Thursday, April 16, 2015

~ uncomplicate ~

Wandering around in the neighborhoods of the maximum city Mumbai; often I encounter the simplest of instances and conversations while I am thinking of something else altogether. And most naturally these instances lead me to thinking that as we grow older we tend to complicate the most simple things around us. It might be about relationships or sometimes even our conversation with the hawker next door.

uncomplicate ~

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

~ I forgot what I was about to say, a photo-essay :: Morocco'15


Will you listen 
to a conversation?
And maybe drop in a word or two
 if you like,

What the calm waters say,
Is often unheard and oblivious

It is between us,
What is
 not unheard.

© Gaurav Ogale, Morocco 2015

© Gaurav Ogale, Morocco 2015

 if I speak too much,

I will leave it half-way

© Gaurav Ogale, Morocco 2015

© Gaurav Ogale, Morocco 2015

                                                                 What I wish to say

© Gaurav Ogale, Morocco 2015

if I was telling you

What I wanted to,
You will laugh away

So let me think,
If at all I want to say,
What I want to say.

© Gaurav Ogale, Morocco 2015

© Gaurav Ogale, Morocco 2015

© Gaurav Ogale, Morocco 2015

                                                        Or let me say it another time.

© Gaurav Ogale, Morocco 2015

© Gaurav Ogale, Morocco 2015

 you know,
While I spoke so much,
drifted with the waves

© Gaurav Ogale, Morocco 2015

I forgot what I was about to say


Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Children in India are conversation starters; sometimes they are like the barbecued meat that makes its way through wine chalices and awkward talks at family gatherings. “Show them how to dance”, “Sing the song you were singing yesterday”, “How does dada laugh?” and so on. Come on, they aren't clowns and certainly it’s not their responsibility to start a conversation.


I recollect so many such instances as a kid when I was asked to dance, sing and imitate someone, I enjoyed it all because I loved the reactions I would get. It would be even more special when someone would ask me to do it over and over again. But as I grew older I realized, I was made to do uncanny things just so that some conversations would start at an otherwise boring gathering.

We take conversations very seriously. Sometimes we have got nothing to speak or ask at all but we still do because we are obliged to. And mostly we forget that conversations are natural, they are stubborn feelings which take time to evolve. They aren't time gap fillers or deep fried munchies cackling in a quiet room.

In my country, conversations are usually a step ahead of rocket science. Some people like to keep it exceptionally intellectual and some try to keep it humorous with plain tongue-in-cheek comments. That’s not conversation.

Conversations are best undiscovered. They are best to be kept silent. To have a conversation, you need to look into the eyes and create it. If not, it’s noise; unwanted and chaotic.

Sometimes conversations are loud yet meaningful, they have something that bring people together. The best ones start with no intention or inhibitions; they are free like the sky and blotted like the clouds. The most beautiful ones are simple, warm and quiet. The most humorous are full of wit and smiles; irrespective of your geographical existence.

Some are rigid and curt, like an unstoppable rain on a summer afternoon. Some are like mossy grass creeping on weathered window panes and others like a cup of lukewarm tea on the coldest evenings.

~What starts this blend of words and breath; is a simple ‘hello’. It’s not really rocket science~

Sometimes it may bring back a memory you buried along the way and sometimes it might leave you with yourself;
that’s all that a conversation does.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

An illustrated dream: Gaurav Ogale for Kyoorius

It's beautiful how Kyoorius, India's most carefully curated Design Magazine and website has been chronicling my journey for the last six odd years. Here is my piece in their 'Opinion' column on my most recent escaped to Morocco. This piece is more about the design aspect. I am sharing some more pictures specially for all of you.


“I tell stories.”
“No but what do you do?”
“Yes, I tell stories for a living”
I was grinning as I glanced out of the aircraft window and saw a place that I had only seen on Discovery Channel. Its aromatic cuisine and bustling streets were all going to be right in front of me in a few minutes. Flying through those three continents, from one country to another, that academic degree from a design school seemed even more trivial now. There I was, standing with a box of colours in a strange country, to showcase my work and translate anecdotes into visual journals; no different from what I had made at 9 years of age with coy brush strokes hardly visible on canvas.
Art was introduced to me by my grandfather, and a very special teacher who came home and painted with me. My mother had introduced me to cooking when I was very young. You might wonder how these two things are even remotely connected. It was incredible how my parents nurtured my art and love for cooking.

