India Summer ’22: Going Back After Three Years

I’m back from a three-week trip to India, my first trip back in over three years. And the gist of it? It was wonderful, it was HOT, and it was filled with family. Also, it was at the height of mango season.

Most trip sketchbooks start out with a sketch like this. I think its main purpose is to get me from a blank sketchbook to a not-blank one. This is at San Francisco Airport, before my long flight. When you spend so much time at the airport you start to notice some patterns like this, noted in bottom right sketch: passengers juggling two phones with two SIM cards, still making last calls from their US phone, while charging and setting up their India phone

I landed in Mumbai in the middle of the night and took a 3-hour ride in a taxicab to Pune, to see friends for the day. (If you’re from Pune and are wondering if I stopped for batatawada in the ghats, of course I did, at 4am)

This sketch is from my friend’s front porch. I’m trying to capture the lovely, cool shaded area and all the foliage around it.

A day later, I’m on a flight again, (A bit bummed I missed a USk Pune meetup this time) in the middle of the night, on my way to Goa. Which called for another airport sketch. But a people-filled one this time. One of the things I’ve noticed over my last couple of trips to India is how snazzy men’s haircuts have become.

Fancy haircuts. And my first mango.

This is a typical corner shop. A small dark shop that looks too tiny to hold much, but will surprise you. Snacks, eggs, milk, shampoo, bar soap. You might expect all of these. But also, plastic buckets, mops, hair ties, fountain pens, blotting paper, ink, and much more. You can’t walk in and pick up what you want here. You ask the shopkeeper, and pretty magically, he pulls it out of the dark recesses of the store.

In this sketch, I really enjoyed adding the little stuff that perhaps no one but me will enjoy: there’s a hint of the Amul girl, a barely-visible sign for Society Tea, and a Pepsi and Coke sign sitting right by each other.

Cornershop, gulmohar, and limbu-soda in a Kingfisher glass.

This last one is probably my only not-sketched-on-location sketch from the whole trip. I am testing a sketchbook by an Indian maker (more on that after I’ve used it a bit more) so I sketched it from a photo of my first thali, one I ate too quickly to even think of drawing.

If you’ve eaten a thali before but this one doesn’t look familiar, it’s because thali really just means “plate” and every regional lunch and dinner plate will be different.

This is post #1 in a series of posts of sketches from India. There will probably be a post everyday until I am done. If you don’t already, you can subscribe to this blog to receive posts directly to your email, so you never miss any of them.

About Suhita Shirodkar

obsessive-sketcher. graphic designer.
This entry was posted in India, people, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to India Summer ’22: Going Back After Three Years

  1. Lovelyolourful and energetic sketches, as usual. I’m excited to see the rest of your India sketches in the coming days.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love your sketches and comments! Brings back so many memories! I went to Pune in 1980 as a Girl Scout- there is an international center there, Sangam, where we stayed for several weeks. Wish I had been sketching then!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ccaatt01 says:

    So glad you were finally able to go back to see family and friends. I spent a lot of time in India when I was working and know some of the areas you described.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Frannie says:

    Wonderful to read about your trip and see the colourful sketches. It reminds me of my trips there too. I look forward to seeing the next episodes. I like the way you tell the story both with your sketches and with your texts.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Judy H. says:

    Hi Suhita! I am really enjoying your sketches. So lively and free! I am based in California, too, and can relate to very long flights and many hours in airports when I lived in China and Southeast Asia (pre-COVID). Very exciting to hear about your trip to India. Your sketches are wonderful. Motorcycles are so hard to draw….yours is so good! Those tires! Looking forward to your updates! Thx for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Interesting paintings of India, really interesting the haircuts. I really like the painting of the motorcycle, and little market, you are so good at capturing people!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Arlene Padden says:

    Great sketches! Always love seeing your work and reading your comments.

    Liked by 1 person

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