Bangalore-based illustrator/cartoonist Paul Fernandes says his exhibition is a gentle reminder of a vanished paradise

From a pensioner’s paradise where gentlemen in suits riding cycles doff their hats to women with parasols in front of pretty cottages and Colonial lamp-posts, the garden city where the retired man had the luxury of his own garden, to the pub city (with pubs for pensioners, the ‘upper crust’, black-out pub with a free drop home, under world pub and the under age pub), the boom town of real state (complete with parts of old houses up for sale), to the “SillyCon” city, Bangalore (Bungaleuru… Bengaluroo… Bangaluru) has undergone a transformation.

And Paul Fernandes, known for his colourful and detailed illustrations of the city as it was around the 70s, showcases this transformation in a series of black and white-sketches.

The work culminates in a poster, “SillyCon City- The Virtual Reality”, a contrast in many ways to his earlier classic, a poster of M.G.Road as it was then. Paul’s illustrations are currently on display at the Indian Cartoon Gallery in the exhibition ‘Bangalore- Swinging in the 70s’.

The exhibition features both the newer illustrations and his older sketches of old Bangalore, showcasing icons like the Dewar’s bar, the Airlines Hotel, the Victoria Hotel, or the 3 Aces (Cabaret), Everest Talkies or Kohinoor. He also captures the sights and sounds of old Bangalore, of the Bangalore club in 1863, horse carriages on South Parade(‘Traffic on South Parade’), a woman at the Museum Road Post Office in a sidecar, wheelies outside Mount Carmel College or of eggs delivered to the house.

According to Paul, his distinctly humourous cartoons/illustrations are a mixture of styles, of history, documentation and architecture.

“The series on the SillyCon city is a spoof of what happens in the city,” says Paul. “So little has been done preserve the heritage of the city so just looking at this old peaceful slice of life would remind people of the way the city was. The exhibition is a gentle reminder of a paradise that is lost.”

“Even though the old must make way for the new, I wonder if it is possible to give the new buildings some thought.”

‘Bangalore- Swinging in the 70s’ will be on view at the Indian Cartoon Gallery, No.1, Midford House, Midford Garden, off M.G. Road, near Big Kids Kemp, Trinity Circle. For details, contact 9980091428.