5th December 2015, Saturday
Starting off the second day of the cultural festival, ‘Journeys- A Festival of the Arts’, hosted by the Gyaan Adab Centre of Pune, was the talented cartoonist Suraj ‘Eskay’ Sriram, delivering a talk on his experiences so far in the profession. Sriram is a professional cartoonist who has worked for several notable newspapers and magazines in India and the US, along with authoring three books in the recent past.
Humouring up the audience by recalling how people consider him a Narendra Modi-lookalike, Sriram referred to R.K Laxman as one of his biggest inspirations for his career as a cartoonist. His presentation engaged the audience in a chronological journey of his life experiences, interspersed with poignant sharing of instances, often humorous. Dividing them into phases, he first recounted the initial days of migrating from Kashmir, his place of birth, to Jharkhand, followed by his schooling days and his initial encounters with drawing cartoons for friends and family. He then moved on to describe his transformation into a professional, with stints at renowned magazines such as Indian Express, Blitz, Illustrated Weekly of India, Wisecrack, etc., before moving to the US, where too, he got widespread recognition and received awards from the New England Press Association. After his return to India, he has worked chiefly on authoring several books, including ‘Indira Gandhi: The Final Chapter’, ‘Excuse Me Can We Have Our Country Back’ and ‘George W. Bush: Some Missions Accomplished’.
Regarding his work, he significantly observed, “What is scary about my cartoons is that despite changing characters (of a different context), the relevance of the cartoons remains the same (for several issues).” Currently working on several other books, and also focusing on the social sector with his interpretation of CSR as not Corporate Social Responsibility but Creative Social Responsibility, the cartoonist ended his presentation with his interpretation of a poem by Robert Frost to surmise his think, and a video of one of the projects he was involved in, with school children.
Surely, the passion for cartoons shows no signs of waning for Sriram, as he continues to etch his name across different sectors.