Tattad Tattad

It was a crucial day for the CJAM team- we kicked it off with an early wake up call to get as much work in before leaving to our location. We were hard pressed for time as we wrote out our concepts on large white paper, being sure to use more pictures than words as most of our clients can’t read/speak English.

We would be presenting three directions for an awareness campaign for CJAM- a human rights group that focuses on the providing equal constitutional rights to cantonment residents. Our plan was to pitch these ideas and work on a final campaign concept based on feedback and a group brainstorming session at their office. We meant business and had a lot of work ahead of us, so we needed to be efficient, precise and able to communicate well with their group. 

But, as we learned, time constraints can hardly stifle Indian hospitality. So there we were, 5 students and our translator (and CCO of ISAC) Aaron, politely sitting through several Hindi songs performed by our “client,” and then some. Seems the tables turned pretty quickly on us. To make things that much more exciting, we were asked to reciprocate by singing a song ourselves. Everyone in the group refused but as Aaron said to me, there was no getting out of it, so I mustered up some courage and started singing the only song that came to my mind in that moment- Friends in Low Places by Garth Brooks (Read: a twangy country song about drunkenly showing up at you’re ex’s wedding and telling her what’s what). Not quite the subject matter you want to bring to a group of highly respectful Indian women. But somehow we managed to present and get to a space where some great feedback and ideas were flowing from everyone in the room. In the end, the meeting was a huge success.

We got home pumped up and ready for some wild Bollywood dancing, taught to us by Raksha. We saw some really great energy out there tonight with some excellent choreography by Henry “It’s a G Thang” Zhang and Matthew “Strike a Pose” Sabloff. If you want to know what we were dancing to, check out Tattad Tattad here: 

It’s outrageous and yes, your son or daughter knows how to perform (almost) every move.

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Day 1: Let The Aloo Gobi Begin

Dogs, motorcycles, hanging clothes, satellites on shacks next to pristine condo towers 50 stories high… people everywhere, noise, noise, noise and SMELL! This is Mumbai. It’s a bustling metropolis even as we depart the airport en route to home base at 4 in the morning. But Malavli, where we sleep, eat and design over the next 3 weeks, is an absolute paradise. Located on top of a mountain in the Pune district, the elevation blesses us with slightly cooler weather. (Note: this still means 33 and sweat rolling from ungodly places). But the wonderfully lush plant-life, views and surrounding area more than make up for this.


The last few days have served up hot, humid afternoons and deliciously cool mornings and nights. We had Sunday to adjust to the time difference and get to know the area- stopping in the nearby town (Lonavala) for shopping that evening. This is a wild place- their train system (although 45 minutes late) made me feel shameful about my petty TTC complaints. Here you pack cars full of hundreds and, when there’s no room left, leave limbs hanging outside or climb atop the train (why not, right?). When we reached Lonavala, only a stop away from Malavli, we were all reminded that we are not, in fact, one of the locals. We, with our MEC backpacks buckled tightly around us and astonished faces, stood out like soar thumbs. This was probably why our instructor, Sarah, and ISAC staff Farooq brought us straight to two clothing stores. Our group, consisting of 8 ladies and 2 gents, was excited to get down to choosing sari material in one shop and ready-made Indian clothing in the next. We arrived back home late but happy to find a delicious home-made meal on the table, and slept like babies that night.

Town of Malavli

Today we organized ourselves and headed out to orientation in our studio space (a house a few steps away from the one we sleep in). Sarah and ISAC staff member, Aaron, presented our next 3 weeks of the program, and we were introduced to Yusuf Hussain. Father of ISAC founder Safeena, and wildly famous Bollywood actor, Yusuf left us with some great advice to “be what we’re not” and “design our lives.” We left in a daze, slightly star struck, and in hot-pursuit of chocolate ice cream.

You’ll see a few photos here of us grinning as we lick up our melting ice cream, looking forward to sweeter days ahead.  (cheesy, for flavour).


I scream for ice cream. All smiles, ice cream in hand.


Ali Ogston

Advertising Major

On paper I’m a 3rd year OCADU advertising student, off it I’m a travel junkie, an avid reader and lover worshiper of food. My design work focuses on communication, and over the years I’ve discovered that real human insight is what makes for good conversation. My goal is to create work that is honest and raw, igniting human emotions… but also has some utility in a person’s life. If something isn’t useful, we throw it away.
I don’t create work destined for a garbage can.

They say that travel teaches you to see, so my hope is that our adventure to India will give me a better set of eyes- ones that can refocus my ability to create with and for others. I look forward to immersing myself in the vibrant and unique culture of India, and can’t begin to say how excited I am to meet and learn from the people.

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