I am a city person which is why I guess I feel especially angry when bad things happen to beautiful places like Bangkok and Karachi. It saddens me to see people attack their own space because they are frustrated and it frustrates me that we are helpless to do much about it. When we got to Bkk, I imagined I would see more remnants of the destruction and even though, yes there were parts of the skywalk that were deserted because of that area having been attacked or burnt, the more predominant feeling in the air was that of triumph. Of the victory of the people over the situation. These Love Beautiful BKK posters and billboards were all over the city, I loved the type, the colours, the simplicity of the message; it made you love the city in all its imperfection. It reminded me of Karachi- and made me want to do something similar for Pakistan- plaster it with positive feel good thoughts to let it know- that despite all the bad luck and turmoil, we believe in you being essentially worth it.
Everytime I bring up with fellow designers the need for a positive message like this one, there is undoubtedly one or five who talk about how unnecessary this kind of positive reinforcement is and how much more important it is to SOLVE the issues. I don’t know how to solve illiteracy or how to stop the floods. I don’t know how to solve poverty or ignorance or how to reconfigure the budget so that the right amount is allocated to the deserving sectors. I don’t know how I can fix the issues that we have inherited. I am helpless, I admit. What I do know, however, is that reading a few positive message in the day will help something start the change somewhere in someone’s head and in my very limited, very tiny existence, that is what I can do.
I read somewhere that even if nothing survives, but the spirit does, it is a triumph because essentially to resurrect all we need is the will. Given the kind of week we have had here in Pakistan, I find it so important to hang onto that thought. The plane crash brought to a halting end so many lives filled with possibility and promise, forcing us all to deal with our own mortality and reach out to those we had been neglecting to pay attention to. The floods continue to wreak havoc even as we thrill in the rainy beauty the monsoon brings. With each bad things that happens, a clarity descends, even if for a few minutes of what life is really all about- what life really SHOULD be all about- about people, about beauty about seeing things for what they can be and not only what they are in this moment.
I wanted this to be a reflective post because that is how I feel right now- grateful and humbled and reflective. I try to wallow in the sadness of things around me because that seems to be the need of the hour- but who I am and the weather doesn’t let me; it shows me possibilities of what happens after the bad so I am essentially swept along in looking ahead. Its also just safer happier existence for me right now- as I need to channel all kinds of positivity into me. Perhaps it is selfish or perhaps its the way I should be because only when you truly believe that something is beautiful and worth it, do you ever feel the need to do something to protect it, improve it, empower it.