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Varud Gupta was bred for the business world, a past life spent studying finance at New York Unive... Read More

Product Description

Varud Gupta was bred for the business world, a past life spent studying finance at New York University and working as a consultant for Deloitte. And then a brusque millennial existential crisis sent him travelling (and eating) through the culinary cultures of the world. It was in documenting these odd jobs-from cheesemongering in NY to being an asador in Argentina-that his journey as a writer began. Obsessed with storytelling, Varud wrote his first book, Bhagwaan Ke Pakwaan, which was a cookery-cum-travel narrative through the faiths and foods of India. The story of Chhotu represents the culmination of the first chapter on this existential path and the search for purpose in a world that can often feel so bleak.

Ayushi Rastogi was born into a family of artists, studying communication design at Pearl Academy followed by a deep dive into illustration and branding at the Academy of Art in San Francisco. It was her upbringing that instilled a need to seek social responsibility in her work; that the stories of art can also drive change. She's created a board game for children with dyslexia, illustrated a children's series that tackles topics of diversity and designed books that explore nature conservation, Delhi pollution and much, much more. And through Chhotu she aims to bring to life a fear that gnaws at our everyday lives.

The year is 1947. The British are slowly marking their departure from the country. And while Partition looms large over India, Chhotu, a student-cum-paranthe-cook in the dusty gullies of Chandni Chowk, has other things on his mind-like feeling the first flushes of love of his crush, Heer, the new girl at school.

When he finally decides to make a move, Chhotu soon finds the town's aloo has suddenly gone missing, reluctantly embroiling himself into the world of corruption, crime and dons. As he struggles to understand what freedom truly means, Chhotu realizes one thing is for certain-that his world, and the world of those around him, is about to change forever.

Set against the backdrop of Partition and the horrors that followed, Chhotu is a coming-of-age story of an unlikely hero and a parable of a past that doesn't feel too removed from the present.

Wild, imaginative and tender, it may be only through love stories like Chhotu that we can return to our darkest hour and begin reparations for another kind of future to which we can all belongGiven the 'unspeakability' of the experiences of Partition, it is entirely appropriate that Chhotu uses visual imagination to represent this searing episode in India's history. With sharp irony and crackling humor, it offers a poignant understanding of a time when fear, bigotry, political machinations, and violence overtook everyday lifeThe Partition of India was, and remains, the world's largest migration-with unbelievable violence, creating millions of refugees overnight. Chhotu looks at this tragedy through fresh eyes. It uses a visual style and idiom to explain some extremely difficult moments in our history to contemporary readers, bringing to the fore nostalgia, romance and a light touchChhotu, Heer, Bapu, Chandni Chowk, love, friendship, longing and belonging breathe life into a turbulent time few have dared to picture. This graphic novel leaves no doubt that art is at its evocative best when it reveals the bitter truths nations choose to buryA graphic novel that breathes life into love, friendship and longing during a turbulent period, it is art at its evocative bestIn the Penguin potboiler, Chhotu, Varud Gupta and Ayushi Rastogi tick all the boxes of pop storytelling even as they reopen a scab from the nation's past and hold up a mirror to its more recent blisters. Storyboarded with crisp cinematographic frames, zoomorphic characters enact the socio-economic and communal chaos that followed the partition with stylishly wry humour and depth . . . Chhotu throws up questions about the locus of power and freedom in society, and leaves you wishing you too could achieve your own transformational catharsis inside a two-page spreadPart novel, part art and equal parts tender love and boundless suffering, this coming-of-age story is a commentary on something more pervasive and endemic if you scratch beneath the surface. It is a commentary on the violence and oppression that persist to this day . . . The graphic artistry sparkles in black and white, supplementing the fiction that is actually a very clever allegory on what most people would call a weird, shameful chapter of our history. The story pictorially unlocks the inner machinations of cold, plain and simple life-and the distorted reality of terrible events that have far-reaching effects'It is uncanny to read Chhotu in the shadow of the violence that erupted in Delhi recently. Set in the Partition era, this graphic novel . . . tells a story that has elements of all that is happening around us every day. There is fake news, communal tension, migration of populations, riots. And then, there are also moments of love, solidarity, forging of bonds and the promise of scars healing.' -Somak Ghoshal, LivemintAn endearing story of childhood love and youthful innocence set in a time of unprecedented violence and chaos . . . The humour infused throughout the story is a delightful surprise.

Product Details

Title: Chhotu
Author: Varud GuptaAyushi RastogiVarud Gupta and Ayushi Rastogi
SKU: BK0431797
EAN: 9780143446149
Language: English

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