In India, art and design residencies are still finding their feet and are often caught between commerce and infrastructure, however they are quite common in the West. All sorts of people participate, immerse themselves in the spaces and collaborate with each other, in turn making these ideal networking opportunities. For me, it was a way to identify my calling.
I was invited for a month long residency at The Ultra Laboratory in Casablanca, for artists and independent art spaces focused on research and experimentation. Rita Alaoui, a contemporary artist and bookmaker, founded this residency a few years ago. Rita had patiently gone through my project proposal when I wrote to them to take part in the residency and we instantly connected when I spoke of Indian cuisine. There was one more connection between us, which we figured out much later – a love for making books. Through the residency, I got to experience many other things which were far more interesting than illustration. Sharing some of my mom’s and grandmother’s secret recipes in the workshops which I conducted not only helped me earn a livelihood in Morocco during my stay there, but also became a conversation starter. It overcame language barriers and spices became my language.

While I was there, I was also constantly translating what I saw, heard and felt onto my little hand-bound books. I was intrigued by walls, textures, windows, architecture; Morocco opened up a world to me. Most of the illustrations I made here revolved around architecture, landscapes and the organised chaos in this surreal land. I worked on making three journals, filled with watercolors and words, two of which were minuscule and handcrafted. I was able to save up some funds from the meals I hosted and that helped me travel further to my next stops – Marrakech and Rabat.

In Marrakech, I took part in another residency and exchanged one of my works for a weeklong stay in a beautiful quaint Riad (a quintessential Moroccan home). On the evening of the show, I was thrilled to see people from all walks of life exploring my books and to find that they did not need my help to interpret them. They came from a very different culture, and it would seem as though we had nothing in common and yet we had so much. 

Ideally, after graduating from design school I would have probably headed straight to an agency and maybe created only as much but it would have left me feeling empty somehow. Working independently does have a down-side but on the whole, it opens you to an ocean of possibilities and collaborations to look forward to. I have been traveling alone since I was 16 years old and illustration has helped me find the balance between travel and work. Just goes to show that if you are in sync with all your senses and are open to all sorts of conversations, you can create your own opportunities and gain some mesmerising experiences in return. 

Who would have thought that something as simple as love for cooking could bring to life a different kind of dream for an illustrator like me.

Gaurav Ogale is an independent visual chronicler and writer from India. His hand bound visual journals document anecdotes, nostalgic conversations, recipes and thoughts that he travels with. His works have been featured in several publications like The NatGeo Traveller magazine, The Dharamsala Film Festival’14, Posterama Singapore, Mint and Kyoorius to name a few.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

~ Cobwebbed conversations

I have an organic connection with books; its pages, its secrets and dreams. I can spend hours staring at books, not that I would read them; just stare. The way the threads hold them together and sometimes hold onto them; it makes me instantly have a conversation with its presence.

My grandfather has been gifting me books since I was little. Books on speeches, legends, drawings, birds, trees, science, architecture; just everything that makes this world what it is. As time passed by, I  flipped through them once in a while. Read a few words here and there and forgot about them. What I never forgot was his audacious signature at the beginning and end of the books. Those dog eared edges grew older over the years. The inks would leave an introvert smell and the corners of the page would fall apart.

I still held onto those books. They were more than books for me; they were my grandfather’s thoughts, his smell.


I crept into its silent fold;
What lay beneath
Was a cobweb.
I unfolded the intricate lines,
And stitched in my own.
I stared at it for hours,
And made stories of my own.
My stitched stories,
With no meanings and 


The roots of my love for making books grew from those years of my childhood, it keeps me connected with myself.

What I love about these books is the age old print techniques; it makes you get lost in the visuals. It holds on to you until you want it to and leaves you with startling imagery. 

This one is titled South-est Asia and is written by Stanley Karnow published by TIME Inc.

I like this newly developed relationship with old books at home, stitching a new meaning into them and letting the words flow in whenever they want. I like how they let me make meaning out of them.