Hungry for the World
I first met Amruta Patil on an inky dark night at a dinner party in an old Goan beach house.
The Bookwallahs and I had driven for what seemed like hours down the tiny winding backroads of Goa to reach the home of Indian performance artist Nikhil Chopra. Although Amruta and I only chatted briefly at the dinner party, I was struck by the way she talked about her graphic novel Adi Parva.
Amruta is both a writer and a fine artist, one of those people who is as at ease with words as she is with paint. Before leaving Delhi later that year, I made sure I tracked down a copy of both the magical Adi Parva and Amruta’s earlier darkly urban graphic novel, Kari.
When Anita, Payal and I discussed which Indian illustrators we wanted to see included in Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean, Amruta was on everyone’s list. As both a writer and an illustrator, Amruta was keen to create a solo piece for the anthology rather than have to collaborate with a writer. None of the editors wanted to force the collaborative process on any of the contributors and co-incidentally, one of the Australian graphic novelists, Nicki Greenberg, felt very similarly to Amruta about creating a solo piece (more of Nicki’s story in a later blogpost).
I love Appetite, the story Amruta created for the anthology. It beautifully articulates the way young women are told to curb their hunger for life, how from adolescent onwards, girls are told to be a smaller, lesser version of themselves. The protagonist of Appetite, Coral, is a voracious, feisty character – a true sky-eater and ocean swallower.