I teach a seminar course called Design Awareness to the Foundation Year. Its basically a re-viewing of the world as it exists around us but with a design perspective. We talk about how and why a designer’s vision is different, and what purpose it serves in the grander sceheme of the universal mish mash. Recently, all the classes have had this tone of defeat to them- a lot of my students, driven to cynicism and despair by the current state of affairs in the country don’t believe that we, the middle-classers count on any level- not even in being heard. Perhaps they are right, perhaps I am too optimistic for my own good. Perhaps I am right, and they are missing the blind faith factor. Perhaps we both are both right and wrong, and the correct combination of both reality and denial is what will drag us out of this apathy of not knowing what to do.
So we, the alumni, decided to initiate an exercise in positivity and some kind of shift in thinking with the entire Foundation Year. After making them listen to some of the great morale boosting songs ( Hum Zinda Qaum Hain, Khayal Rakhna, Yeh Watan Tumhara Hai, Mera Inaam Pakistan, Laga Reh, Dil Dil Pakistan) with their eyes closed to focus on the lyrics, we divided them into 4 groups. We asked great sports (and even better musicians) like OBA, Yasir Q, Ali A (from ADP) and Maaz M (from Kaavish) to lead each group and gave them an hour to come up with a song complete with lyrics and a message that would help put their voice- of anger, frustration, hope, change- out there. Sometimes, the first step is in putting the words out there. What followed was an hour of brainstorming, lyrics, beats, impromptu renditions and makeshift instruments and a lot of very contagious energy. The performances were brilliant, the ideas amazing- and the atmosphere buzzing.
Perhaps this 2 hour exercise didn’t result in much change; I mean the Taliban didn’t suddenly disappear, nothing really became better in the long run and the issues pretty much stayed put, status quo, but the 100 students who came in mentally weary and tired and dispirited, walked out with a skip in their step, with strong words in the mouths and some fighting spirit in their minds and hearts. And maybe for 2 hours on a hot Saturday morning, even this little bit was enough.
pics by ZH