Sunday, December 5, 2010

If stones could speak, what would they say?

Ahmedabad is a strangely attractive city. I say strange because its attractions (a lot of them) aren’t what one would call beautiful in the conventional sense of the word. So, yes, I visited the darwazas of the old city and the jama masjid today. Architecturally, these sites are a delight. But more than appreciating the motifs and carvings on the walls or pillars, more than marvelling about the structural strength and the workmanship of these sites; I loved the fact that they were a part of a long and colourful history, and the contrasts that were so enthralling to observe.

The roads were teeming with people, bursting at its seams with the variety of shops, goods that ranged from handkerchiefs to antique bells, from Christmas decorations to rat traps. 

Teen darwaza and the surrounding market and its gullis are a delight for any kind of shopper, the compulsive as well as the practical one. The air is filled with smoke and intermittent honking of the horn from a consistent stream of traffic that plies through these lanes. At short, sharp intervals though, one can hear a particularly loud Gujrati lady haggling with a seller or smell soap, or ittar or maybe even fresh biscuits being baked at a corner bakery place.

The darwazas stand like proud royal guards of an era gone by, watching over a city that had slowly and steadily changed its appearance and priorities over the decades. The spirit though, seems something that has undergone very minimal change at all. The people don’t seem to run, they still seem to have time to talk to each other, or maybe even smile at an unknown stranger. The darwazas- Dilli, Prem, Daryapur, Lal and Kalupar; are places of bustling activity. 

If one was to say that a sanctuary of peace and quiet existed right in the middle of Teen darwaza, I wouldn’t really believe them.But jama masjid manages to surprise me immensely. I feel gratitude for the fact that despite being a woman, I am still allowed inside the sacred premises of this wonderful mosque. The huge empty space inside, the countless pillars, the water construct in the center, the flapping of the pigeons’ wings, the atmosphere of reverence and tranquillity, the intricate and beautifully done carvings; all contribute to making jama masjid a place that is not just a building with great architecture, but an experience that needs to be sensed.

Picture: Front facade, Dilli darwaza

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Those faces

Nothing much remains anymore,
Except stray snapshots of a blur;
A silhouette of a girl at the door
A fragment of the people who were..

The miniature vessels, an endless game,
Those myriad faces with no name;
Woven into young innocent memories,
Courtyard capers and fingernails with grease.

The countless wrinkles and glassy eyes,
A cloud of dust and a gleaming road
Dissolved into The Sand that flies,
Those hands that built that abode.

A story so common yet untold,
A frame bent around a sari's fold,
It takes me back to a time so tame;
To the varied faces with no name... 

~Inspired by the short story 'The Real Durwan' -Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri.
Made me think of all those people who worked around the house when I was a kid.I wonder where they are now...

Khaana Peena

The place where I go to feed the good ol' tum when hunger strikes.Though it's a lot more than just food that you can find there...The best conversations are brewed around good grub.I certainly think so:)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Design gyan..C/o DCC

We are approaching the end of a signature course here in NID called Design concepts and concerns.It has been a hectic, chaotic, enlightening and engaging experience that has left most of us thinking.The pressure of understanding a problem, coming up with an apt solution and then conveying it in the best possible manner has left most of us sleep deprived and longing for the weekend.
What follows is a list of the things that have dawned upon me in the process( a few of which need to be taken with a pinch of salt)

* Form and structure go hand in hand in making every design possible.
* Critiques are valuable.Random comments and opinions are not.
* Out of intense confusion comes curiosity, which in turn leads to clarity.
* Group work is hard.Persistence and responsibility are required at all times for the work to be cohesive and successful.
* When the mic malfunctions, it is a sign from above that you should stop talking.
* As an explanation gets verbose and lengthy, attention span decreases radically.
* Humor and interactivity go a long way in making a presentation memorable.
* Doodling in class gets one good ideas at times.
*What you know is as important as how you can communicate the same to your audience
* Taking a stand and doing self analysis is imperative, even if one's understanding of a subject is limited.One should only realize that there is more to learn.
* Sometimes good designs fail.It is possibly because it is close to impossible to impress everyone.
* Resources and experiences when shared lead to a huge database of knowledge that one can refer to
in times of need.
* Design for me , engenders an attitude to 'know more about more'

A few design gyan nuggets that I gathered in the process...wonder what more will I realize in the next 3 days.I'm curious to know...

Sunday, July 4, 2010


So much has transpired in the time since I wrote my last post that I wonder where to begin.
The folks have been transferred to good old Lucknow, so last few trips to Baroda have been taking up my weekends.I took my driving test, which was a laughable farce. I just had to put the car in 1st gear and move like 10 inches and it was done.This, after my application was already signed by the RTO inspector.
Quite an anticlimax actually.I had too much preparation for the test.

College has been crazy. After 3 long weeks of singing,dancing, being yelled at and general mayhem( that we were never allowed to laugh at), we were 'welcomed to the NID family'.Suffice it to say it was a very wet and wild welcome indeed. A freshers party and a lot of friends later, I can safely say that the campus feels like home now.Classes are good and work is just the perfect amount right now.Not so much that I have to crib, or not so less that one feels useless.
I miss my friends though.Feel like going to Bombay every weekend, but something or the other crops up.But I've promised myself that I will go to my favorite city before the monsoons are over.
 Such a dear diary sort of a post. It was due I guess.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Me and my friends

It feels a little empty inside. To leave behind so many people, so many memories and so many places is like letting go of a part of yourself; a part you had grown to love over a period of 4 long years.
I guess that is why so many people want a break after completing college.That lost part of you has to be replaced with something else.
I know that all of us promise to keep in touch and act as if things are going to change only slightly. But to try and console oneself with that thought is being stupid.Things will never be the same again.That is not to say that they will get worse...they'll just be different.
I hope then, today, that I can grow to love the 'difference' as much as I loved what was before.

