February 25th, 2016

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UFO (Under the Fly Over): Silhouettes, Jaaga and BDA, 260116

One of the results of building flyovers to ease traffic in our city is that the spaces underneath them are often a kind of wasteland. In an effort to address this,

Jaaga DNA

the design arm of Jaaga, co-ordinated with

Brihat Bengaluru Mahangara Palike (BBMP)

to create art in the spaces under the Hebbal flyover, whereby the common citizen was both represented and asked to participate. BBMP funded the project as part of a drive to clean up the space before the Karnataka global investors meet. The art project with Jaaga(there was an earlier project at Richmond Circle) was initiated and supported at the behest of JC Sarfraz Khan, by the local councillor. The Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) has taken up completing the painting of all the pillars. Jaaga had been the facilitators for the art component and for involving community in creative ways to contribute to the art project.

"We have so many rules about what citizens and road users should not do on the roads," says Archana Prasad of Jaaga. "We wanted to involve the road users and pedestrians in a positive way, and let them know what they can do to claim public spaces. We've carried out a similar initiative at Richmond Circle; we decided that citizens could be requested to 'do', instead of commanded to 'don't do'."

The event consisted of shining lights on citizens of Bangalore, then outlining the shadows cast on the flyover pillars with masking tape, and painting them in various colors.

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Why silhouettes? "Painting a silhouette of a citizen makes it both particular and an abstraction," explains Kamya Ramachandran, Director, Jaaga DNA. A particular person poses for the silhouette...but after that, the outline represents all or any of us."

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It was a very enjoyable event, though it remains to be seen how the space under the flyover can truly be claimed, when access to it is through heavy, unheeding traffic. The place is also very dusty, and needs a few amenities before citizens can find it usable.

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Tears for a dead puppy

I see a dead puppy.
Crushed, upon the road.
Hit by a speeding car..
Or van, or bus....

I continue to cross the road.
My face does not change
Except that the smile that I usually have
Has been wiped off.
The usual humming on my lips
Is stilled.
Oh, yes, my tears flow..
But not from my eyes.
They drip down into my soul
And heart. I feel
The fleeting nature of life;
The eternal presence of death.
I wonder why the little puppy was born
If it was only to die so soon.

My eyes are as blank and unseeing
As that dead puppy on the road
Whose sight, fixed on Eternity
Drags me too, to the unfathomable
Mystery of what is, and is not.

There are tears..
But only I can feel them.
Tomorrow, the puppy will be gone...
And so, too, my tears of today
As I carry on with life,
Putting off pondering on death
To the next time I see it before me.