There is a worrying rise in Covid-19 cases all over the country and some cities are worst affected, but to keep ourselves mentally strong, we must have faith and conviction that recovery is possible.

The Gond artwork represents that the number of people who have recovered are more than the active cases. It also salutes the strong willpower of the people and the diligence of the Covid warriors.

A humble pencil, some papers, a handful of colours and creative thoughts can produce a bucketful of hope and cheer. I stuck to this belief and succeeded in putting up a whole book on the current scenario.

Kaleidoscope of Cheer and Hope is a non-fiction book, born during the pandemic, and revolves around it. It is based on the current crisis and the changing norms of life.  Everyone who has lived through the last six months of the pandemic, lockdown, social distancing, unlock and the changed norms, will relate with the scribbles and illustrations inside as they relate to everyday life. Art imitates life; this book proves it. 

The book is my personal response to this exceptional period, a labour of love with my feelings translated on paper. In the last few months, I created over a hundred drawings, capturing events around the world. The idea was to keep a record of life during these unprecedented times, but half-way through, I realised it was no longer my own story, it was everyone else’s, too. We are all in it together.

We will never forget some of the valuable life-lessons and, of course, the changes that have taken place will forever leave an indelible mark in history. I hope Kaleidoscope of Cheer and Hope will help people of all ages understand this unusual situation and how together we responded to it, so positively.

Personal Notes, Positive Drawings

Imagination and creation have always been used as a response to uncertainty and catastrophe. I have used my creativity to emote, express and bail myself out of several low moments. The drawings helped me re-centre myself and find solace. Although I have been home these six months, my creatives have been based on the outside world and I haven’t felt stuck in one place.

The short notes alongside the drawings will serve as reminders and indices for times to come. Every page documents this period and inspires us to look at things differently ― virus, disease, health, global crisis, shaking hands, social distancing, warriors, family, real friends, lockdown, rich people, poor migrants, public events, markets, our vulnerabilities, healthcare staff, politicians, selfishness, fear, economic policies, cooperation, transformed life.

Everything about this book has been a part of my coping mechanism in these tough times. I want it to be yours, too. 

We Need Optimism

Everyone needs care, comfort and reassuring words from whatever source they may come from. The book presents plenty of optimistic ideas to make sense of the most unexpected!

Manjulika Pramod

It may not be a solution to all our problems, but provides hope and cheer in these stressful times and will take your mind off the anxiety this pandemic has given rise to.

The writings, sketches and illustrations picture both happy and sad days, but the underlying thread is one of optimism.

Art Helps Us Heal

Art has always been a testimony to some of the harshest times of history, a vivid commentary of sorts. When the global pandemic laid siege into our lives, we found ourselves in the throes of various emotions, constantly seeking words of solace. This book attempts to give you those moments when you will not only reflect on the time that has passed but make you reflect on what we can do better to cope with such an unusual situation should it happen again. The war with the nasty virus is far from over but we can deal with it with our faith and righteous actions.

Here are some excerpts from my book and images that go with them.

It’s a Real Pandemic!! Be Safe

 Whenever I see callous attitude and irrational views about the pandemic, I

wonder, “Why are some people not taking it seriously and putting other

people’s lives at risk?”

With everyone advocating that we have to learn to live with the virus, we got to

be very careful during this transition stage from ‘Lockdown’ to ‘Unlock’. This

phase is the most adventurous, like on the rollercoaster ride. We need to

exercise more caution.

We Did Not Do the Best for The Migrants!

When your job is gone, when you have no money, when you are unsure about the next meal, when the people around you abandon you, when there is a scare of a pandemic, what do you do? You make your way to a safer place — to your family.

As a nation, we failed to handle this emotional crisis. While the situation revealed the real and sordid state of affairs, the helplessness continued.

I am missing my home, too, but I will not dare mention my problems because my problems are too small in comparison to the survival problems of the poor and

the migrants.

I will let this Warli artwork speak for them.

Don’t Let Your Guards Down!

At 20:20, when “SOCIALDISTANCING” calls you, you must ‘ACCEPT’ it

immediately. 📱🤳

And when the nasty virus tries and calls, “DECLINE” it immediately. 📵

The Corona Doctor Stayed Away From Home!

A doctor on Covid-19 duty had come to see his family after four days. He didn’t step inside his house. As a precautionary measure, he maintained a distance

from his family members, sat outside the house, had a cup of tea and then left.

His family could not even come close to him. It was hard to put myself in his wife’s shoes.

The picture touched a chord because it was real and honest. This is just a

glimpse of the several sacrifices taking place, every day, around the world. I

captured the moment in my art journal, because these are the positive and uplifting things that I want to remember about this pandemic.

I dedicate this picture to all my doctor friends and the whole medical fraternity. Medical staff, in particular, must be applauded across the world for their hard and courageous work in keeping us safe and sound.

Manjulika Pramod, an electronics and communications engineer, gave up her corporate job to become a writer. A compulsive traveller and foodie, she contributes to magazines and newspapers. ‘PENDOWN’ is her personal space where she has been practising the art of story-telling for more than a decade.