Fearless Rain

Growing up, I was always told to stay away from the rain. You will catch a cold, fever, blah blah, blah … Then finally, on a Saturday afternoon, something happened. I was in my early teens, trying hard to solve a mathematical equation when it started to pour. I looked out of the window, I could see the rain drops but not the sky. Not quite sure what went in my head, I unlocked the door of my apartment and ran straight to the terrace. As I looked up, it was magical. The clouds were marinated with joy. They had no fear. I stood underneath, with open arms, hugging the fearless rain drops.

Years after, when I was recently illustrating this piece for an international language fest foldout, I relived my encounter with the fearless rain (:

getting wet

The flying Zahra!

It isn’t easy to fulfil your dreams when there are prejudices against you. But Zahra Lari was lucky. Her father recognised her talent & fought the odds. Zahra is an ice-skater from UAE. She is aiming for the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, where she may make history not only as the first Emirati athlete to compete at a Winter Olympics but also as the first ice-skater in a hijab. #myfather #voicestobeheard
[source: http://m.thenational.ae/world/americas/hijab-is-a-good-fit-for-the-olympic-games]


Joy Ride

Growing up, so many people might have said, “you can’t do it”…“you aren’t cut out for it”… But those voices aren’t going to define us. We will! That’s the spirit, which keeps many of us, like Roshni Sharma, going. From a tender age, Roshni was consumed by wanderlust. Observing this special trait, her father taught her to ride a motorcycle when she was 16. Ten years later, Roshni became the first Indian female rider who traveled from Kanyakumari to Ladakh in 14 days. So what’s holding you back? Start the journey you always had in mind. You’ll only find a way when you try. Bon voyage!  [Story source: http://www.ichangemycity.com/bangalore/news/she-rode-5000-kms-to-deliver-this-message]




I have a special name for today’s #myfather #illustration … SURBAHAR (SUR means music & BAHAR means spring). That’s the Hindustani classical musical instrument, which the gifted Annapurna Devi learnt to play from her father – Ustad Allauddin Khan. She is fond of pigeons just like her father & this illustration is inspired by that spirit of flight & rhythm. [Story source: https://superaalifragilistic.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/the-tragedy-of-a-relationship/] Share your father’s story at My Father illustrations!

Annapurna Devi

The Yoga of Adventure

Born in Ecuador but traveled around the world, Silvia Mordini prefers to be called a ‘global citizen’. Silvia was very young when she started traveling with her father. These journeys broadened her vision as she discovered her inner peace. Today she is a famous ‪#‎yoga‬ teacher who is spreading ‪#‎happiness‬ everywhere. Connect with her on Twitter with ‪#‎YRUHappy‬‪ #‎myfather‬  Be a part of “My Father illustrations“!
[This ‪#‎illustration‬ is inspired by the following source: http://www.thecultureist.com/…/yoga-inspires-adventure-tak…/]


Senna from Peru

“Poetry is how I turn ugliness into art” – says Senna from Peru. I was moved to know Senna from Girl Rising. She is a fighter. She is a poet. Growing up in a Peruvian mining town was tough. But she didn’t give up. Neither her father, who supported her education no matter what. He knew with education Senna will discover her true self and continue with her passion for poetry. Today’s #myfather #illustration is a salute to this father-daughter duo from Peru. [source: http://girlrising.com/sennas-story/]


Fearless Surfers from Nicaragua

Story  of  fearless surfers from ‪#‎Nicaragua‬ in Central America!!!
Yes. Today’s ‪#‎myfather‬ ‪#‎illustration‬ is inspired by Valentina & Manuel Resano who fearlessly ride on the waves. Valentina was around one-year old when she started ‪#‎surfing‬ with her father. She says: “My Dad is strict but he’s a great teacher”. Enjoy this sprightly father-daughter tale & brighten up your day!
[source: The Inertia http://bit.ly/valentinamanuelresano]

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Woman-of-the-match Harmanpreet Kaur!!!

