Next time you eat out in Mumbai, learn about politics too

  • Pankti Mehta, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Mar 30, 2014 15:29 IST

Since Saturday, select restaurants across the city have been serving basic information about political parties and candidates, hidden in puzzles, mazes and word scrambles on special tablemats.

Designed by city-based animation studio Mynah, in partnership with Know Your Vote, an organisation that works to promote political awareness among the youth, the mats are colourful and meant to make politics interesting.

“The idea came to us from a 19-year-old student, Dhrishti Dagliya,” says Mynah founder Rhea Kewalramani, 23. “We run a channel on YouTube called What’s The Deal, where we break down news events into two-minute cartoon videos. Dhrishti called us with feedback and, while brainstorming, she came up with the idea for the mats.”

The campaign, called Election Mat-ters, has about 20 restaurants participating, from Dadar’s Pritam Da Dhaba to Lower Parel’s Café Zoe. Other participating restaurants include Imbiss (Bandra and Colaba), Out of the Blue (Powai) and Villa 69 (Juhu).

“Patrons have to wait about 10 minutes after ordering, so when Mynah approached me with this idea, I thought it was perfect,” said Bruce Rodrigues, owner of Imbiss.

The team, including graphic designer Uditi Shah, has created four vibrant versions of the mats, which will be at restaurants from March 29 to April 24, when the city goes to the polls.

“When you see the mat, you don’t think it is about a heavy subject like politics,” says Malvika Bhatia, vice-president of human resources at Know Your Vote. “You’re solving easy puzzles but subconsciously registering the information. The information is purely factual and involves all major parties.”

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