After their catalogue ‘People Called Mumbai’, where tales drawn from the Queen’s necklace to the isolated coasts of the City of Dreams were disclosed, the People Place Project (PPP) team has now brought us stories from Ahmedabad, under their banner ‘People Called Ahmedabad’. PPP recognises the best beings hidden amongst us. Initiated as an academic research project by Nisha Nair Gupta as part of the Design Variable Architecture Studio, PPP is now sharing heroic stories gathered from daily life, across various cities in India.
The book contains 55 humbling stories, revealing the most unique eateries – places that are famous amongst people but are still remotely located – as well as personalities who have taken public welfare as their only purpose for prosperity, designers who have created to make a difference, and various other eccentric tales that have emerged from varied fields of occupation. These stories are authored by 17 people who hail from extremely diverse backgrounds and experiences. Authors, journalists, students, bloggers – all of them have come together to tell a tale of their choice through the ‘People Called Ahmedabad’ project. The anthology contains stories of the almost invisible ‘La Bella’ Aunty, who heartily serves Goan style curries at pocket friendly prices in Mirzapur, the area that faced harsh atrocities during the 2002 riots; of Archana Shah, founder of Bandhej, a popular pret store that has used design to make a difference; and of Anita and Atul Karwal, IAS and IPS officers, who have dedicated themselves to creating value in public welfare space. It’s a collection that is engaging as well as inspiring.
The book is actually a crowdsourced project, with various writers having contributed their creativity to make this dream project a reality. The launch of ‘People Called Ahmedabad’ was inaugurated by none other than famous Gujarati Novelist, journalist, columnist and orator Shree Jay Vasavada. After the inauguration, Vasavada addressed the audience on how the city needs more such heroic figures who are not just helping society by paying their taxes, but are also amongst the braver few who in fact jump into the dirt, get their hands messy and then clean it up for others. These secret opportunity makers hark back to that old heroic spirit associated with the ‘rabbit chasing a dog’ tale that is legendary in Ahmedabad.
The launch was accompanied by a book-reading session, where stories on the famous Sunday Market of Ahmedabad (Ravivari) and barbers of Jamalpur were read by authors. The book launch took place at the Hutheesing Art Gallery in KL Campus during the evening hours and various renowned faces were present to honour this initiative through a lamp lighting ceremony. The book is now available for readers at leading bookstores in Ahmedabad and will soon be available across India too.
What’s further in the pipeline for PPP? Two books on the ‘People of Kochi’ and the ‘People of Shillong’ are on their way.
Photographs: Aneri Nihalani
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