Famed illustrator Nala Ponnappa and Mumbai newspaper mid-day are readying to launch what could be India's first comic on the lives of the visually impaired.
Titled, You & Eye, it's a collaborative effort between Jagran Group publication mid-day; the Pune-based cartoonist; former journalist Krishna Warrier and Dr Sam Taraporevala, director at the Xavier's Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged (XRCVC). "Krishna and Dr Sam, colleagues at XRCVC, visited me last year along with a friend, who is also blind like Sam. Sam suffers from 100 per cent blindness,” says Ponnappa.
The illustrator with a 30-year-long career says the meal they shared lasted three hours. In fact, Ponnappa even spent a part of the time blindfolded. Chatter over how 'normal' the lives of the blind are led him to suggest he create a comic strip on the subject. Dr Sam and Krishna would provide fodder for situations while Ponnappa gave it his brand of wit. "mid-day was excited about completing the triangle, and here we are," says Ponnappa of the comic that will appear in the paper's Sunday edition as part of an imminent rejig of the tabloid's puzzles and comics section.
It will also see the introduction of Dr Love, an expert who solves relationship riddles in a confusing digital age; a brand new set of puzzles and games; a crossword that tests your grasp of Mumbai; an environment comic by Rohan Chakravarty, and of course, the very popular daily horoscope and Bollywood crossword.
"A blind person is like any other, except he suffers a condition," says Dr Sam, who has led the sociology department of Mumbai's St Xavier's College for over two decades. Through their discussions, the three have tried to record various situations the blind often find themselves in, serving it to the reader with humour. "A comic is meant to be entertaining. If of the hundred who find it funny, five understand what we are trying to say, it should work," says Dr Sam.