MOEENA HALIM | December 2017
Read online here. This was part of a list of 42 youngsters from the generation born after 1991, similar to a 20 under 20 list.
When Ishaan Jajodia first set up his website, The Mumbai Art Collective (TMAC), in June 2016, it was a bid to create an art repository that did justice to Indian art and heritage. He soon realised that the repository in itself would not provide context to the art.
“I realised that just the images would mean very little to viewers,” says Jajodia.
“It was important to chronicle what was behind the artwork.” That’s when he introduced The Creative Process, an online magazine about art and literature, which he hopes will provide people a gateway to all things artistic.
“Because of the magazine, I had begun writing and editing so much that I decided to utilise my expertise to set up a publishing house. People said writing doesn’t pay; I wanted to show them that it can,” says the enterprising student, explaining the inception of his latest project, BombayKala Books.
All his small ideas come together and converge into one big one, he claims.
Jajodia, studying Art History and Government at Dartmouth College, partnered with Kabeer Khurana and Tanay Punjabi to set up BombayKala this May. Their aim is to “change the way stories are told”.
In the six months since its inception, they have published four books, including Queenie Sukhadia’s A City of Sungazers and Rochelle D’Silva’s book of poems, When Home is an Idea.
Jajodia divides his time between academia and his projects. Along with his partners, he also runs an events space called Gharaunda in Bandra, Mumbai. ‘Walk in Wonderland’ this summer by Kaushik Mukhopadhyay was about surrealism in the city’s architecture.
“You don’t appreciate some things unless they are pointed out to you,” says Jajodia.
That is precisely what he is aiming at through his projects. For instance, BombayKala’s upcoming book on the low level operators, or “forgotten foot soldiers” as author Mamta Sen calls them, will tell the story of the people who sit at shakhas all day long.
Jajodia and his partners pooled in a total of Rs 50,000 to start on BombayKala.
Lucky enough to have office space from Khurana’s father, filmmaker and adman Kireet Khurana, the six-month-old publishing house mainly relies on e-book sales, printing only about 100-500 hard copies.
Selling a total of 600 copies and managing to break even on all the books, they have signed 12 more authors and hope to launch five more books by December this year.
As editor, BombayKala takes up most of his time, but Jajodia has also managed to get grants from his university for two TMAC projects. The grants have allowed him to commission translations of Antigone in Marathi and Hindi as well as work on a book on avant garde art in India.