Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Beast Named Architecture

Found this musing in a long forgotten diary. I am skeptical of labeling it a poem because of technical errors in its construction...
Anyway, I believe these minor details will be overlooked when you understand that this was written by a first year B.Arch student. Those  were tough times. I see it with my students and sympathize.

 Miles to go before I sleep,
but time and tide wait for no man.

The mysteries of the world, and architecture
grow and multiply before I can
grasp the tail of the creature
and sweep myself into its bowels.
I want to learn the language
and here I am, grappling with the vowels!

Doors that once led out
are slamming shut.
The enchanted woods of knowledge
whisper enticements but
the steep rocky road
winds long and far.

With my limp,
I am praying for a car.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Be Kind and Dance

So much said about kindness..
No act of kindness is ever wasted. We rise by lifting others. Never look down on anybody unless you are helping him up. Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear & the blind can see.
But in this brutal world it is so difficult to give without expectation and receive without hesitation. 
Someone extends a helping hand and we either pull back in fear of the strings attached or fabricate those strings in our mind so that it is easier for our ego to accept the kindness.
After all would we ourselves help another being without reason? 
Image result for kindnessGive without regret. Impossible for the fractured souls of the modern world. Isn't kindness a sign of weakness? How can you go around performing selfless acts when you need to be ruthless to move ahead in this world?
We blame it on society when we know the reason is within. And we cast the whole of human kind in the same mould. Such a pity.
So.... should we be dancing?
Life Vest Inside are talking about Dancing for Kindness and people all over the world are ready to move to the groove. Should we be doing it? I guess so...maybe we should. The hesitant soul needs retraining and Dance could a first step toward kindness. That's because when you dance:
1. You need to leave your inhibitions to get your body to move in rhythm
2. You need to keep in step with the others, be one part of the whole mob
3. You need to accept the joy it gives to be with others and radiate that joy to those who surround you.
4. You need to be your mistakes and those of others
Mahdibagh Youth Club in Nagpur is going to be a part of the world wide flash mob of kindness on November 13th. We started off the kindness training with an rangoli event on Diwali. Some amazing entries. Here's the link.
One last thought. Does it end with one dance. How do we move from there? Hope the music plays on and we remember the steps till next year.
Dance, Tango Argentino, Tango, Music, Rhythm, Feet

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Bamboo- the Wondergrass

While our students spent two days at the bamboo machaan-making workshop with Shweta Bhattad of the Gram art project at Paradsinga village, I mulled over the celebrity status of this humble material. It is a grass after all! So why celebrate the 6th World Bamboo Day on 18 September?

World Bamboo Day was declared by the Thai Royal Forest Department on 18 September 2009 in Bangkok, during the 8th World Bamboo Congress held at the Imperial Queen’s Park Hotel. The aim- to alter the image of bamboo as a poor man's material and bring it into the main stream especially in the developed world.

The scientists at  University of Pittsburgh are testing several varieties of bamboo for their strength and  mechanical properties. By standardizing these tests they aim to see that bamboo is safely used in construction.These tests also reveal the true strength and flexibility of this material. In fact some varieties are comparable to steel in their strength to weight ratio. Prof. Madhumita Roy's research on permanent bamboo buildings at Jadavpur University, West Bengal is also worth mentioning. 

Bamboo building workshops are helping to forward age old building techniques to the new generation and are also experimenting with other revolutionary methods. Auroville Green Practises Workshops feature various programs related to bamboo construction. '

The Maharashtra State Bamboo Development Board was set up this month as part of the National Bamboo Mission at last bringing credibility to the numerous bamboo workers in the state. 
Nagpur has the appropriate weather and a huge potential for bamboo constructions. The government really needs to boost its growth and use so as to ease pressure from our forests.

This wondergrass has come a long way from being recognizable only as panda food to becoming the poster boy of future sustainable building construction. 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Building Building Models

 Models are a beneficial tool to teach and understand architecture. And they are such FUN to make! With the advent of computer graphics this art is losing its importance in the field and sadly in education too.

I noticed many cringed faces in class when I announced that the design brief will include a to-scale model.

Haven't you noticed that its so much easier to pass the time scribbling on a sheet than actually putting your hands to use and building something. 

Cutting, pasting and measuring are daunting tasks to many. FEVICOL and THERMOCOL prove to be a deadly combination, leading to sticky hands and snow covered hair.

But once made, a model enables the student to actually visualize spaces, forms, scale and all the rest of the architectural jargon.
2D pops up into shape and makes the imagining so much easier. The rough CONCEPT model encourages experimentation. Blocks can be twisted, turned, cut and extruded. The results are amazing!

Once the final drawings are ready then a refined PRESENTATION model is prepared. This tool can simplify communication. Many a shivering first year has been saved by his model during the final review when words and reasoning have failed him!

The Arts University Bournemouth, U.K. offers a 3 year B.A.(Hons.) course in Model Making. How interesting! gives some good advice for students.

Happy Model-Making!

Monday, June 20, 2016


It has been more than two years since my last post and I have been shying away from returning to my blogger world. Why? Because once here it is a commitment that I have already broken before. So should I say 'Hello' again. I guess I already have...

Time flies. And not necessarily when you are having a good time. The past years saw me spend time at Syed Mobin Architects, connecting with the world of builders and hi-rise buildings. Every fresh venture opens a new world of learning. And another group of whatsapp friends :)

The present finds me at T.G.P. College of Architecture...!!Imagine that!!

The 'Teacher' tag sits oddly and heavily on my shoulders. Have never been comfortable with words and now I have these fresh young minds sponging in all that I tell them (Well, usually....unless they are busy texting or snoozing). It has been a good impetus to dust off the cobwebs and get the grey matter charged up again. Have been a regular at the college library. It has been so long since I have read any of the heavy stuff. (Groan..)

There were a few unsure first steps and unavoidable stumbles but the year has seen its triumphs. It is so rewarding to see a student rise in confidence and realize his/her hidden potential.

The NEW SESSION means a lot of new-s. The first year admissions will bring in the NEW FACES. We will try out NEW WAYS to get the students excited about their work again. Hopefully, they will come up with brand NEW IDEAS and by the end of the year we will really actually be able to                                                                              DESIGN!