Thousands of people earn their livelihood in the City by providing a play experience to young children at their doorsteps. These 'playground-pushers' identify themselves as the 'Jhoolewale'.* ('Jhoola'= Play Equipment; 'Wala'=Person). This documentary was an attempt to imagine a sustainable space for Jhoolewalas in the city.
While many of the Jhoolas can be seen in local fairs where they can be appreciated for their fantastic vernacular & folk style, art and design, their true uniqueness comes from the fact that they reverse the traditional relationship between a child and the play facility. These are indeed 'play-grounds' that are wheeled out right to the doorsteps of childrens' homes so that grand acts of play can then be enacted with the Jhoola as the facilitating artefact.
However, like most other fascinations of Indian material culture (past), the Jhoola is steadily being consumed by the City and its aggressive forces. This documentary examines what designers and design thinking can bring to a situation like this one. Drawing on ideas of participatory design, the design process for this project involved working with children, jhoolewalas, parents and teachers.
Created as part of a fellowship that was granted to Quicksand by Sarai-CSDS, this film has also been used as a part of course material at the Srishti School of Art and Design, Bangalore and National Institute of Fashion Technology, Delhi.