From The Editors:
The academic year 2020-2021 was an odd one. We began the year online with the hopes of eventually coming together on campus. But that was not to be. And we ended up with the unlikely honour of being the first batch to attend SCM online. That was disappointing but in that fine American phrase, ‘It happens.’
Recovering from our disappointment, we began to look for our silver lining.
The living presence of other people produces a certain class dynamic. But the online situation threw the doors of our class wide open and let the voices and views of the world come racing through. We heard from the US, the UK and even neighbouring Myanmar as the coup began and continues even as we write this.
We began to adjust to the world as we did not know it as, we believe, did our teachers and instructors. We had to find a way to be self-starters, to keep at it when every instinct was to just roll over and go back to sleep and hope that it would all be gone when we woke up, the virus, the pandemic, the lockdown, all of it. We had to learn to take time off from our screens so that we could come back to our screens to finish assignments within the given deadlines. We had to create bonds out of pixels, working with people whom we had never actually met in real life. All the unrest and shift in the way of life in our surroundings contextualised the world around us better.
While most of our days were spent glued to our screens shuffling between meetings and scrambling to finish assignments while days melted into each other and time felt like a blur; we spent our nights hanging out on google meet. We may have only seen each other on a tiny screen, and yet we ended up with friendships that helped us sail through the storm. Bunking turned into network issues, and chit passing turned into sticker banter on WhatsApp groups but the learning never stopped.
In these challenging times, we cannot talk about this 34th issue of Marginalia without talking about the pandemic. The annual magazine also took a digital route, while we continued to take the legacy forward the pandemic gave us different ways and mediums to express ourselves and our stories.
While living through these unprecedented times, we ended up creating History with the hope to set a tune for the batches to come. It’s not every year you graduate amidst a pandemic! We are the first batch to have experienced the possibilities of showcasing our work in a digital space completely. We bring to you in this issue, stories from all over India!
Marginalia does not come to you from a class in South Mumbai. It comes to you from a variety of locations across India’s map: from Banaras, from Bangalore, from Delhi, from Guwahati, from Indore, from Lucknow, from Mumbai and Pune. Working remotely meant we got an even larger canvas with stories of somebody coming out to their parent, to parents deciding to adopt children and some children making their parents proud by speaking truth to power through hip-hop!
Marginalia ventured to Assam to look at sustainable, affordable education and then went online to talk about the digital divide that online education created. Talking about divides, we also have stories of growing up as a Muslim woman in India and the Conflictorium in Ahmedabad that uses art and space to help you face various uncomfortable truths. Board a Mumbai local in the pandemic, hear unique sounds that becam the new visitors or look at films from new perspectives, but most importantly, listen to what the people from the margins have to say.
While our journey is not yet over, we cannot wait for you to watch, hear, read and experience how we made the most of the unpredictable times.
From our screen to yours!
From The Design Team:
We are a generation that wasn’t exactly born into the digital age but we jumped right in and found ourselves a new and exciting environment. We know what it’s like to live without all these advancements in technology and we are still trying to figure out what it means to live these multiple lives, in the real world and in the virtual, seguing between reality, enhanced reality and pure fantasy. And with the pandemic, we saw what the Internet could do and how it was so easy to be fall through the cracks of the Web. Could you tell the difference between information and propaganda? Can you get your grandmother a vaccination slot? How is your slow connection going to affect your class performance? Am I presenting a solution or am I the problem? All we can say is that we’re working on it, we’re pushing the envelope…or maybe our envelope is being pushed by forces so large that we can only deal with them one byte at a time.
When it was decided that the magazine was going digital this year, we were so excited! We would be bringing all these incredible stories to life using our mind’s eye! It was exhilarating, considering, most of us imagine our world in visuals more than in words. What was to follow were innumerable lessons in understanding design communication, website building and of course teamwork while being in different locations.
When we came together, ideas just flowed. We were so in sync with each other that making design decisions didn't take much time. In the end, it all came together; the layouts, the pages, the colours, the voices and the stills. The biggest challenge while deciding all of this was to ensure that our website was designed to be simple to navigate through all the variety of work done by our classmates.
We’ve worked together and tried to make sure that every detail is in place so that you, our reader, can have the best experience possible! We’ve had a wonderful time illustrating and visualising every article in this edition. We hope you have something to take away from this too!
Simran N Chandnani