Published: 01st November 2017
What happens when the Almighty feels the blues? Apoorva Lanka tells us through her comic book, God is Sick
Even God has those days when he is feeling down, at least in Lanka's book he does. Read on to find out what he does to beat the blues
Nestled among the snow-clad mountains of Old Manali is Rocky's Guest Home. And it’s in one of its rooms that Apoorva Lanka began the story of God is Sick, her debut comic book. But technically, the story began long before as she has been fighting bouts of depression for some time now. Yet, it was only last year in April when she decided to write it off, quite literally. "I began by writing poetry, but realised it was getting way more depressing than I intended," says the 24-year-old graphic designer, who is currently on hiatus.
Hidden talent: While she studied Fashion at Polimoda, Italy, it was a professor who told her that she had a knack for graphic designing
Apoorva toyed with the idea of painting, but resorted to humour instead, at the centre of which lies the all-knowing and benevolent God. "God is the one person who we believe is sorted. But what if He is depressed? Maybe then people will start understanding what depression really is and how it can affect anyone," the Warangal-born artist says, explaining her stream of consciousness, while coming up with the plot of the book. Thus was born God is Sick, a comic book that jovially talks about God being sick and the resulting consequence, while delivering a deeper message — depression can affect anyone.
God is Sick has been my working title since day one. Though I was thinking of other titles, nothing quite fit like this did
But we have to ask, what's with the title? Isn’t it a tad too… umm… controversial? I mean, given how sensitive a topic like ‘God’ is. She laughs and agrees about how there is a certain need to be politically right. This is where she adds that the book has expletives too, spelt out, no asterisks (which we guessed from the cover). This is clearly not for children. "I knew that I might draw a lot of hate, but then, I have dealt with hate all my life, so I really don't care," says Apoorva, unabashedly.
Apart from talking about depression, the book also deals with homophobia and other themes
But does she believe in God? "I don't know if I do, I’m still getting there," she says, and we have to appreciate her honesty. What she does know is that she had the time of her life working on the book, so much so that she feels like she did not need to work too hard. But make no mistake, she brainstormed and consulted with friends every step of the eight-month-long journey to keep it close to reality.
Exciting preview: One of the pages from Lanka's comic book
Talking about God's character in the book, Lanka says, "In the book, God realises he is sad, then denies it and is torn between talking and not talking about it." Basically, going through the same phases that every depressed person goes through. "Exactly! I did not want to give any false hope that everything will be okay, I just wanted to say, ‘Hold on, it gets better’," she says. And for those wondering how to talk to someone who is depressed, don't! Don't pressure them to talk, she means, "Give them time.”