Teachers' Day

Saturday, 5th September, 2020 was Teachers' Day in India and it brought up a fond memory and lifelong learning for Ajay from his time at college.

He writes, "When I was studying at the National Institute of Design (NID), Mr. Jayanti Naik taught us ceramic design. Aside from having a lot of experience, he had the virtue of patience. He was a storyteller and each session would combine practical working with a local story that had humour and wisdom. 

I used to ride a Yahama RD 350 then, a motorcycle that I spent a fair amount of my leisure time on. Drawing a comparison between the two, he once explained to me, that the intuitiveness and responsiveness that comes with riding a motorcycle can be likened to the experience of making ceramic objects. Be it the minute steering inputs, accelerating in synchronization with your feet changing gear, or how your body subtly moves from one side to another to maintain your center of gravity when cornering.

Design as he explained should gradually become like riding, where all coordination between mind and body becomes seamless. The mechanics disappear and what emerges is a smooth natural extension of one's actions and responses to what is in front of them.

This has stayed with me and I find myself happiest when I slip into a zone where I am no longer calculating the output but simply enjoying the process. Very often I don't have a way to explain how I got to a concept or a form and I've learnt that this is okay.

Years later I read about a design process followed by Naoto Fukasawa for the Muji brand, 'Without Thought'. His philosophy for designing products is to be in a state of being, without thought. To become unconscious of our movements and surroundings. I thank my teacher for this gem of wisdom that continues to guide me when I am designing."

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