It was more than three years ago, at one of our regular chai & kadi meetups, that Murali Govindan, one of our dearest friends, narrated 405, a story he had co-written with Krithika Manohar.
Early one morning, an unnamed man arrives in Bangalore and wanders about the city, enjoying the simple pleasures of a daily routine that we so often take for granted...
To tell any more would be a crime... but needless to say, we were riveted through Murali's narration, and when the climax came, it hit us with a soft, sledgehammer blow. We were crushed... it was the most affecting story that we had heard in a long while.
At the time, Murali and Krithika were working at a leading ad production house in Bangalore, and they wanted to make 405 into a short film.
The universe, however, had other plans. Despite numerous attempts, the logistics of shooting 405 turned out to be increasingly complex and insurmountable... and it had to be abandoned.
Refusing to be discouraged, they returned to the core idea that sparked 405, and explored in a completely new direction. That journey gave them a story that is so different from the original, and went on to become their debut short - The Visitor.
But we simply couldn't get 405 out of our minds.
Neither the passage of time, nor its 'reincarnation' as The Visitor dulled our love for the original story. Whenever we returned to it, a familiar ache resurfaced, a quiet sigh floated up from a forgotten corner of our hearts.
405 had to be told, so we asked Murali and he was thrilled to bring it out as a comic book.
Armed with the rewritten-as-a-comic script, we reached out to Vishnu M. Nair aka Xishnu, who confided that he was just as affected by the story, and we knew that we were in the right company.
Vishnu worked on 405 for many long months, stealing time whenever he could from his course work and assignments. He gave a face to the man with no name, composed sounds into the streets of Bangalore and pumped blood into the story's beating heart.
Slowly, lovingly, Vishnu illustrated 405 to life.
We had initially planned for 405 to be a part of Mixtape 3.
But as Vishnu's pages started coming in, we knew we had something special in our hands... and wanted to keep it that way. 405 thus becomes the second book from First Cuts, our creator-driven imprint for debut stand-alone comics by a creator(s).
We always knew that 405 would make a lovely sequential story, though it has taken more than three years for it to come out into the world.
As a friend once told us, the universe is wiser. 'Cos if things had gone according to plan, this comic would never have existed... and we are eternally grateful that it does.