Playing Death

On 22 and 23 October 2011, Mumbai was witness to its very first comic book convention, Comic Con Express, at the World Trade Center at Cuffe Parade. Graphic novel artists, veteran cartoonists, comic books we Indian kids had grown up reading, characters from the latest television cartoons, quirky game/rock/comic merchandisers, offbeat film actors and COSPLAYERS galore were in attendance, all mingling with each other, asking/answering questions, adding colour and making those two days memorable in every way possible.

Wikipedia defines Cosplay or costume play as ‘a type of performance art in which participants don costumes and accessories to represent a specific character or idea’.


Chris Bachalo's depiction was one of the images used for inspiration


I did it for kicks. And to also see if I could carry off a comic character that’s widely loved and admired – Death of the Endless from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series of graphic novels.

From all the personifications of Death in fiction, Gaiman’s cheerful creation is my second favoured one; the first being Pratchett’s rather dry-witted character. But of course, it takes a certain physical stature and possession of glowing blue eyes to play the Death of Discworld (an accompanying skeletal rat with a scythe wouldn’t hurt).

After eliminating Turanga Leela (disadvantaged by – purple hair, one-eyed vision), Ramona Flowers (disadvantaged by – blue/pink hair, Subspace bag) and a host of other super heroines who were too aah… bombastic and scantily clad for my liking, I settled on Death of the Endless.

The Eye of Horus and red lipstick mixed with black lipstick

The essentials: A copper Ankh from a Wicca shop in Bandra, Lace-edged blouse from Giordano, Black skinny jeans from Roxy, Black belt with rivets from Linking Road, Boots from a Brisbane sale, Cross-bedecked bracelet and rose tattoo ring from Diva

While an unusual interpretation of the idea, Death is also depicted as anything other than overtly sexual in her manner and dress in the graphic novels. Apart from her affable and friendly exchanges with the souls she is to carry to the next realm, she is regular and normal and this appeals to me.

Having access to an enthusiastic and exceptionally talented makeup artist did help. Rosalyn Manuel, who also occasionally dabbles in fantasy makeup used theater-quality makeup products on my face.

 The application took little more than an hour and were the venue properly air-conditioned, it would have remained put for more than the two hours it lasted. However, the October heat in Mumbai ultimately overcomes everything. Sigh.
I had to be very careful with the face paint especially, warning people who wanted a photograph in advance of its tendency to transfer to their clothes, skin. The white body paint was also one of the reasons I had to refrain from using on my arms (which, as you can see, presents an odd contrast on a brown-skinned person). Apart from that minor inconvenience my get-up was a total hit with the people who got the character.

Makeup like that takes a while to wipe off as well, and I had to wash my face repeatedly (4 times) to get all the gunk off, with a lot of help from Rosalyn may I add. Plans of a night on the town had to be cancelled as I had to go home and get whatever had seeped into my hair and really black clothes out.

But it was worth it, and enough to make me enthusiastic about cosplaying some other interesting character in the future.

The final look. Clicked soon after we completed the makeup and hair

With my grimmer counterpart - The Grim Reaper played by a girl who rocked the look so well.

With my friend, who cosplayed Desire that day

Some fun folks who were Cosplaying that day

Day 2 at Comic Con Express - Took my little cousins along
















Here are some other interpretations of Death’s look by cosplayers I came across on the internet:

1. Short-haired waif 

2. Properly pale and raven-haired

3. Wild-haired and punky

4. Hardcore goth

In addition, Comics Alliance has a pretty neat tutorial on replicating Death’s look. For more Death of the Endless fan-art and goodness, head to The Fuck Yeah Lady Death Tumblr – one of my absolute favourite places on the interwebs.

30 Days of September – A Photo Challenge

The photograph I clicked on Day 19 of myself lying in a dark room on a bed. I'm illuminated by fairy lights.

Last month, a friend came across a blog that suggested an interesting photo challenge for each day of August. However, she discovered it too late into the month. We decided to do it for the month of September instead.

