8.Research to kiya, ab aage kya? (chat with Vinod, Sanjeev and Poshika)

 I spent a week meeting people and some more days reading the various articles written on it. And talked about it on campus to whoever cared to listen. here is a very very rough pooling together of info i collected-

 

I was feeling quite overwhelmed with all the information I was getting all at once. And I had many questions.

When we are working on something, the issue suddenly seems very important. It seems as if some time bomb is ticking but people (i.e our target audience) are oblivious to it. There is an urge to shake them up, scream at their faces and make them listen.

But how do we communicate? Do we force information down their throats. It is an emergency, guys, we need to act. Or do we package it nicely, in a form they are willing to hear. Would that be diluting the message or slowing down the speed at which it will reach them ? Or is it a smart way of attacking an unsuspecting reader without frightening him away? I don’t know.

Also, I had begun to realize, that the problem with mithi is not just pollution or lack of awareness. There are so many issues and every damn thing is so interconnected.  The state of Mithi was also an outcome of an ugly mix of greed and politics.

Now how do I even imagine making a difference here, when activists who have been working for decades are still struggling to be heard?. Graphic designers are so naïve, we want to save the world with a poster. I was beginning to feel all hopeless. Not knowing how to move ahead, I thought lets talk to some more people. 

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Vinod Sreedhar

An extract from a chat with my friend Vinod, about the comment that one cannot expect much action from city people (about which I wrote in my last post) .

He said, “that is true to an extent but that doesn’t mean we lose hope completely. apna  (urban people) livelihood is as dependant on nature, just that we are unable to see the connections directly. That does not exempt us from the effects of all the changes happening in nature. When the source is very distant from us, it is difficult to see the connections. If we can help people see better, they will themselves stop harming nature.”

On his blog he says,

The real problem is the way we look at and understand environment. Environment is NOT just another problem that we need to deal with eventually. All this while, we have been treating it as one of the many issues that need our attention. We tell ourselves that we need to work on issues like poverty, unemployment, religious conflict and while we’re at it, maybe the pollution of the environment as well. The reality is something else however.

Environment is not just another issue; it IS the whole context. It is the setting within which we face all issues like unemployment, poverty, resource scarcity. If it were not for the balanced living conditions that our environment has consistently provided us for thousands of years, we would be unable to do any of what we are doing today. Our culture, technological progress, development, the arts… these are merely the icing on the cake, not the cake itself. Nature (our cake) is what allows us to enjoy the icing on it… things like music, art, world cuisines, movies, etc.

(going a little off topic here, but he is a really interesting person. Check him out here and here)

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Sanjeev Bothra

Sanjeev talked to me and my friend Gargee about how graphic design can contribute.

Sanjeev said that if we want to fight someone higher in hierarchy, they will definitely have more power. we cannot expect to fight them using weapons or money, they obviously have more than us. At such times, graphic design can be a tool to harness people power. Whether it will work or no, no one knows, but we can always try.  He gave an example of the Tahrir Square revolution  of how some list compiled by some guy sitting in some other country was largely distributed amongst the people. That handout was a tool and a powerful one at that.

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Poshika Singh

Like I mentioned in my project proposal, Poshika had questioned my use of the words ‘to shake people out of their apathy.’ Whenever I use such heavy words in my excitement, Poshika reminds me to get realistic.

This time after reading about inefficient government measures and corruption , I got a little too excited. People are talking about the illegal slums in the Mithi area, but Mumbai Metropolitan Region Developement  Authority’s (MMRDA) head office itself is on where Mithi was supposed to flow. Slums khali karvaenge, par badi buildings thodi tudvaenge!  What about the airport, what about Bandra Kurla Complex? I was like, kya nonsense hain yeh, how many people know about it. Mereko yeh EXPOSE karna hain!

Expose again, as Poshika pointed out, is an ambitious word. Also inaccurate. Because all this information is not really concealed. People have written about it. Only we have chosen to be blind to it.

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These discussions gave me certain clarity in how to move ahead. I cannot be sarcastic or bitter.  It might just push my audience away. I need to understand why they are how they are and what is their side of the story.

So my task is to first ‘understand my Target Audience.’ i.e Study Mumbaikars.

Identify and bring out connections between our lives and the river mithi.

And then my objective should be to make people see the connections, talking to them in a language they understand, and a medium they are receptive of.

 

 

 

 

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