Mario Miranda passed away today.
We never met. We did not need to.
Mario de Miranda was the subliminal presence in our growing up years. He provided the visual counterpoint to our learning, our schooling, our appreciation of English, of literature, of illustration, of art, of Bombay, of India and beyond. His illustrations in our schoolbooks, his cartoons in our newspapers, his murals on the walls of our restaurants and his art in our galleries remain forever in the back of mind and can be recalled in an augenblick.
When I started writing this blog, one of the first pieces I wrote was on Mario. It remains to this day the single most visited page on my blog, outstripping very other blogpost by several hundred visits. Here is a poem I wrote, inspired by one of his illustrations, way back in the 80s, when I was in college, based on his 'Bar Lady in Germany' . This was the first of many wonderful travel illustrations that he produced, displaying finesse and rigor in his cross-hatching but sublime in his observation of life.
India should remember Mario as our own Norman Rockwell.
We are fortunate that architect Gerard da Cunha has designed a gallery in Goa specifically for Mario's work and has published a comprehensive book of his oeuvre. It is now a time of remembrance and appreciation.