I miss it a lot right now though.The hostel madness, the college vella-ness, the lanes of viman nagar, andhra, ccd, chicken momos, cribbing about work....and most of all the people.My friends who have become family. 
I love you all.

Friday, March 5, 2010

It's Bad TV

After I come back from work everyday, I feel like watching tv for some time. It's a  break from the interactivity of the computer that I have been working with all day; some time out just to be the passive observer and watch something that captures my interest.
It is sad then, that I rarely find anything worth watching on prime time tv. I simply refuse to watch any of the women-centric garbage and ridiculous 'reality tv' that most of the channels churn out like factories these days. I wonder then, aren't there others like me?

Why is there such an overdose of the same kind of shows? Shows which you probably wouldn't realize the difference between , if someone discreetly changed the channel.
But then, I guess, that's my opinion. An opinion based on watching trailers and snippets of these shows..
So I end up being disappointed. It's just bad tv. And I resort to watching all the series that I've downloaded off the internet.
Who would have thought.That I would crib about  choice in a day and age when there are more than 150 channels to surf through....

Sunday, February 21, 2010

"8 days on, no clues.Toll rises to 15"
That's what the headlines of a leading newspaper say today. They are referring to the blast that happened 
at German Bakery, Pune on the eve of Valentine's day.Ironic, right?
The place was one that my friends and I frequented often, to grab some really of their delicious grub.It felt weird to know that we wont sit on those wooden benches ever again.
Today, though , as I read the headlines, I realized that I didn't feel that sorrow anymore.I didn't feel anything..just a pervading sense of being passive towards all that happened a week ago.It got me thinking though.
Such events have become so commonplace in our lives that as soon as we find out that none of our friends or family have been affected, we heave a sigh of relief. We feel momentary anger and anguish, along with a sense of helplessness for a perhaps a week after; and then they gradually fade from our memory.
Scary thought. That we are evolving into people who don't care about their own countrymen, who are becoming so used to the fact that terrorism is a part of their lives that the anger against such events is diminishing.
What are we turning into?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Our own design studio

The 5 of us.We shall be awesome.
We'll do everything from print and web to motion graphics and illustration.
We'll take cool interns..and trust them to produce good work.
We will play amazing music all day and have a pantry with a fridge which has cheese and chocolate.
We shall do free work for animal shelters and NGO's.
Their will be spaces just made to go sit and think or doodle.( giant whiteboards and lots of markers too) 
We will fight, but we'll always make up.
Our studio.Lets make one.Soon.

For you: Maya, Jemma, Sanju and Sherry

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I <3 chocolate

O chocolate! My chocolate!
What would I do,
If I was left in this world,
without a bite of you?
Whether you're milk, dark or white,
I really do not care
Abstaining from your luscious sweetness,
I simply could not bear.
So make a beeline for my mouth
It's a good place to be,
You're meant to make people happy,
But please begin with me!

~ The lines randomly popped into my head as a piece of Galaxy truffle swirled in my mouth.( The picture is necessary to understand my sentiments)

Monday, January 18, 2010

''Just follow the crowd...''

That's what I was told, when I asked the receptionist at my workplace about what  ways should I take while walking from Churchgate station to my office.It sounded like weird advice.How could I find out the direction I was supposed to go in , by following a bunch of people who might or might not have a similarly located destination?
The next day I found out.As soon as I got off from my bus, I saw scores , rather hundreds of people walking hurriedly, all going the same way! From shabbily dressed men to heel-clad women, most of them with headphones in their ears, everyone was walking purposefully towards their respective offices.
And yes, when I followed them , I reached very close to my destination.
I was amazed.What a place! The people walking on either side of the street, never colliding, moving as a huge mass of humans, seemed right out of a Hollywood movie showing peak hours at Manhattan.Then I realized, Bombay is India's Manhattan!
I also figured out why some people like Bombay and some don't. It's an intrinsic personality thing.The people who thrive in human company, extroverts, gregarious souls who love being the center of attention one instant and disappear the next, will adore Bombay.The other sort, who like their space, who want the option, the freedom of being in solitude will never like this city. You simply can't escape the 15 million strong population that this place harbors.
I keep writing about this city, because my fascination grows with every day that I spend here.I hope it lasts!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Between the two of us, we will see and hear all the good things on this earth.

New life

I am just about to complete my first week at work.It feels good, though I have been alternating between
contentment and frustration.Bombay looks amazing , especially the area where I go to sit inside an AC premises.All day while I stare at my computer, I think of the beautiful structures outside, the amazing street shopping and the second hand book stalls waiting for me.I think I shall sneak out one of these days for an hour or two and have my fill of staring, browsing and buying.
Which makes me come to my first frustration: I want a decent camera.Everything I look at these days is new and I am noticing all sorts of details which I wouldn't otherwise.I want to capture them...sigh!
Work is good.I have been given a logo development assignment.I can safely say i've never worked so much for my personal projects too! But, whenever I do things under strict constraint, like this identity task, I find my mind wandering to all sorts of art practices, freedom to make whatever crap I want in whatever way I want.
ah well.Sigh! ( again)
Oh and  I miss college and my friends. Very much . I keep wanting to go to Pune, but then I realize that most of us aren't there anymore and it just won't be the same... :(
So there.I am in  a strange mood these days...wonder when it will get back to normal.( or maybe this is the new normal??)