Until over a decade ago, there were only two designers that I had heard of. An interior decorator who was hired by mother to make her retail establishment look ever so quaint (confession - she was my first early adolescent crush) and Rohit Bal (it is hard to ignore a self-proclaimed 'ominsexual' who is so visible to the public eye).
I was finally dragged out of my ignorance by a friend in school, who came up to me and said that he wanted to be a designer - not the interior or fashion sort, he claimed, but a designer in the omnipresent sense of the word.
I look around me now and see what he meant then. Everything around me - the bottle of mineral water, the side table in the corner, the wooden lamp that is on it, the visiting cards in my wallet, my cellphone, jackets to my CDs - seem to have been shaped into some kind of aesthetically functional uniqueness. Every brand seems to have a carefully constructed identity.
Design, the way that I understand it, is all about communication. New-age as it might sound, the design of every object seems to be trying to tell me something - I can be an extension to your personality so you better cough up some cash and take me to your living room.
The two designers whom I profiled for the purposes of my articles - Aviral Saxena and Kaustubh Goswami - had a lot to say and more to teach. While Aviral, the perfect prototype of urban 'cool', came across as someone who literally lived and breathed design, Kaustubh on the other hand took great pains in explaining that design is not about how pretty things look, it is about finding solutions.
They are both in their 20s and doing rather well for themselves. Their stories and salaries and especially that of a growing design industry made me wish that I had paid more attention to the physical world around me as I grew up. As my friend had so eloquently put it - it's all around you, you just need to look a bit harder.