Spy of the Month

spy of the month

Agent Name: Peppercrow Hoy
Real Name: Ishita Dharap

Congratulations, Spy! How does it feel?

Wow, I have no words! I can't believe I get to be Spy of the month... I'm about to blow my cover with excitement!

How did you first get involved at 826CHI?

I volunteered for a field trip and met storytellers, the revered Admiral Moody (only by voice) and many wonderful kids who wrote weird, fantabulonimbus stories.

What has been your favorite 826 experience so far?

Word Lab, for which I was the teaching artist, was a sparkly experience, and one of my favorite at 826. We spend many hours making art and writing- the best combination of things in the whole world. Apart from that, I will never forget the faces of the children at that field trip when Admiral Moody's voice boomed through the speakers for the first time. Best expressions ever.

What do you do when you aren't working undercover?

When I am not undercover, you are likely to find me painting walls. I am an artist/designer, but what is really exciting to me is the blurred lines between the arts. I am a language lover and my dream is to be able to fluently speak 7 languages! (I speak 3.5 right now) Visual art and the written word have such a deep connection, and I am always looking for ways to bring the two together, or explore one through the other, or layer meaning through them! The possibilities are truly endless.

I moved here about 8 months ago, and Chicago has been wonderfully welcoming to me! I am excited to spend my time here painting more walls, making up more games and experimenting and collaborating with different artists and kids.

What languages do you speak, and which ones do you wish to learn?

I speak Hindi, Marathi, English and dusty/scraggly French. ​I am in the process of teaching myself Spanish​, and most excited to read original works of Neruda and Marquez, among others! I want to learn Urdu (The national language of Pakistan) so that I can understand ghazals and shaayari​ (and also because it sounds so breezy and delicate), and I guess ​the 7th language would be determined by where I travel to - and stay - for a long time.

Where did you live before Chicago?

Before Chicago, I lived in my hometown of Pune, India (which is known for its delicious food, snooty locals and gorgeous hills!) ​I've traveled to the US before, but never lived here for this long! I feel accomplished, and a little like the colors in my brain are changing.

Our top agents always have the greatest codenames. What's yours?

My codename is Peppercrow Hoy. (You know how neither pepper nor crows are actually black, but we use them as examples for that color? ​I always imagined a character like that- a peppery-brown-grey crow with an affinity for sneezing. The 'Hoy' is to remind me to stay in the present! Hoy means today in Spanish)

Any words of wisdom for aspiring spies of the month?

Stay in the present! And be open to outcome​!