Traveler

Apaulogy: Where Art meets Cartoon

Artist Paul Fernandes at his gallery. Click to view more images of Paul and his sketches of comic Bangalore.Artist Paul Fernandes at his gallery. Click to view more images of Paul and his sketches of comic Bangalore.Take a walk by Richards Park in Bangalore, and you'll stumble upon a most curious gallery that will lure you inside with its funny sketches of a man on a wobbly bicycle and a policeman with ballooning shorts. I followed my feet to find inside a treasure-trove of the city's collective memories. Apaulogy, the gallery, is a showcase of artist Paul Fernandes' work as he recaptures the Bangalore of '60s and '70s — when it was still a sleepy little town.  What makes it absolutely delightful is that Paul's illustrations of the city's history are in the form of cartoons.

Girish Karnad very rightly pointed out that the tradition of Indian painting allows no space for the city or its teeming multitudes. But in Paul Fernandes' celebration of Bangalore we find "a joyful immersion in the energy and the human comedy of the city, its colonial hauteur, its Cantonment cool, its modern chaos, lost and yet not lost, noisy, roisterous, tragic, farcical, in masterly lines, bursting colours and bafflingly insane compositions."

The charming curator welcomes you to the warm spaces inside, only to take you on a trip that is nothing short of magical; as you re-visit the city's favourite haunts, some that have changed, some that are still the same, you will find captured in every picture an atmosphere of merriment and comic nostalgia.

India Coffee House, MG Road.  Click to view more images of Paul and his sketches of comic Bangalore.India Coffee House, MG Road. Click to view more images of Paul and his sketches of comic Bangalore.Do you remember India Coffee House on MG road? Where the demand for coffee was so high you could only park for 10 minutes at a time, and the waiters would rush in and out, balancing coffee cups in high pyramids. The Coffee House was second home to the Deccan Herald journos next door, and word was you could drop by for a quick preview of the next day's headlines over a cuppa! But with skyrocketing rents, it is no longer part of MG Road's façade, and can now be found at a more discreet location on Church Street.

Who can forget Plaza theatre, with its velvet curtains and wooden flooring, inherited from its days as a dance hall for the British soldiers? After an untimely demise caused by the multiplexes, it now serves as an entrance to the Metro — hardly an end befitting its legacy.

Pedestrians were often at the peril of early learners at the Bangalore Driving School. Well-meaning policemen ruled the streets, although never taken seriously with their "parachute" shorts starched so stiff that naughty schoolgirls would tease them and peek under.  They too are just a memory now, shorts and moustache no longer mandatory, dressed in trousers and Texan-style hats that add more sobriety.

The Bangalore Driving School, MG Road. Click to view more images of Paul and his sketches of comic Bangalore.The Bangalore Driving School, MG Road. Click to view more images of Paul and his sketches of comic Bangalore.So if you want to enjoy your last peg at Dewars, or endless cups of tea at Koshy's, even dine at a raucous Mangalorean wedding feast, drop by Apaulogy and carry home a memory, a bit of Bangalore's legacy for your walls.  Recently opened, Apaulogy already has a loyal following, word of mouth carrying forward stories of its sparkle to out-of-towners who've heard of Old Bangalore's charm, heritage-enthusiasts who include it as a must-see on their trail, and a younger generation who are lured by stories of humorous times in a city they love.

Enjoy more images of Paul's sketches of old Bangalore.

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