Harmanpreet scored a 31-ball 46 against Australia in January 2016 that brought home a record victory for India. Growing up in a remote village in Punjab, she says, “We (girls) would often have to play on the corner pitches because the boys got the main pitches”. It is not easy to become a cricketer in India if you’re a woman. Many were against her. But one man who stood tall by her side was her father. He continues to be her lifeline.
[This illustration is inspired by the following article sourced from: http://bit.ly/indianexpresss] #myfather#illustrations #Indian #cricket

cricket image

Art for social change: how fathers can empower daughters

My Father illustrations” was recently featured by Canada’s SEE Change Magazine. It is Canada’s first publication for and about social enterprise and entrepreneurship. Much like other entrepreneurial endeavors, it was created in response to a need – the need to spread the word about an important business movement that has the capacity to change the way we live and engage with our communities. Click here to read the full story!

See Change


Hug the Panda!

Did you know that the Giant Panda remains one of the most endangered bears in the world? Habitat destruction is one of the main reasons why Pandas have become endangered. With growing human population, Pandas’ habitat gets taken over by development, marginalizing this rare species on earth. Good news is that Pandas’ numbers are slowly increasing in the wild. There are now many Panda reserves to protect, monitor, feed and most importantly hug them.

This illustration is part of “Talking Doodles” series by Be the Change Asia.


Anuradha Koirala – showing light

How many of us use our resources to help others? Well, Anuradha Koirala is one of them. She was born in a Gurung family. Her father was a Colonel in Indian Army. Despite all social ills & taboos that girls are not to be sent to school, she was fortunate. Because her father used to say, ” my dowry to you is your education”. Today Anuradha is a Nepalese social activist & founder of Maiti Nepal, a non-profit dedicated to help survivors of sex trafficking. Between 1993-2011 they have rescued & rehabilitated more than 12,000 women & girls. ‪#‎myfather‬ ‪#‎illustrations‬ ‪#‎inspire‬ ‪#‎change‬

Click here to share a moving father-daughter story!



We are equal

“I can make tea and I can fix a bulb. All because of my father. Growing up with him I learnt that my brother and I are equal. He is a man of strong principles with an open mind and a soft heart.”– Sampada Wagde is blessed to have a father like him.
Read Sampada’s letter to her father at http://bit.ly/mfisampada

Click here to share a moving father-daughter story!




Born free

image She was pretty and she knew that. Her big black eyes held an ocean inside. When she smiled, beads of happiness rolled down her soft cheeks and she used to blush like a teenager. People thought she was a puppet but she knew that she was born free…

Sweet Siesta!












It was a lazy afternoon when the sun was hiding behind the layers of the curtain. My eyelids were soaked with thoughts, deep thoughts. That’s when you arrived…my sweet siesta.

story of Saraswati

Saraswati is the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music and art. These illustrations are from the mythological children app that I am currently working on. This story describes how Saraswati was born to bring wisdom and peace on earth.

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my interview with UNFPA’s Too Young to Wed

Debasmita Dasgupta, who goes by Smita, has been drawing all of her life. These days, the 33-year-old, who was born and raised in India, lives in Singapore, where she works as a development communications manager. But art is still a huge part of her life. She’s illustrated several children’s books and recently launched an illustrated series called “mY FaTHer,” where she uses her skills as an artist to tell the stories of fathers who defend the rights of their children –- including those who stand against child marriage. Smita was kind enough to take a break from her busy life and tell us a little about her work: her creative process, what inspires her and ultimately, the impact she hopes her art will have.

Read the full http://tooyoungtowed.org/blog/tag/debasmita-dasgupta/

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Written by Alaha Ahrar: mY FaTHer is an Afghan Man

Talking about ‘equality’, I dedicate this illustration from ‘mY FaTHer illustrated series’ to Alaha Ahrar and her father… www.facebook.com/myfatherIllustrations


My Father is an Afghan Man

Today many Americans celebrate Father’s Day.  As I Think of such an amazing day, I start remembering all the kindness, love and support that my father has given to all of his children during very tough situation in Afghanistan to this day.

I always try to inform as many people as I can about the generosity, courage and magnificence of Afghan men.  Most people all over the world are very good at judging and generalize the issues that many countries face. As a result, many people have negative stereotypes about Afghan men. They believe that all Afghan men cut the nose and ears of their wives and daughters or that they imprison or kill their wives, or that  they do not allow their female family members to go outside their houses or that they do not let women to get an education.

All Afghan Men are not Evil or Cruel!

The only thing that is evil and cruel is the stereotypes that some people believe without having enough knowledge about an issue.  People must understand that due to the continuous decades of war, Afghan men are sensitive and critical of their female family members’ movements. Any wise man in any part of the world would not allow his daughter to go outside the house, while bombs are landing everywhere and some ignorant militants would kidnap or assault his daughter.