A week into September, I realised I was the only one to take up the photo challenge and initial embarrassment at this discovery gave in to actual enthusiasm and interest in the project.

September has been a trying month in a lot of different ways for me, as it was to be my last month in Brisbane before I left for a three-month long vacation to India. Things to do, people to meet, plans to make, sights to see – each day was filled with an overdose of activity. It goes without saying that I spent most of this month being physically and mentally exhausted.

A photograph I clicked on Day 13 of a lonely road with a schoolboy walking down the middle

While I’m unsure if I’ll take up another photo challenge again or if my camera/photo-editing skills improved during the duration, I cherish this particular project.

Taking a little time out each day to work on this by myself was more a pleasure than a challenge and while my husband helped me with some of the tricky ones, it has been mostly myself working in a zone of my own. Below is a list of links to photographs I clicked each day in the month of September. Enjoy!

Day 1: Self-portrait – In which I click a honest photo.

Day 2: What you wore – In which I channel Ramona Flowers (each Friday. Religiously).

Day 3: Clouds – In which I photograph them badass Super Hornets as well.

Day 4: Favourite colour – n which I reveal my shameless obsessions and hoarding skills.

Day 5: Someone you love – In which I relate my strange ideas about ‘love’ (was a very difficult one to portray).

Day 6: A childhood memory – In which you also get to see a very ornery child.

Day 7: Something new – In which I hope my photograph also helps brighten a sad & tragic day in some small way. Peace.

Day 8: Technology – In which I also reminisce about those cool tattoo artists you see around church fairs in and around Bombay.

Day 9: A faceless self-portrait – In which I go all IMHO (for something not involving my face, it sure took a long time to get right!).

Day 10: Something you made – In which I introduce you to a dodgy superhero *aaa-aaa-aaa-aaa-aaa-aaa-aaa-aaa-aaa-aaa*

Day 11: Something fun – In which I show you a proper Australian fun fair (warning – require sunglasses to view).

Day 12: A close-up – In which I show you a part of my body I have come to accept and appreciate.

Day 13: From a distance – In which I get lucky.

Day 14: Flowers – In which I capture some luscious-looking robbers. Yay me!

Day 15: My shoes – In which I preen and play with my lovelies & some paints.

Day 16: What you ate – In which I hail the German Club and all things meaty *lick slurp hic*

Day 17: On my shelf – In which I get a bit teary as I show off.

Day 18: In my bag – In which I show just how dreadfully mundane and ordinary I can get *yawn*

Day 19: Where you slept – In which I aim for something sensual and quirky (an odd combination, I know).

Day 20: What you read – In which I reveal just how much of a dilettante I am when it comes to books.

Day 21: A pretty pattern – In which I drape myself in a *blush cough* saree!

Day 22: Trees – In which death emphasizes itself.

Day 23: Sunset – In which I witness a much-loved sight that feels like a great consolation for a lousy day.

Day 24: Smile – In which the alluring & luscious Bhawika Bawa shall make your pulse race. In an LBD. ;-)

Day 25: Sunflare – In which I also capture the house that caught fire last week. Morbidly glorious.

Day 26: Something old – In which I wonder about my mum’s teenage days…

Day 27: After dark – In which the night surprises me with its abundance of contradictions.

Day 28: Daily routine – In which I reveal just how much of a (yawn) good little girl I am.

Day 29: Purchased – In which I show off lovely new dress. Again.

Day 30: Motion – In which I capture the most marvellous human invention (no, not waffles) ever!

You can view the entire series in my 30 Days of September photo set on Flickr.

Misuse of Facebook Photos

Update: As of 26 August, 2011 I received notifications on both Twitter, Facebook and as you can see from the comment on this post, that the blog mentioned below has been pulled down. From the 25 girls we contacted, one girl responded to my message. She was shocked but angry enough to file a complaint on both Blogger and Facebook.

