Sunday, 26 February 2012


- Nicolai Nazareth

During the Galatin course, we brushed upon and delved into several concepts and terms, some new and some not so much. Glocal, globalization, cultural heritage and identity, local and sustainability are just a few. The Jugaad beyond jargon course was a smooth transition  since sustainability was a key point stressed upon on several occasions during the galatin course. My mind was set in a particular mold which facilitated easier understanding of this new one.

The term Jugaad was new to me, though I was familiar with the concept. The extent and feasibility with which Aravind Gupta executed it was simply inspirational. Its beauty lies in its simplicity, and I would love to actually have a chance to work with him.

Thus having a previous learning of sustainability and then being duly inspired I was ready to work. looking back, however, I feel I started off with my head in the clouds. I was dreaming of big change and I was expecting it fast. I was put in place in time, during extensive research, where I found out how radical change was not really a sustainable solution. Modification of systems and slow implementation was a more practical approach, specially since it involved changing the behavioural patterns of people. I had to work around the people and not make them work around me.

The most concrete learning experience I had was learning about different human mentalities (mainly those involved in the process of designing for a specific client) and how to constantly keep them in mind. It was a pillar that would keep any project proposal standing. It involved understanding how I had to make the changes personally profitable (not necessarily on monetary terms, even though one of the ideas my group presented did provide an economic benefit). No one was going to use anything I had to suggest unless it made them feel good about themselves. Guilt trips about saving the environment would only go so far.

Even though I regret not being able to execute my ideas, and I was stuck at the proposal level, I feel I learnt a lot that would be involved at the corporate level. The work we did was detailed and extensive. It provided a fresh outlook on what to expect, and it was a big learning. It was a big jump from doing college projects to meet the expectations of what is entailed in the real world. I thoroughly appreciated it even if didn't enjoy doing it as much. It was an experiential learning that I felt I really needed to go through.

The icing on the cake was the feedback we received when we presented our ideas to our peers. The affirmation to its implementation still makes me believe that the idea has potential to bringing about change, however small it may be. As I have always believed, the way to change the world is with one small change at a time.

Sunday, 12 February 2012


At the end of four intense weeks of looking beyond jargon, I realize now that I have come full circle. I am a little more informed and a little more conscious, but the levels of requirement for these have also increased two-fold.

At the beginning of this class, I was fascinated by jugaad. Now, not only does it fascinate me, it also gives me a real complex about my thinking process, given that I have a tough time taking things apart and putting it back together differently.

I would like to exemplify what the last four weeks looked like with a viral-on-Facebook approach.

     Expectation: Food. How hard can that be? We should break down transportation too, so we can ride the bus to school.

     Reality: No matter how much you try, everything has it's own problems and loopholes.

Another thing I realized is that I don't have any real idea how to even approach a problem. After a lot of trial and error, I think we finally managed to get most of the steps done, even if not chronologically.

Thunk in India represented by Suren, was a refreshing perspective on sustainability, where it was based less on preaching to people to cut down on their consumption and was a more realistic approach with how their waste could be reused. On some level, we tried to accommodate that in our approach to our food crisis.

In a lot of ways, our project was something were we got the ball rolling and it took on a life of its own. The Jhoota Hi Sahi campaign was supposed to be for awareness and slightly for intervention, but we managed to create a new, slightly more efficient model out of it. It also pushed people to be more conscious, to the point where I was sought out at dinner so I could see how someone had (almost) licked his plate clean.

Aayushi and I roamed around the cafeteria, feeling a little like monitors to that space, and many people were not as laid back as they would have been if we weren't taking rounds, but all in all, it made people think about their food, and that's really all we could ask for.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Reflections? Learnings? More like Change in Mindset

I didn’t even realize how much I’d grown out-of-touch with my passion for sustainability till this course happened. I’ve always tried to be environment-conscious, probably because of the values I picked up in my School, where being an environment-aiding, self-sustaining community was given a huge importance. But for whatever reasons, I’d stopped being that conscious of my actions and their consequences. Until a week back that is!

That, I feel is the biggest learning I can take from this, or any course, because that realization of the loss of my consciousness and my subsequent attempt at amending the same is something that shall stay with me for life. Not that that means I’m doing big, huge things, but the little, little actions that may just be a drop in the ocean but are also the building blocks of the same ocean.

Last week when I bought groceries, I realised that I had no immediate use for the cardboard boxes, which is why I’d throw them away, rendering them utterly useless and adding to the waste. Then, when I needed them for projects, I’d end up buying fresh cardboard. So, this time I decided to hoard those boxes and hopefully, will be able to put them to use before I run out of room space! I’ve stopped overcharging my laptop and make it a point to switch off all plug points when I leave class, if I’m the last one to leave. Also, I got my mother interested in getting a bio-conversion chamber constructed at home and switching to the eco-friendlier “soap nuts” from detergent. If nothing else, I have convinced her to at least start by not dumping organic waste, but rather decomposing it, even if the manure is not used.

On a different but related note, I was extremely inspired by the products of “Thunk in India” both as a designer and as a customer because of the amazing balance of aesthetics and sustainability in their products. I remember having seen products made of tetra packs etc. before and lamenting that no one would buy them because they were just too darn ugly for people to actually be comfortable using them. At that point, I’d felt really bad about the fact that despite the designer’s intentions being honorable, the products wouldn’t do well, at which point I lost hope for sustainability at some level. I think “Thunk in India” managed to resurrect that hope of mine and how!