I was born and raised during the wars of Afghanistan. My siblings and I grew up during very difficult situation, where there was just war and insecurity. All the educational institutions were closed due to war and instability.  My father, who was a banker struggled to handle all of his responsibilities as a father, husband, brother, son and as the elder of all his relatives.

These struggles proved my father an extraordinary man.  He is very wise, sincere and rational.  My father strongly believes in equal rights of education for men and women. He believes that all men and women of Afghanistan should receive either academic or industrial education.

Due to the ongoing wars of Afghanistan, the situation became very appalling. There were shocking news reports of assaults, acid attacks and kidnappings of women everywhere in warzones areas of Afghanistan.

I grew up in Khair Khana, which was one of the safest areas during all the severe civil wars.

Although Khair Khana was very safe, like all other Afghan men, my father also decided to not allow his daughters to leave the house for a very long time. It was a very tough decision for him but he knew if he let us go outside the house alone anything terrible could happen to us. To protect the reputation of his daughters and himself, he decided to not let us leave the house even for a five minute walk. However, he made our own house an academic institution and environment.   He asked some teachers to come to our own house to teach us mathematics, geometry, physics and English.  My parents’ daily conversation with their children was always about academics and education. The lessons that they taught us were the lessons of peace, care and respect.  My parents are the most amazing parents on earth.  Although they believed that we could not control the political situation of Afghanistan, they knew that we could make our own house a peaceful and loving environment.

My parents stated that we can allow our children to experience peace in our own house so that they can raise their children in a peaceful family environment. Therefore, my parents gave so much love and support to each other and their children. I do not recall a single bad moment between my mother and father. Sometimes they argued but they never argued in front of their children.

My parents always tried to nurture the feelings of love, care and respect in their children. They always told us to live not only for our own selves.  They said, if you want to remain alive, get as much education as you can, afterward with your knowledge and wisdom help and benefit others. Then even after your death your names will shine worldwide. The future generations of this world will read about your works and will try to follow your schools of thoughts, actions and humanitarian services.

On Father’s Day, I want to share some of my father’s advice with you.  I was almost eleven years old, my siblings and I were having dinner that my father told us:  “You all will grow up and will go in different directions and will have unique jobs. It is possible that you become very wealthy; so, remember what I tell you today for a lifetime:  Money never bring happiness and success. You all came bare cloths and bare hands to this world and you will leave this world that way. You won’t be able to carry anything with you. Therefore, never be greedy, mean, jealous and stingy. Even if you have ten houses, you will live in one of them at a time, even if you have thousands of cars, you will drive one of them at a time, even if you have zillions of dollars at different banks of the world, you won’t be able to eat more than five meals a day.”

My father said here is my advice for all of you. Do not be so greedy that you cannot share even a small amount with others or give to charity, whether it is food,  money or other essentials. You need to save some money. Do not be wasteful because if you save nothing for yourself you will not be able to give and help others as well as yourself.

It is important to keep a balance in life. Give and save! This balance will lead to a happier life for everyone.

I am extremely proud of my parents, especially my father. He is a brilliant man, with a very beautiful heart and soul because of his rational decisions, his children grew up the way he wanted them to.  I truly thank God for granting him as my father.

My father is one of the examples of many great Afghan men. There are millions of extraordinary and amazing men, who are the nicest and the best friends to their families. Therefore, I truly wish all amazing fathers all over the world a very happy Father’s Day!

My Father is an Afghan Man

Happy Father’s Day

When I first came to this world, I saw you

I was innocent, unaware and unable to know you

However, your fatherly warmth and love

Urged me to trust, believe and gradually view you

Therefore, I went to sleep peacefully and since then,

Never tried to hurt your feelings to sorrow you

You are an extraordinary father that

Generosity, courage and wisdom, God bestow you

Spiritual mediation and loving creatures’ practices

Have even more distinct and bashaw you

During all the tough situations and struggles

Your beliefs remain firm and nothing could harrow you

Best regards,

Alaha Ahrar

Our first diWaLi together

I know today is not Diwali. But no one can stop me to imagine that Today is Diwali, the festival of lights… When there are lights in your thoughts, dreams, existence…it is Diwali. You do not need a calendar to tell you when to celebrate your life with lights. When you think and feel the lights, you celebrate Diwali…you celebrate your existence…you celebrate life!!!