THE BABY ON THE LOFT

Book illustrations | Art Direction

Client and Author

Dr. Sanjay Oak

Visuals and Illustrations 

Mihir Lele

Brief

I was approached by the author to work on the illustrations for his Marathi anthology- "The baby on the loft" (माळ्यावरचे बाळ).

How this book came into existence?

The only son of Dr. Oak's friend, a child of barely 4 or 5 years, would tell people who would visit his parents, that he had a younger brother who lived on the loft of their house, much to the shock of his parents. The author saw this an an amusing yet deeply significant manifestation's of the child's deep desire- to have a younger brother. He decided to use this story as a metaphor to tell other stories that now feature in the book. 

'The baby on the loft' is a metaphor for all our hidden feelings of fear, frustration, envy, enmity, appreciation and applaud, that are at times spoken but quite often held back. We fail to express them and yet we need them. They are a part of our existence. 

My Role

I was asked to design the illustrations for each of the 28 stories featured in the book, that effectively communicate the core thought behind each story. 

The book covers a range of varied topics and each chapter is a different short story with the metaphorical "baby" being the only common thread between all of them.

Naturally, this baby was kept as a common link between all the illustrations too.

These illustrations would be featured at the end of each story, sort of like a summation of the text via one visual.

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Baby on the loft

(Above) The illustration that appears with the preface of the book, one that explains how this book was conceived - the story mentioned in the brief above.

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Me & My country

(Above) The illustration that accompanies a story that is inspired by the Marathi proverb- "A patriot should definitely be born, but at the neighbour's house, not our own", which means sacrifices should be made for the general well being of ones country, BUT by someone else.

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What's App

(Above) The illustration that accompanies the author's take on the "whatsapp" culture and communication via the messaging application.

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Chillies and Lemons 

(Above) The illustration that accompanies a story that explores the idea of superstition and blind faith. 

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Blue Whale
(Above) The illustration that accompanies a story about "The Blue Whale" challenge- a social media game that encouraged its participants to kill themselves at the end of the game.

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Furniture

(Above) The illustration that accompanies a story that explores the thought of gauging ones self worth via ones materialistic success.

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Revisiting Death

(Above) The illustration that accompanies a story about the passage of time and how subjective it is for all people.

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Crow & Pigeons

(Above) The illustration that accompanies a story that explores ones self doubt and biting off more than one can chew. (The baby on the loft here is the self doubt that creeps into ones minds and sometimes climbs down from there and influences our actions thereof.)

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Doctors’ day

(Above) The illustration that accompanies the author's take on the violence against health-care personnel.

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Preference & priority

(Above) The illustration that accompanies a story wherein the author compares ones desire to do something against something one is forced to do, albeit a necessity.

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Lakeside

(Above) The illustration that accompanies a story about an imaginary conversation between life and death, where they discuss why people fear death more than life, since the former is a known devil, while the latter, an unknown one.

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Bleeding wound

(Above) The illustration that accompanies a story called "Bleeding wound", a real story about a man's wait for the terrorists that carried out the 2008 Mumbai blasts to be brought to justice.

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People we meet

(Above) The illustration that accompanies a story about judging people based on appearances.

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Funeral Palkin

(Above) The illustration that accompanies a story about the author's first memory of death and its significance.

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Rough work notebook

(Above) The illustration that accompanies a story called "Rough-work book" that compares ones mother to a school rough work book - a book that one uses for their preliminary preparation before it goes out, in its fair form, for the world to see.

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Forty

(Above) The illustration that accompanies a story about the author turning 40 years old.

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Tea stall

(Above) The illustration that accompanies a story about the author's college days and its nostalgia.

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Hoardings 

(Above) The illustration that accompanies a story about billboards and false advertising.

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Love

(Above) The illustration that accompanies the author's take on 'love'.

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It has been raining long

(Above) The illustration that accompanies a story about the infamous Mumbai rains.

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All is well

(Above) The illustration that accompanies a story called "All Is Well", about one's fate and destiny and not knowing what the future holds.

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Right and wrong

(Above) The illustration that accompanies a story called "Right or Wrong", and the uncertainty of both.

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Selfies

(Above) The illustration that accompanies a story called "Selfie"

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Slumdog millionaire

(Above) The illustration that accompanies a story about the difference between being financially poor and the 'mindset' of being poor.

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Don't Worry, Be Happy

(Above) The illustration that accompanies a story about the author's conversation with his 'baby on the loft' about taking time off for oneself without the incessant need to worry and plan for the future.

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Words are all I have

(Above) The illustration that accompanies a story about the author's experience with writing and what his writing means to different people who read it.

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Diary

(Above) The illustration that accompanies a story about keeping a diary and the author's relationship with this old school habit.  

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Idiot Box

(Above) The illustration that accompanies the author's take on people being addicted to televisions and drama serials.

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(Above) The cover of the book with the Marathi Title