Printed as a book, the 1950 diary of sketches by Mario Miranda captures the mind of a cartoonist in the making
The year 1950 introduced Charlie Brown to the world. Unaware of the waves that his creator, American Charles M Schulz, was making in the world of cartooning, 24-year-old Mario Miranda was rediscovering the charming life of Loutolim, his native village in Goa. The life there was indolent, but it was devoid of a single dull moment. For Miranda and his ever-increasing gang of friends, those months were also carefree and full of fun. And keeping a record of all these activities and happenings around him unwittingly became the best way of preparing himself for a career in cartooning.
Miranda graduated from St Xavier’s College, Mumbai, that year and moved to Goa for sometime. What followed was a life full of fun and frolic. Still, Miranda found time to chronicle his days in Goa through sketches, doodles and paintings in his diary. This is a routine he followed religiously, undeterred by drunken nights, ill-health, cycling escapades, picnics and partying. He diligently drew almost everything that happened around him — from the drama that followed after a servant stole money, to pesky pets, interesting characters in the village and the antics of the new vicar — as entries made on all 365 days of the years show. There are also some watercolour paintings and portraits which show his versatility as an artist.
These works have been compiled in the form of a book, The Life of Mario 1950, published by Architecture Autonomous. Prior to this, they had brought out a similar book of his 1951 drawings. “This is the second of a four-book series of Miranda’s early works. These diaries trace his growth as an artist. They were also instrumental in him bagging a job in 1953,” says Gerard Da Cunha, editor of the book.
Most of these diary entries do not have the finesse that his works showed in the later stage of his career. But one can notice the signs of one of the most talented cartoonists of India in the making. They show his unmatched ability to spot interesting faces and people, observe their quirks and, most importantly, to find humour in very innocuous situations. These traits later made him a formidable social commentator.
One of the pages in the book shows a local priest trying to convince Miranda to show him