Watching a kindergartner is an absolute delight. They’re unassuming and unafraid of making mistakes. Most importantly, they can laugh at their own quirks! Somewhere along the way, many of us lose that lighthearted and innocent side of ours. Ask yourself – When was the last time you let your guard down and giggled for nothing like a child? When did you laugh out loud at your failures and idiosyncrasies? For the longest, I struggled with that. To rekindle that child in me and laugh at my stupidities, I commenced work on GuruToons comics. And I noticed that we live in a comical world.

What was I thinking?
Talking of idiocy, let me share a slightly embarrassing backstory of GuruToons comics. It was 2013, and I was zealous about spreading Swami’s message to the world. When Swami asked for volunteers for his poster blog, I accepted it without any second thought. The trouble was — forget about graphic designing, I didn’t even know what software to use! When it was time to get into action, I was clueless, and my hands trembled.

In school, my art abilities were nothing short of a disaster. I got a negative point on a science test for drawing an unrecognizable amoeba. Considering that amoebas are shapeless, in general, that was quite an achievement. So, not so surprisingly, my first poster for Swami was epic. To put it blatantly, it was awful. Even more foolishly, I decided to email that masterpiece to him.

“That doesn’t look like the work of a graphic designer,” Swami responded. He probably grasped that I knew nothing. Perhaps, he was silently chuckling as he wrote that reply. Already frustrated with my folly, those words pierced my heart like a sword. I was furious, with fire fuming out of my ears! To prove him wrong and show that I had my act under control, I rolled up my sleeves and toiled.

Me, A Graphic Designer?
The approval of my first poster boosted my confidence. I watched a ton of tutorial videos and read as many articles as possible about graphic-designing. As an adult, we struggle to learn things that kids barely take a few minutes to absorb. It was awkward and tiresome. I was frustrated beyond reason. Still, to keep my face before Swami and to be a part of spreading his message, I kept myself at it. I spent all my spare time nurturing my skills.

Fast-forwarding to 2016, on behalf of the US devotees, I created a birthday greeting card for Swami. Desiring to give my best, I placed a customized comic character of a Guru on it. In 2017, representing the Californian devotees, I made a birthday comic (as a part of a video) for Swami. In that, two more comic characters, a crazy couple, got added into the mix. With that, this pathetic artist was a hobbyist graphic-designer. Forget about everyone else; even I couldn’t gather that!

GuruToons
A few years later, when I had made many posters, cards, book covers, and whatnot, that entire episode with Swami and the posters felt funny. Who needed the Charlie Chaplins and Jerry Seinfelds when I could see the biggest joker of my life on the mirror each day? That gave me an idea. “Why don’t I make a comic out of myself,” I thought? I reworked on that crazy couple from the birthday card and named them Dud. But then, I had to think differently. So, I added an extra-d at the end, to make it Dudd!

Soon my husband became a part of my Dudd adventure. His support propelled this project forward. When I shared a prototype of our comic with Swami, he loved it. I was worried that he might be offended by the Guru character, but he sent in his choicest blessings. In an email, he wrote, “Wow! These are absolutely beautiful comics! Very nicely done! Awesome! And no, I’m not at all offended. These are cute.”

Successful Cover-up
In 2018, when I met Swami at the Ashram in person, he expressed an interest in sharing these comics on his new website – os(dot)me. Progressing from his chuckling to his awesome meant a lot to me. For me, that was a success. Or maybe, that was the successful cover-up of my stupidity! Well, never mind my cover-up. All’s well that ends well. Isn’t it?

So, that’s my story! What’s yours? If you have a crazy anecdote about yourself, please share it with us. You can find more details at GuruToons.com. If your account gets selected, the Dudds will act out your story. Now, don’t forget to laugh at our Duds, oops Dudds, at GuruToons!

*****

P.S: This post was written by Sri Devi Om.

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