January 16, 2009

Ok, so DTE turned 400 in January. When it began, in 1992, no one gave it more than a few issues to survive…

I joined in 2002, and apart from a year and a bit of break in between, it’s been a fun ride. First a photograper, then a designer. It’s a great place to learn and grow, if you want to.

Our editor has written a piece on why this magazine. Read it if you have the time

Meanwhile, here’s an advert is designed for the 400th issue


and this one’s to announce the launch of the e-magazine, not yet approved, it’s at a ‘beta’ stage, the poster that is:


you must check it out here (incase you cant figure it out, take the mouse to the bottom right corner of the magazine to turn the page), and subscribe too

The old DTE website will soon get a make over too, we’ll be hosting fresh new stories, not found in the print version. So that will be fun. And we have an exhibiton lied up for early Feb. More on that later. All this to celebrate 400 issues of common sense. So celebrate, subscribe, and get others to subscribe 🙂

The Best of LIFE

December 9, 2008


a new blog, pictures culled from Google Life photo archive and Flickr: The Commons

The head spins, the mouth is dry.  I’m not feeling well. These are hard times, at home and at work.

Head on
An old friend and a colleague is back. He rejoins us as our managing editor. While he was still a reporter, I travelled with him, shooting some of my best work. A journalist to the core, he always struggled in this research based activist organization. His stories, reportages, easy, informative and interesting reads, where often turned into forensic pieces. The transformation possible only because my friend never lacked in research, just that he wrote for the average reader, he believed what you leave out is as important as what you write. I respect him deeply, and consider him a close friend.

The friend then left. He travelled half way across the planet and worked for a year with one of the top newspapers of the world. Now as he prepares to take charge of our magazine, his belief’s strengthened with experience, advice and working with the cream of reporters, editors, his work is cut out.

Will he be able to transform our magazine from being the activist mouthpiece of a research organisation to being an inviting read for a traveller at a railway station Wheeler.

Tough, but I’m with him

“Aap to artist ho…” my friend often says to me, in a tone tone, which borders on complement and sarcasm. An amateur photographer himself, he listens to classical music and recites poetry at will. Traits of an artist, or a  connoisseur of the arts perhaps. But the friend will vehemently deny all this, he is but a labourer, a clerk, a reporter. Nevertheless, he has always had a keen sense for the aesthetic, coupled with a strong opinion of what he likes and dislikes. Especially when it comes to how a magazine should be designed.
And which is better, Serif, or San-serif, fonts.

This being a point of debate between us. Our magazine is a good mix of the two. The body copy being in a Serif font, and headlines, highlights mostly in Sans. When I joined I found the font usage to be a bit arbitrary. I rationalized it, tried to give it a logic, without deviating from the master design.

My friend loves Serif. His foreign sojourn has, as mentioned earlier, strengthened his beliefs. Serif’s are easier to read, and they “exude a class and elegance…they don’t shout, because we don’t need to…” said the Newsweek head of design to my friend.

“Why do we use Sans-serif for our headlines? Why do we always shout?”

I have no particular leaning towards either type, a mere understanding that each has its place, an opinion not based on any theory, text books or experience but a feeling.  We use San-serif because that’s how our magazine has been designed for the last 10 years, and if we want to change it, sure lets talk. Lets find a better reason, than because he likes its better.

I have a problem when someone pushes for a fiat on font usage, which essentially is dictating design, but a ‘feeling’ is just not enough to argue with the Newsweek head, and his new devotee, my friend. The managing editor.

Come lets have a drink first.

Reclaiming our selves
Life hasn’t been the same since my wife went through a surgery last month. A major invasive procedure, it has left her scheduling life around a large number of pills of various shapes. This massive influx of foreign chemicals will continue for about a year, with added side-effects.

Health is not cheap. Expenses for treatment are high, and often unaffordable unless you are insured, or very rich. We are of the former breed. Unfortunately, being insured is not insurance either.

Last week we learnt that our claims have been rejected, for reasons inexplicable and beyond comprehension.  The news has left us a bit broken. But we’ll manage. It’s going to be difficult, but not impossible. The fight. One, to repay the debts, two, to claim what is ours.

The desire to be independent has made this world a lonelier place. I miss my father.

The head spins, the mouth is dry.  I’m not feeling well. I can feel a hard-on in the butt, and a hole in my gut…Is it the water…

Sen Company

June 24, 2008

Features: Shivani Sen, Photographs: Surya Sen