To be honest, when we began contacting the women on that blog, we didn’t think it was possible to shut it down – largely due to what we knew about Facebook and Blogger privacy clauses. Our aim was to limit whatever damage we saw before us and alert as many people as we could.

Many people were outraged and shocked that their wives, friends, sisters, aunts, nieces, etc. could be susceptible to such dangers on the internet. Most of these people tried to get in touch with their Facebook and Blogger contacts and tried to get them to take some sort of action. I’m unsure which message got through and which person/s are to be thanked for shutting down Indian Facebook Girls, but I think I speak for a lot of women out there when I say it was a big relief to hear that it no longer existed.

This is not the end to blogs like these and I must mention here that making your profile photo private is akin to giving in to fear and it reduces the authenticity of your identity. For me, most of my profile photos also function as an extension of my self-expression. I would hate to give up something I have come to treat as a creative outlet because I’m afraid of how it can be twisted by such forces on the internet.

As someone who is into internet security told me, “If it’s online, it’s not private“. I suppose the best way to get around the menace of photo misuse is to be vigilant about your virtual identity. Keep Googling your name, image searches for your name and checking the resulting sites that have your photographs could also help. Recheck privacy settings on each social network you use. Some albums need to be shared with just a few people while some photos are alright to share with the whole wide world. You need to decide this. Don’t let it reach a point where someone else forces you to decide against what needs to be public and what needs to be private.

If you can think of any suggestion to prevent incidences like these, please feel free to mention them in a comment below and I shall be happy to publish them on this space. It could help someone you know and love someday.

Listed below are links to posts on the women I was unable to reach via Facebook to inform them about the misuse of their Facebook photos on this blog: Indian Facebook Girls

I urge you to share this list wherever possible – it’s a slim chance, but worth exploring. Hopefully this list can reach these women and help them take whatever action they think is suitable against the breach of their privacy.

While searching for some of the women, we realised that some are wrongly named/spelled and some even have duplicate Facebook profiles. Please pay heed to this as you go through this list.








Dr. Swapna

Unnamed, Kannada




Divya Bhat (she has a couple of posts dedicated to her),,



JYL Verma


Soumya Shetty


Arsaful Hussein

Sophie Rai



Jyothi Singh

Debolina (there are a few posts under this name),,,,

Swathi Prabhu

Shwetha V,


Anusha Murthy





Kannada girl, Malaysia





Sandhya Aggarwal (we couldn’t send her a message through FB)

Sonam Jain


Meghana Bhat


Swapna Naik


Deepa Gupta

Aisha Naik

Dr. Arpana,,


Laxmi H


Who made this list?

People like @i_r_squared, @OutofOrdr, @sjcakes and many more who came across this on Twitter today (August 25, 2011) and were horrified to see dozens of photos of unsuspecting women on this site.

While most of us are unsure about the next step, all of us believe that these women have a right to know that their photos were used on such a site without their knowledge.

@RahulNuthakki, @Omithehomie, @Kazarelth and @thedwan especially, had a major hand in making it easier to establish contact with most of the women on that site.

Personally, I believe protecting your profile photo is not a solution to this-we need profile photos to make it easier for people to contact us, recognize us, etc. However, many of my women friends are rushing to protect their profile photos in light of such a massive example of photo misuse.

I don’t blame them at all. We have too much to lose.

But this is a fear we can do without.

My Magic Pill is a Poem

Snuffed out my torches
one by one.

I carried them
for people too blind to see them.

They ran on my blood’s fuel
and my blood’s run cold.

My blood’s run cold all because of them
my blood’s run cold.

That rusty smell’s too much
to bear now.

But it’s what I’ll have to live with
till someone else comes along.

To light my forgotten torches
and make my blood boil again.

Oh to simply know it boils again!

A.k.a. Reena

I am Reena.

Among but above everything else, I write. Web content, on blogs, other people's books, my diaries, old notebooks, and other places I would love to tell you about but would rather leave to you to discover.

Immense adoration

I'm a Terry Pratchett Fan

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