Pecha Kucha Night Pune – Vol 1.
Couple of hours to go before the first Pecha Kucha Night in Pune, and all of us at Sarvasva Designs were going crazy over looping all presentations and checking, rechecking the same. Mukund, my co-Director at Sarvasva was at the venue with Manasi and setting up the screen, checking the sound system and getting the venue ready.
I for one, had not been nervous till the D-day had dawned. We had everything in control, or so I thought, completely focusing only on the presentations, while my team ran around working on the rest of the event details. Of course, later on, my excitement and nervousness combined became a potential time bomb ready to explode.
We had a surprise guest that day, an experienced Pecha Kucha Nighter… all the way from UK – and who had his presentation ready to showcase again. So we thought, why not?! Let’s begin with his presentation as a prelude to the actual Pune PKN. Which is why, Supriya from our office, was on her way to pick up the presentation. All of this, just few hours before 20:20pm, the scheduled time.
When we reached the venue, we were actually pleasantly surprised that people were on time. In India, we joke about the IST (Indian Standard Time), which can differ from a mere 5 minutes to couple of hours from the actual scheduled time. In this case, things were on time. So began our first PKN in Pune.
Our basic round of introduction was short and sweet because Mark and Astrid and the Tokyo team had created a wonderful video on PKN that made my job easier. And what was lovely was the personalized touch. It had “Hello Pune!” all over it, making us very welcomed, and very much part of the large family PKN is.
The prelude of course began with our surprise guest of the evening- Sunand Prasad. A well-known architect and founder of Penoyre & Prasad, UK; Sunand is also the ex-President of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and we were glad to have him present because it set precedence for the next 11 presenters, of how to actually speak in 6m.40seconds. His presentation was that of an ingenious concept he had thought of – the recreating and setting up of the now non-existent, but still famous Crystal Palace.
We then officially declared the first volume of Pecha Kucha Night –Pune as begun.
Taking the cue from Sunand, next spoke Shrikant Nivasarkar- one of the most influential architect and designer from India, and also the first Indian to become the President of the IFI (International Federation of Interior Architect / Designers). He talked about the process of creating an ergonomic and eco-friendly chair through his topic, ‘The Story of a Chair’. His in-depth knowledge and also passion for furniture design came across through his brilliant work.
Our third presenter for the evening, and arguably one of the most atypical kinds of personalities we had that evening was Pankaj Sapkal. An industrial designer by profession, Pankaj has great know-how of many things under the sun…one of which he shared with us. His topic being ‘Diet & Creativity’, which had the audience hooked on, amused as well as curious.
Falguni Gokhale, our next presenter, is a well-known graphic designer. But she is an equally good or better painter. And her presentation took us through her journey as a painter, amidst various colours, textures, styles of painting…one better than the other. She didn’t speak, she didn’t have to- her paintings spoke more than enough.
Completely different in nature of topic was that of our next presenter. Suhas Deo, an architect, left the audience spell bound through his presentation on ‘Orchids’. One would never have thought that there could be such a large variety, and growing right here in India. And Suhas’ love for the plant shone through, allowing us all to be absorbed in that magic.
Our first poetry session began with Nidheesh Tyagi, editor of a well-known local newspaper. His timing was accurate- just three seconds before the allotted time limit, Nidheesh finished the last of his poems- which he had dedicated to his daughter.
Another senior journalist, and senior editor of a renowned newspaper, Sunanda Mehta took us along with her on her journey to ‘Greenland’. It was wonderful seeing the beautiful icescapes, the small little witty notes that Sunanda had posted about her trip, and the overall beauty of a country very different from our own.
BEEEEEEEEEEEER BREAK! Which was opposed by many- but we told them that we had to break- we must follow rules! 😉 So we had a short ten minute break to allow people to relieve their legs and whatever else, meet up and interact and also check out the venue and drinks (which incidentally was not beer).
But as quickly as they had dispersed, the audience was back on their seats to take some more of Pecha Kucha. Which started off with an interesting presentation on ‘Chinese Gardens’ by Varsha Gavandi, a landscape designer. Details of materials, planning, water bodies and more were introduced during this talk.
The next presentation was a splash of colour, text styles and great Indian music. Sanjeev Joshi, architect and artist, showed his calligraphy and water colour paintings, on the soundtrack of Vande Mataram by A.R.Rahman. It had the crowd going oohing and aahing and asking Sanjeev to take workshops.
Priya Sarukkai Chabria is a poet and novelist, and also was our ninth presenter of the Pune PKN (not including Sunand). She recited few of her poems before putting on a soundtrack of a beautiful poem called ‘Spirit of Water’, which had music playing in the background of the poetry recitation. There was a complete hush in the venue as this track was played, creating a very ethereal and uplifting feeling to the evening.
Our host of the evening was Christopher Charles Benninger, a renowned and extremely respected architect in India. It was his office courtyard that was turned to become the venue of our PKN. We had actually gone to invite him to be one of the presenters, and a talk on venues, or lack of them, with Ram, the Managing Director at CCBA- Christopher’s firm, got us this beautiful space as the very befitting venue for the first PKN in Pune.
Christopher was the next presenter, after Priya. And he showed a very crisp film on building a ‘green’ and sustainable architecture, city and life.
Our last presenter or rather presenters, as there were two of them, were young Kathak exponents- Kaveri Agashe and Sheetal Kolwalkar. Kaveri spoke about the nuances of the dance and then they both gave a brilliant performance, marking the end of the night with a big bang.
When I thanked the audience for coming and bid them goodnight, I could sense the imperceptible disappointment of the crowd because the night was over. But overriding that was the buzz of anticipation for the next PKN, as well as the joy of experiencing the first here in Pune as well as the variety of topics.
And finally, that was all we wanted… for everybody to enjoy this first PKN and support us for all the next ones to come- which was evident through the comments left by the guests… Yeh Dil Maange More! (This heart wants more… ;))