He's obsessed with the ocean, and is now making waves.
"When you have lived in a coastal city (Chennai) and spent quality time in another (Mumbai), you cannot but fall in love with the ocean," Dharmalingam Udaya Kumar (31), who designed the symbol that is slated to put the Indian rupee in league with $, €, £ and ¥, told HT.
Winning the contest for designing the rupee symbol made him reschedule his trip to this city; he will now join IIT-Guwahati as an assistant professor in the department of design on Monday.
Udaya's fascination with the seas is apparent from Waterworld, the model of a futuristic floating city he designed for the Arabian seacoast to ease Mumbai's urban congestion.
The concept fuelled his architectural thesis — he is a bachelor of architecture from Anna University besides a master of design from Industrial Design Centre, IIT Bombay.
But this IITian is also fascinated by the literary ocean called Tamil.
"I was into art from an early age, and was particularly fond of the Tamil alphabets. Subsequently, I worked on Tamil manuscripts and typefaces, and what I have done for my mother tongue is a drop in the ocean."
That drop was Parasakthi, a standard, simple and clean Tamil typeface with uniform stroke thickness that he designed.
The hunt for symbolism in Tamil letters led Udaya to Roman and Devanagari scripts. That helped him come up with the rupee symbol — with horizontal strokes representing the tricolour — to represent India's growing economy and its currency.
Udaya hopes his stint at IIT-Guwahati will help him make a mark in designing jewellery and accessories from junk material, a pet passion.
"Whether or not I succeed, I will always be known as the person behind the rupee symbol," he said.