“Every claim on the public space is a claim on the public imagination. It is a response to the questions: what can we imagine together? Are we in fact a collective?”
– Blurring The Blotches
Blurring The Blotches is a team of three young Delhiites who are passionately trying to bring back the lost zeal and public engagement in Basantlok Community market near Vasant Kunj. Dfordelhi, in conversation with Niharika Arora from the BTB chatted on what this is all about.
Following is an excerpt from our conversation:
DforDelhi: Tell us a little about this initiative.
Blurring The Blotches: We plan to revitalize the Basant Lok market and the profound history attached to it.
PVR’s first cinema Hall, PVR Priya (1978)
The first McDonald’s in India (1996)
The market has lost its vigor in the face of ever increasing mall culture. We are trying to bring back people to their long forgotten community market, a place they belonged to, but lost its meaning in the rut of our ultra modern lives. Our primary intervention was to re-use the purpose of the central fountain facing the PVR that acts as the focal point of the entire market. The staircase type platform round this space has now been transformed into an interactive zone that attracts people to sit and relax in a comfortingly shaded ambience.
Dfordelhi: Why has the initiative been named ‘Blurring the Blotches‘?
Blurring the blotches: Through the term Blotches, we are basically referring to the elements that have consistently contributed to the deteriorating quality of the market.
Due to the high rents of various shops and the advent of mall culture in the nearby areas, many retailers have either moved out or are planning to leave sometime soon. Thereby making it the major reason for people to avert the market. As a result, most of the recreation spots have now been converted into hideous hide-outs promoting illegal activities.
These shortcomings are tangible blotches for this community retreat. We as conscious Delhiites, are dedicating all our efforts in blurring and burying these blotches.
DforDelhi: How did you plan to take it about in the existing scenario?
Blurring The Blotches: All our efforts are in the direction of recovering the lost identity of the Basantlok market. We felt the need to add community driven ideas to engage visitors. The introduction of ‘HALT & READ’ spot; a free open library round the fountain steps, have given a brilliant dimension to the complex. Through our social media handles and generous word of mouth, we were able to collect a sizeable lot of books and resources for the spot. Here, under the shading plaza people can sit back and read these books for as long as they want, all free of charge. Outdoor seating has also been reinvented, given a dash of color and quirkiness. Waste tyres culled from motor workshops have been customized as movable seating.
As a memento to the Basantlok market, we along with local children painted murals around the central plaza. These children were mostly drug addicts who visited the site daily & gradually developed an interest for painting. So, we were more than happy to teach them.
On the last day of our work, the plaza saw a spontaneous flash mob and musical performance by college students that energized the gloomy air around. We further plan to add some more interventions like creation of heritage trails to the adjacent historic Badha Lao Gumbad, informatory murals, recycled vendor shelters and interactive art installation to imbibe a new and ever spirited lease of life.
Dfordelhi: In what way do you think people will respond to your initiative ?
Blurring The Blotches: People will be amazed to see such innovative use of everyday waste material. We wanted them to realise the potential of everything that tends to become susceptible to our ignorance. Moreover, they will be happy to see their very own community market get all the love that it deserves.
The Halt and Read spot will be functioning in full swing from mid November. Meanwhile, do drop the team your suggestions and ideas to help them make their effort all the more enriching.
Team Members: Niharika Arora, Neha Bisht and Ankita Rani. Follow blurring the blotches on Facebook for more updates.