Tanya Khanna - Founder Epistle Communications
Today, as I write this, we are on day 21 of Lockdown 1.0 and stepping into Lockdown 2.0 for the next 18 days. As the days have progressed, I have pushed myself to stick to my #workroutine, my older son’s school routine, both the kids’ play times, nap times, and of course, the family chores, while keeping ourselves, the #EpistleTeam, and the people and the community connected to us #safe. I wake up at the same time as earlier (in fact, a tad bit earlier), and I have tried extremely hard to keep things under control, in check, and running smoothly –– all this while sanitizing and washing my hands numerous times a day, leaving my skin drier than it ever was.
Little did we realise what this pandemic was about to bring to our lives a few weeks ago! Despite our hearts being in the right place, we’re still a young-ish business –– I started quite late –– and it’s been tough –– these are, of course, unprecedented times for our generation and even the ones before us. For me, there hasn’t been a single #QuarantineAndChill moment. Each meal being prepared –– cooking surprisingly feels like a chore today, an activity that I otherwise thoroughly enjoy –– comes with a set of guilt, a realisation of the many people in our country who do not have access to food right now. Each ingredient comes with the thought of the mass hoarding that is taking place as a result of the panic and the uncertainty that the pandemic has brought. Each news article being shared by friends and family about how we need to slow down and take it easy comes with a share of clients and their needs, which go beyond working hours in these tough times. Each conversation comes with the insight of how it will impact our lives –– not in the future, but in the subsequent month, each penny being spent with the realization of salaries to be disbursed and payments to be made, and each pitch being made by the studio with the fear that we might be being insensitive.
This stark shift in how we live and consume, of being conscious, having empathy, and keeping it minimal, has hopefully made an impact in more lives than we can imagine. The unglorified moments, the ones that don’t capture the eyes of social media and the ones that make us #grateful for all that we have, are what this pandemic has brought to the forefront. And while I, and many of you, may feel that it’s just a dream each night that would end in the morning, it unfortunately isn’t. But I do see the light at the end of the tunnel. We are all in this together –– and that is what keeps us going. For the people who have and continue to support us: thank you!
At Epistle, we have always prided ourselves in creating and curating content for media –– we really do find joy in the written word. Despite the not-normal circumstances, our #designgoesdigital campaign has found its way into each media house striving to sustain itself, each online publication –– amidst those that still survive as of today –– and every event that has gone into the digital realm. We find ourselves working harder than ever, empowering media with the content that they need to keep audiences engaged and to keep themselves going –– all with a spirit of staying connected, while being distant. Today more than ever, people all over are connected on Zoom, on Instagram Live, or Webinars, engaged in conversation on design, conversation on cities, the environment that we inhabit, sharing all the knowledge that was otherwise restricted to the silos of the physical studios we had created for ourselves. These are days when design has truly gone digital, with publications, events, and all the stakeholders of this very connected community having made a leap to hug digital platforms.
When we started the #21days21stories campaign, the intent was to bring our diverse team together and share the knowledge that we hold as a collective –– ideas that would engage the community that we work with, and reach out to the readers who look forward to our newsletter or check our website and social media channels, looking for clues on how to play this ‘communications game’. While we’ve always worked behind the scenes, this was an opportunity for us to stay connected while being apart as a team and open ourselves up to a world that exists outside of us, one that wants to engage, share, and adapt itself to discourse.
While we have all been putting in our best efforts in personal capacities to help all those in need, this is our way of saying, ‘Hello, this is our two bits on making this world a better place for you –– as a designer, as an architect, or anyone in the design space. While we test the waters and emerge in new roles and additional responsibilities, let the stories never stop. #21days21stories has not ended as a campaign and we are proud to be spearheading #designgoesdigital and creating content that adds value, bringing insights that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. We are here as a creative OPD, to help you sustain and thrive your practices in these trying times, while we learn along the way.
The #EpistleTeam has also found a new meaning and life in the word ‘communication’ itself.
With optimism, hope for a better and safer future, and sheer joy, we look forward to seeing you in person, in better times. Till then, take a breath, go read that book, make that sketch, post that story, watch a Netflix movie –– and if you do get the time, cook without feeling guilty. But please, stay creative, stay connected, and stay safe.