Babel in Humayunpur: The Gift of Difference (comic book exploring migrant experience)

Abstract: 6 o’ clock – a series of comic book stories.

The stories begin in a building in Humayunpur. They then spill out into the parks, streets and malls of the city. The various protagonists – seen and unseen – of these short pieces all experience the terror and ecstasy of the everyday.

At a stylistic level, central to the work is its engagement with words and language. The narratives also explore issues of speed, light and atmosphere.

Bio: Parismita is a comic book artist. Her short stories, comic book pieces and translations have been published in The Little Magazine, Tehelka and the Katha Prize Stories 13. She has also been working in the field of primary education.

email: parismitasingh @


First Posting

For my postings, I’ll have to direct you to my blog because of the images. (the link is given below.) This is my first shot at putting images up on a blog – i’ve been mostly thinking print/photocopy/ sharing them over coffee till now – so, it will probably take me a while to have things under control …(I’ve overshot the postings deadline by a few days, for one! ) Other than the technical details, I wonder if doing pages/images for the computer screen will influence the way i plan/ draw the stuff. I’ll have a page or two up on my blog for each posting, and touch upon issues of style , contents etc. or at least,that’s the idea as of now. ( you can click on the images for a bigger version) Thanks! Parismita

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Story 1

Does one do comics to escape words?(Screams, shouts , cries …)A wordless comic book- one where the players only scream?( forget Bacon)


Parismita Second posting – a series of comic book stories. Hello! I’ve been very erratic with my postings, getting the whole act together has been a problem because i’ve been travelling a lot. But i hope to be in Delhi for the next few months, and will catch up! I’ve had to do more thinking about my stories – and their theme- migrants-in -the -city and stories that look back at the regions they come from. People seem to have different expectations of a project like this. And almost feel a little disapppointed when there are no tribal-girls-in-military-fatigues-by-riverside situations ( at least not without irony) or a Persepolis take. Someone posted an article about how to write about Africa some time back. Well, that made a lot of sense to me most of last month. But I’ve been playing around with some short two page pieces, and that’s been fun. Unlike my longer stories ( 10 to 20 pages long), which are more in the traditional story telling mode, with text and image and narrative voice etc. With the shorter pieces, I’m working with just images ( no text- or minimal text), with a certain economy , capturing perhaps just the passing of a thought or a mood. The kind of thing one expects from poetry. But comics? I have a piece – At the Park ( a two page story) up on my blog. (Some of the details need a little peering because of the resolution business) Thanks! Parismita

Saturday, March 18, 2006

At the Park ( a two page story)

I’ve been working mostly with longer stories – ten to twenty pages long, with text and image. But these shorter ones are easier to put up on a blog, and will give you an idea of my style and where I’m heading…

Also, it’s fun to be experimenting with these pieces – just images – no text – or minimal text, a certain economy ,capturing perhaps just the fleeting movement of a thought or a mood. The kind of thing one allows poetry. But comics?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Who is this young girl in a kimono, and other things

I chanced upon two ‘ quotations’ this week that seems interesting in the light of my project.

The first one – ‘ Who is this young girl in a kimono ?’ was a reference to an assamese mekhla skirt worn by somebody with, err.. small eyes. ( It’s a fantastic anecdote with all the elements that I’m trying to touch in my work, but I can’t possibly narrate it here- I have a ‘literary ‘ career to worry over!). I think I’m going to use this as a title to one of my stories.

The other quotation is from Yves Chaland,a comic book artist talking about style.Yves Chaland worked in the 1980s and created Freddy Lombard – a comic book in the 1950s style.Chaland died young though and one gets the sense that he would’ve done more important work if he didn’t go so early. You get the feeling from his work ( and from his ideas on where his work was heading ) that he was only warming up. Well, here’s what he wrote about style in a letter to a friend –

“I believe in treating the reader badly, in making sure he never forgets that the writer is in charge. I can make a tiny event that takes three minutes fill 43 pages, and I can tell a person’s entire life story in one page if I want to. I want to really grab the reader’s attention, I want him to know that if he skips one image , he could miss a bloody masacre with 583 casualties. That’s also why there can be pages with no text and others with more text than the reader can stand to read. You have to do the opposite of what other people do and invent the rules of a new style, because style is the most important thing, and the author has to spend the most time on it.”

Yves Chaland

September 18, 1985.

Also I’ve posted in another two page story 6 o’clock. It’s the same style as At the Park ( my last posting)but different in many ways too …( it perhaps doesn’t strictly conform to the migrant’s story theme.)

6 o’clock


I-fellow Parismita’s posting –

To read the post with the visuals go to –

Hello everyone,

Bit of a break between postings, but will make up this month. Five months into the I-fellow schedule, this is a good time for reflecting a little on work done (and undone)..

As it happens, I have strayed quite a bit from my topic as I originally envisaged it. These things are difficult to predict, but I’m quite happy with the ‘shape’ things have taken. The central concerns of race, gender, belonging, identity and memory remain but have taken unexpected forms.The surprise element (well for me at least) was that they didn’t even stay ‘stories’, veering towards other forms like meditations . Though I would not strictly categorise them as either.

The building that was to be central to my stories disappeared.( The first blog piece ). And I watched in horror as the stories refused to be ‘stories’ and spilt out of the building into other spaces – streets, parks – and some of them are indeed homeless.Now, a few months later – I am even more surprised to see an ‘unity’ of sorts arise, and hopefully by August I will have what will be a ‘series’ of short pieces ( and extracts from a long piece) .

(The rest of this post will not make sense unless you are looking at the visuals on my blog)

I waited a bit before I put up this piece .Its a little too direct , the players all too familiar, violent, and a piece that if interpreted in a ‘sentimental ‘ way , would be disastrous. Perhaps, it is unnecessary too…( I must restrain myself from holding forth on how it should not be read ).But a blog does give one the freedom to put up imperfect pieces ( and as imperfect pieces go , I do have a soft corner for this one!).And this way, I dont have to watch faces for a reaction or giggle nervously so here it is…