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The diary goes dear

Smart phones and digital organisers may have rendered the diary obsolete, but a new one encourages you to return to the presumed innocence of youth, courtesy its staged photographs of children, personal notes, reminders and social messages. Its creators also hope that you will be encouraged to 'scratch your head'

Technology is a blessing, but if even the beeping of your microwave is music to your ears, can anything touch your soul the way the late Ghazal singer Jagjit Singh's nostalgia-laced composition, Woh Kagaz Ki Kashti, did?
It's perhaps only fitting therefore that a 'kagaz ki kashti,' actually finds reference in advertising professional Uday Parkar's Multiply Diary, where the central theme is, "The innocence of youth."


Blackboard: This picture marks a space intended for notes and scribbles,
but it's also a sarcastic reference to the paucity of educational institutions
and the dire need to promote literacy.


The black and white picture of a giant paper boat being pulled out to sea by six shirtless boys is particularly close to Parkar's heart. "That was clicked in my hometown of Achra on the Konkan coast."

Politics: Parkar's take on politics is depicted in a series of four digitally enhanced images in which the boy, at first, gladly shares his seat with a 'friendly' dog, but later regrets his generosity when he is slowly pushed off the bench.

Over 100 children were photographed in locations, in and around Maharashtra to put together the dateless diary. "The reason we had children model the concepts was because we wanted to emphasise the need to retain the child in you -- it's a reminder to view the world, and everyone in it with the innocence of a child."
The images use humour to convey issues ranging from equality to ecology.

Put an end to the blame game
Politicians, for instance, would do well to blow up an image in which a boy wearing only his underwear stands against a bare wall, white rooster in hand, with both staring squarely at an egg on the floor. The image is titled, Not Mine.

The 45-year-old and his wife, Urjita, also wish to emphasise on other point through the project -- "the need to scribble and scratch your head."

Drawing our attention to blank doodle pages included in the diary, Parkar talks about how the project was conceptualised.

"It took over a year of scribbling, several recces, and some good, old-fashioned nose-to-the-grindstone  efforts to come up with ideas for the images," he says.

It helped that photographer Mihir Hardikar knew what mood he needed to re-create with each image. "He knew exactly where to position the camera for each shot because I'd drive down to locations and click pictures with a small digital camera and then chalk out my ideas, precisely."

Parkar laments the loss of these old ways, saying, "This downloading culture that's developed is the nemesis of creativity -- young people need to sit down and chalk out their own ideas, rather than borrow something that has been done somewhere."

Instead, he says, one finds hackneyed images and those inspired by photojournalism.

More inside
The diary includes perforated bookmarks, postcards and checklists, so you can keep track of your deadlines like your tax payment schedule and remember occasions such as your mother-in-law's birthday.

You can also check off resolutions to quit smoking, or to take up something creative. There's a separate section that allows you to list mistakes that you made that you never want to repeat again.

Each space is marked with the image of a child versus a donkey. The best part? You get to decide which image is best representative of you.

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