Designer Sanchit Sawaria has always been a huge admirer of Mirza Ghalib’s work. So he thought it would be interesting to theme his auto-rickshaw around him. One which illustrates the intricacy of his poetry and his life in the capital.
His design has a beautiful title - ‘Bazeecha-e-atfal’ (meaning ‘playground for kids’) which is one of Ghalib’s most critically acclaimed works. Most of Ghalib’s poetry illustrates suffering but is rendered in a beautiful way, almost trying to embrace it as a vital experience in life. The artwork is nothing but a floral landscape formed by drops of blood, ink and tears, depicting Ghalib’s journey in his own unique way.
To shed some light on the background, Ghalib was born in Agra and though he worked in Lahore and Jaipur as well, it was in Delhi that he was given the title of ‘Mirza’ by the emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar. He was one of the most quoted poets of all time and a resident of Ballimaran, Old Delhi.
While the experience was enriching, Sanchit did have to face a few challenges while designing his rickshaw. “Since it was Ghalib, the obvious choice would have been to cover the fabric with his poetry. But to some people the Urdu script is sacred and that they may not like to see it on upholstery,” says Sanchit. Therefore he had to take an alternate approach to keep the text minimal and not offend anyone.
He believes Indians culturally adapt through their organic lifestyles. “A juice seller in summer becomes the chai-wallah come winter. We have trouble following strict rules, we’re never completely rational, we live amidst chaos, think in circles, even our scripts require going both forwards and backwards, but we still get by. And I am nothing but a part of this very living breathing organism,” says Sanchit
He thinks that he was fortunate enough to get the right education and exposure required to become a worthwhile designer. After his education at NID Ahmedabad, he did his graduation project with the Indian Type Foundry and then went on to work for Itu Chaudhuri Design and Codesign before starting his own practice, Struckby.
“I feel that challenges are an everyday affair and welcome them in whatever form or magnitude. I acknowledge that Design in India is largely viewed as capitalist and less as a problem solving tool,” he says.
He believes that Failure is real and more of an opportunity than a setback. So he urges all young and budding designers to embrace Failure with all they’ve got.
About Taxi Fabric, he says that it is ‘Ink of Wheels’ - “It captures local stories beautifully and is a truly award-winning initiative. I would love to see it go overseas as well.”
Photographs by Archisman Misra & Raghuvir Khare