when given an advance review of the book at this year’s Thought Bubble.
Well, over on Twitter, Ram V has been sharing his insights and commentary on the book and how much of himself and memories of his childhood growing up in Mumbai he put into the fabric of this bitter-sweet rites-of-passage story. We thought we’d share his thoughts here and remind you that Grafity’s Wall is out now by Ram V and artist Anand RK. It’s a great read, and clearly a very personal story too. Thanks for sharing, Ram.
“Until I was a teenager, I lived right next to a place like this. I knew everyone there and some of the houses had internal stairs that led into other people’s houses. It was amazing…”
“The pipelines in these scene are also things from Mumbai outskirts. When I was in college I’d travel by them each day…”
“These shots of Grafity’s home are straight out of my memories of the family that I used to stay with after school because both my parents worked and wouldn’t be home until much later…”
“The place I lived in as a teenager had a massive open storm drain channel/gutter that passed next to it. It was huge and I’ve lost many things that feel into it or sat on the edge – like this sketchbook!..”
“I had an Aji just like her. She would pray three times a day and would never speak a word to anyone else while she was praying…”
“Every summer, my mom would make these sago cakes that took 2-3 days to dry. She’d leave em out in the sun on sheets of plastic. My sister and I would go steal them before they’d completely dried. It would drive my mom nuts!…”
“I absolutely love the culinary Frankenstein’s monster that is Indian Chinese food. These page (except for the panels w art) is a menu you’d typically find at one of these places…”
“I was massively bullied in school in India. For many reasons, the colour of my skin, where I was from, the fact that I was really shy and nerdy. Many, many things. I had friends too. Good ones. But bullying was just a way of life, there. I hated my school…”
“The letter in the b/g is from an incomplete novel I wrote a few years ago!…”
“Arth (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arth_(film) …) is one of my earliest memories of watching films with family and neighbours. It was a movie night sort of thing for my parents. They’d invite people from the neighbourhood. There’d be 10-20 crammed in a room watching a tiny old TV…”
“In college (I studied to be a chemical engineer), my friends and I would cut out of classes and sneak into a theatre to watch old re-runs or terrible B movies. We’d howl and cheer at the screen. Throw popcorn. We were awful…”
“That wall behind chasma is our homage to the Bollywood B movie posters that would absolutely cover the walls near most colleges the city. They all had incredibly suggestive names. didn’t tell me he was going to do this. Some of those movie names are saucy!..”
“Another reason Anand RK is a genius. I don’t know of anywhere else these can be found. In India when you buy cigarettes from a road-side shanty-shop, you get a complementary light. From an exposed filament with an electric switch. It’s crazy unsafe. Or just… crazy!…”
“There are more things in there that I’ve subconsciously used. To me, it’s part of writing. You’re expressing something in your work that cannot be easily articulated. Something born from an amalgamation of experiences that transcends their specificity.”
Grafity’s Wall is out now from Unbound and for more on this book, read my review here.