Giving Thanks: From me to you.

Ohmyskyfathers!! What am I doing with my life?! Oh wait, I know this one…

It’s been a wild few years since I decided to start writing as more than just a hobby and gave it a chance to be something resembling a career.
It’s not been everything I thought: in some ways better, in some ways worse.

There have been so many things along the way of all shapes and sizes and same applies to people – some have been a blessing and some have been a bane to my existence at the time.

But I’m not complaining, not at all. Because you see, I’m definitely one of those people who agree with this thought:

“‘Cause how you get there is the worthier part.”
(-Shepherd Derrial Book, Firefly)

And truthfully, it has been a hell of a journey – good and bad – even in the modest distance I’ve managed to travel.

When you decide to write, there’s two roads you can take: (1) write full time for a publication and (2) working a non-writing job with some possible freelance work – both options being the front face of pursuing the writing that one really wants to do.
I chose option 2 and though its had its ups and down, in retrospect, I do stand behind my choice – Why? Because it gave me the freedom to write more of what I wanted and not having to write for a living and for assignments kept me from getting jaded by the act of writing, which is something I did feel happening when I wrote freelance several years ago.
That’s not to say this is how it is for everyone, but it was so for me.

But with all that said, today I’ve gone from being a dude who wanted to just put on paper for fun, the strange ideas that would come into his head, to being one of the (all too) few comic publishers functioning in India.

It’s been: amazing, terrifying, hilarious, heart-breaking, tiring, super-enjoyable, hectic, expensive, emotional and priceless.
Does that sound strange? It should, because it has been a strange and quite remarkable experience.

So now we come to the main purpose of why I started writing this post: To give thanks.

Insanely fun post-comic workshop pic with Abhijeet and the attendees. They braved Mumbai rains for us!!

First and foremost I want to just thank every single person out there who has bought a comic published by Meta Desi Comics. For taking a chance on a comic you didn’t know, from people you’ve never heard of and especially to those who took the time to stay and talk to us at conventions and even more to those who come back and remember us and talk about our work and encourage and support us. You are amazing folks, you humble me and you may not realise it, but for every 1000 people who look at us funny or ignore us or dismiss us, it takes just one of you to recharge that spent battery inside that motivates us to keep dreaming and keep trying to make our ideas reality. Thank you.

For me and everyone who I’ve worked with on Meta Desi: we are learning, every single day, how to do this – no one ever taught us and we’re figuring it out as we go and we are grateful for your support and patience and positivity as we make our way through all the growing pains of making comics in India.

NEXT, I want to thank the other people on my side of the comic creating world, the people you may or may not know that I think deserve some love and appreciation for their efforts.

I’m so happy here at this great news! (In Zafars stolen mask!)

I’m gonna start with my team.

My business partner Zafar Khurshid (who also co-authors our fan-fav Holy Hell with me), lawyer by profession, we became friends over shared geekiness and somehow thanks to one fateful afternoon of just being us, we’ve ended up going into business together – and I’m grateful to have a bro to do this with who gets my crazy.

Then there’s the many creative folks who contributed to Meta Desi’s comics especially this past year: Abhijeet Kini who does amazing art under idiotic timelines for Holy Hell and brings some of the most absurd things I’ve ever written to life and does it with a smile every damned time – thank you man! To Anurag Chandra and Ahmed Sikander, you’re both artists whose paths I stumbled across by chance and you’ve both been so helpful, supportive and understanding and it’s been a pleasure and I hope to keep working with you both as much as possible. And of course, to Anant Sagar, manga artist and support-team who’s always around when a hand is needed and there’s work to be done, who help is needed at Comic Cons. Someday I honestly hope to be able to not just pay you all more what your amazing work is worth and to show my appreciation for all your help, hard work and bending backwards to help out a little fish like me when you could be doing other things.

Anant, Aniruddho and I recreate a pic in 2017, from waaaay back in the early days of Comic Con India!

Then comes the real unsung folks, the ones that you may or may not be aware of as comic readers but I think deserve fair mention. Firstly to Aniruddho Chakraborty (founder/writer, Chariot Comics), you’re a pain in my ass man. But it’s good to have you as a parter in crime and friend. We started off seperately doing mostly the same thing as we launched our ideas on paper boats into a roiling sea and somehow they’re still afloat – and a big part of that was us partnering to create ICBM Comics as a common brand, it was a financially motivated move but it has helped keep the dream alive.

That brings us to our friends at Comic Con India. People give Comic Con a lot of crap, but despite a certain fan-boy part of me that agrees with some of that, I mostly don’t and will stand in defense of the Indian crew anytime, anywhere. Without Comic Con India, the comics scene in India would not be a patch of what it is, I should know, I’ve been seeing and working in the Indian comics scene since before the 1st convention was even an idea. We had nothing and it was not the popularity of the MCU but these events that gave us Indian geeks a place and a space to be us, to cosplay, to read, to buy, to laugh and to cry. They brought us in their earliest couple of years, legends like Robert Crumb, work to bring amazing writers and artists here every year – and believe when I say that bringing these foreign talents here does not bring them any money, in fact it costs more than it earns. But they love what they do, they want to build a culture and a fandom that we all care about and for that I give them Kudos. Especially (though he might hate me for it) to Jatin

At our Sri Lanka Comic Con panel in August 2017

Varma, the silent King who watches over Comic Con India – he makes the hard calls, juggles the behind-the-scenes craziness, deals with red tape, finds the money where there may not be any and most importantly (to me at least), goes out of his way to make sure that Comic Con supports local talent and local publishers as best they can in a market where realistically we would all have likely gone bankrupt by now if we had to do it on our own or spend money on promotion and conventions that is needed internationally. To Jatin and to his team, Karan, Sonal and everyone else – thanks guys, we literally couldn’t do this without you.

I get credit for doing a lot – and not boasting but I do. The truth however is that a lot of that has been because when you’re a little guy, you have to do a lot yourself, something that anyone who has had a startup or worked at one or is trying to start a creative career – be you writer, artist, musician, whatever – will know all too well. But for all the things I do, none of it would have really come to fruition or been worth much without all the people listed above. There are others as well but this past year in particular I want to single out these who helped the most.

And lastly, I want to thank my parents who still don’t really understand my special kind of crazy (and I don’t blame them, I barely get it..) but have always tried their best and come hell or high-water, have had my back and never told me I could not do something if I tried. We laugh, we fight, cry and debate, but in the end we stand together.

To each and every person I’ve mentioned: I could not do this job without you and to have released not one but THREE books in 2017 is a benchmark moment for us.

I’m damned proud of everything that we’ve achieved this year and I just wanted to say thank you to each and every one of you who deserves it and applause that you don’t get – You folks rule!

There’s a hundred things I want to do this year and though they can’t all see the light of day (yet at least), there are several that will and so there is much to look forward to in 2018 for us all. What will happen, what won’t, I don’t know and at this point I’m not stressing about it because c’est la vie folks, it’s the journey there that’s the worthier part.

I hope you’ll stick with us and if you’ve been with us from before, I hope you’ve been loving what you’ve seen so far and keep sticking with us.

Cheers all and a happy new one.


 

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