Like many around her, she took up engineering without much of a choice and went on to do a Master’s in business administration from the UK.
“I, however, wasn’t keen on working 20-hour shifts in an IT type job so I tried my hand at advertising and other things. In retrospect, an arts or marine biology degree might have helped better,” Gitanjali, aka Anju, smiles. Her entry into the world of cartoons and comics was through her blog.
“The shark was a character I first drew in school; I started illustrating some of my blog posts with cartoons based on these animals,” she explains. Back then, her pieces didn’t have much of a conservation angle to them; this came about after one of her shark-inspired comics caught the attention of some conservationists in Taiwan.
“They asked me to do my first conservation cartoon against finning. I didn’t know the seriousness of this issue so began researching –I found out that 100 million sharks are killed every year for their fins,” she cringes.
Some of her works went on to be translated into Mandarin and Spanish. Anju feels her illustrations are the need of the hour because art can spread the
message about conservation. “I try and use humour also, because it can unite people.
How I came about advocating against littering is through a beach clean-up last year. The organisers asked me to collaborate with them for an anti-littering series using sharks of course!” she adds.
“As far as littering goes, we can all start to eradicate this issue in small ways and whenever possible by carrying reusable bags and cutlery, disposing trash into dustbins and so on. It’s a challenge because we’re so used to the conveniences of littering in our surroundings but documentaries like the BBC’s Blue Planet 2 are inspirational pieces that make us picture the planet in peril,” she feels.