Saturday, August 27, 2011

"Hare Talks"

There were some days in March this year that I often found myself in a wavering mindset - discussing the pros and cons of my decision to take a break in my career and moving with R to Ahmedabad. I would often question myself and then hope that I would not regret my year away from the otherwise mundane worklife . The last five months have been truly worth it and Friday the 26th was yet another day in Ahmedabad that assured me that my decision making skills were in place!

After I moved to Ahmedabad, I spent a lot of time looking for the so called "Perfect job". I had a long wishlist and I was being extremely choosy - that is when I came across Raffles Millennium International Design Institute. I was invited to work as a visiting faculty 2 days a week, 3.5 hours per session & attached to the Fashion Management division. "This should be interesting, I thought."

As I walked into the campus last Wednesday, I was handed over a bright orange invite for the "Hare Talks". The invite read: a unique public networking event for designers, artists and other creatives in Ahmedabad. This instantly triggered an interest in the inquisitve me. "Why Hare Talks?"  - my question was answered beautifully by Gary during the presentation.

The "Hare Talks" this Friday evening was a "one of a kind" presentation conceptualized by Gary McLeod, faculty of Visual Communications at RMI. Gary drew his inspiration from the shy and usually lonely hare and then compared the attributes of the hare to those of a designer. He then beautifully blended in the story of the birth of the city of Ahmedabad. Legend has it that "Sultan Ahmed Shah, while camping on the banks of the River Sabarmati, saw a hare chasing a dog. Impressed by this act of bravery, the Sultan, who had been looking for a place to build his new capital, decided to locate the capital at this forest area on the river bank and christened it Ahmedabad. The incident is popularly described in a one liner saying "Jab kutte pe sassa aaya, tab Badshah ne shaher basaya" (translation: Seeing the hare chasing the dog, the Emperor built the City)." The name "Hare Talks" now made perfect sense. 

The format of the talks was based on the speed of a Super Hare - one who can cover 12 kms in about 5 minutes i.e. 1 km in 25 seconds. The Raffles team invited 10 speakers from various fields of design - Architecture, Product design, graphic design, watch design. The speakers were to talk about their work through presentations that consisted of 12 slides. Each slide was screened for 25 seconds (as tiny hare ran across the screen), therefore in all every speaker had just five minutes to talk. 

Sitting in the audience I could gather that the event would be a hit. A quick succession of speakers followed by a Q&A round kept the audiences enthralled. 

I was particularly impressed by the work of Mr Bhargav Mistry which he called "Passion Design". Mr Mistry's interest in music led him to collaborate with an Italian Musician Mr Corrado Rossi. Together they created an album called Road to India which is an amalgamation of Sarod and Piano. Interestingly, the two musicians have never met, the album was entirely composed and recorded via the Internet

The talks that lasted nearly 2 hours including a 30 minute break for interacting with the speakers left me thinking about the various details in design that I had often missed. As struggling mathematician, I never knew or cared about the existence of the Fibonacci number or the Golden ratio that is found in the creation of nature. Some artists and architects believe the Golden Ratio makes the most pleasing and beautiful shapes and can be seen in the spirals of shells and the facade of the Taj Mahal. 

Within a span of 5 minutes, Mr Sudhir Bania helped me look into product conceptualization. About how a basic form can be played with to create a unique design.

"Hare Talks" is an event that I will look forward to attending during the rest of my stay at Ahmedabad. It truly helped me understand design through the eyes of various artists who think "out of the box". 

The team Raffles' efforts are truly commendable.  

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The T- Nite Festival!

When I quit my 5 year old working life in March 2011, I felt a funny, empty feeling. I was relived and confused at the same time. The feeling died a few days later only to erupt yet again to bother me. This time I realized that I was missing the chaos of the much awaited Talent festival. Suddenly there were no more dance practices, no more posters to be made, no frantic doorbells in the middle of a sleepy afternoon and no tempo shouts of X-PLO-SIVES reverberating in the campus. I remember watching T- Nite videos with R on Youtube in November last year and I cannot believe that T- Nite for us is also an event in the past.

This year the T- Nite was aptly renamed the X- Nite. It was ruled by the talented XPLOSIVES who proved to the fucchas that age didn't matter to us - we are "Young and Restless" -  even though most of us are still nursing our aches. T - Nite witnessed an explosion of talented individuals. All through the 4 nights of incredible fun students, spouses and kids came out and celebrated an event that brought us a lot closer as a batch. It was heartening to see little kids screaming Explosives with the same fervor as their moms and dads. My favorite little boy Ollie had even painted a tiny flag hoisted on a straw for himself. He ran about waving it just like the other uncles around him. 

The various section Newsletters were the highlight of my mornings all through the T - Fest. Instead of the newspaper I would open R's inbox for my dose of morning giggles. The situation was almost war-like with the sections bashing each other with funny, lewd comments and photos all in the spirit of the T-Nite. There were some really funny ones worth saving. 

The T- nite ended with a Class Act which was truly a "Class Act" by the 101 Xpolsives. The students performed "Mile Sur Mera Tumhara" in various languages.The class came together in traditional attire and the act was closed with a grand applause and ovation from the audience.

Still recovering from the T- Nite festivities, I am unable to express the sheer joy witnessed in the 4 dramatic days - I am sure that the many videos on Youtube and photos on facebook will!