WHAT: BombayHectic, a fortnightly webcomic on the city
A crowded, narrow lane with hawkers spilling out onto the streets. An aerial shot of a cluster of high rise buildings. A flooded road. A traffic-ridden street with the words ‘I remember I used to loathe this city’ superimposed.
A new online graphic novel, shot, edited and published entirely off a smartphone, offers an outsider’s view of Mumbai.
Called Bombay Hectic, the series, which began on July 25, is published by 27-year-old Aazar Anis, a copywriter from Delhi who recently moved to Mumbai. Anis, along with social media consultant Arjun Jassal, 31, already has a similar comic called Delhi Hectic, started in 2013.
Formatted using a photo-editing app called PicLab, the webcomic is filled with poetic musings. “I wanted to write about my experience of being in Mumbai, alone, in a similar format,” says Anis.
The first chapter, called Delhiite in Bombay, has 20 panels, detailing stereotypical Mumbai struggles, especially typical to the monsoon — for instance, a picture of a BEST bus has the lines, ‘a daily chore, the string pulls harder than the brakes of a BEST bus’, referring to the struggles of boarding the bus, and the larger metaphorical struggles of making your way in the city.
While Anis doesn’t believe in comparing Delhi and Mumbai, he says it is a challenge to switch to Mumbai’s tone, which is different from that of Delhi. “In Delhi Hectic, since we were and brought up in the city, we were trying to capture various subcultures — of graffiti, music and parties — making it much more intimate. As I discover Mumbai, I do it more as an outsider trying to figure the city out.”
The chapters are uploaded every two to three weeks, and the next one, which talks about what makes Mumbai unique, should be up by the second week of August.