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Indu Harikumar

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Mumbai based Indu Harikumar finds drawing therapeutic, engaging and very entertaining. Her job at Chandamama [a classic Indian monthly magazine for children] first lead her to work in children's publishing. 

Indu has illustrated several picture books, designed DIY Doll making kits, and self published a colouring book for adults called—Beauty Needs Space and has just finished work on recycling crafts called The Crafty Indian Jungle Book. Tinder Tales is her recent work that is turning the heads of many. ‘I'd say that I started Tinder Tales out of sheer boredom. I thought my work was going into a template mode and was itching to do something new.  I write, illustrate and work with children and a friend suggested that I do #the100dayproject. I had a few stories from Tinder-ing in Vienna [where I was on an art residency], and also knew a few people who used Tinder and they all promised to contribute. That's how it started. It was an effort to document urban desire without any sort of judgement and yes, get new stories to draw everyday.’ 

Her experience on Tinder has been very interesting she says. ‘My favourite Tinder date is meeting an art history major in Vienna. He quoted Rilke, took me to Klimt’s house that was not on the map, introduced me to local food, told me stories about the Hasburgs, Mozart, Viennese plague, Viennese waltz, all laced with a lot Viennese humour. He totally charmed me off my pants while keeping a 10 inch distance from me, because in his words, he didn’t want to “corrupt my culture.”’ The endless walk through the streets of Vienna inspired Indu in more ways than one. After reaching home she came up with the idea of making an adult colouring book for adults and the theme was, ‘Positivity and mindfulness, Beauty needs Space became the title of my book.’ 

And interestingly it wasn’t as challenging to source these stories... to get people to give out their intimate secrets. ‘When I started the project, I really didn't hope to hear from so many people. Now the project has gotten so much press , that I hear from people from all continents and various parts of India. I feel privileged and happy for the trust so many people have shown in me. I really didn't expect that people would open up and share. Like a girl from Edinburgh wrote, saying, "It is just great to have a positive space like this to share what happened, it feels odd carrying a story you're burning to share inside.” I think we are all trying to make sense of the various things that happen to us and sometimes writing it out and letting it out can be healing. It is healing to read many of the stories, it makes me feel we are all in it together.’ 

Now Indu is working on a colouring book series for children and is also starting a new collaborative project on happiness. 

Find more about her work and journey here.

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