Avantika University has always been great at hand-picking the best people in the industry and having them interact with the students. This time too, there was an air of excitement, fun and the students were raring to meet the new guest. This time it was a visual artist who had been awarded 25 under 25 for her creative work in videography and digital animation. An alumnus of NIFT, this wonderful guest was known as the “Giggling Monkey” which had a pretty funny back-story by the way. This time it was Mehek Malhotra.
The first impression of our guest was that of bewilderment. Someone who has her own design studio and has worked for a wide variety of audience was certainly awe-inspiring. Plus her work as a visual designer had us stumped. With bright colours and a poppy background, this was already turning out to be a funky event.
She’s the CEO of her own design studio known as the ‘Giggling Monkey’ in Mumbai and was present at Avantika for SparkTalks. Believe me; this SparkTalks session actually sparked the students into doing something 'hatke'. The guest was a pretty jolly, happy-go-lucky person who had a burning passion for doing her work the fun way. The session started off with a cool video she had created as a project. With all the bling-bling and trippy animations, the students were dazzled in no time. Since she was nearly our age, everyone in the room had connected with her at a similar wavelength. Her ideology and methods of tackling problems was totally different than the mainstream designers. Head into a problem and then find a solution. Weird, but it works and then the fun began. Mehek started showing us the projects she’d done and believe me they were pretty interesting. She portrayed the 'Honest versions' of many products in a pretty humorous manner like ‘2 minute noodles’ to ‘2 minute motap’ and ‘Fair and lovely’ to ‘Fear and Lovely’, her ideas were pretty humorous and dank. After that, a brief interaction took place where the students asked their doubts and questions to her. Though it was just an hour long session, time flew by real quick. Then she made an even bigger announcement saying that we were going to have a sketching session at night in the 'Giggling Monkey' style.
It was 11:30 p.m. and a lot of students were waiting on the first floor of our Student Union Complex for the sketching session to begin. Mehek joined us and explained that this activity was going to be a little different than the regular sketching we did. She told us to take out our papers and colours and draw something. She said, “Sketch it out and paint your imagination”. Everyone got excited and let out their artists. After 2 minutes she told us to stop. Now, we had to pass our sheet to the next person and this person could sketch anything he/she liked with his/her name on it and the activity continued until we got our sheets back. After the circulation of the sheets around the circle, we got to see what all things were integrated in the original sketch and it blew everyone’s minds. From fishes to tripods and cars to birds, the sheets of paper looked diverse. And that was the main motive of the night session, to help people understand how to work and appreciate others contribution. This activity ended at 1 a.m. and time flew by literally and figuratively.
It actually hurt everyone to see her go back the next morning. But the memories we created that day would always be fresh and everlasting.