Why Some Structures Hide

After a good lunch with my classmates at one of the posh cafes in Delhi, where I ended up paying more than I ate, a close friend and I were broke to go home on our own.Fortunately, her mom’s office was right across the street from where we were, and we waited for her to get free as a free ride was the only possible solution.

The office was the kind which was located in the clusters of homes throughout that area. It is usually the trend there, with either the entire structure housing the office, or a floor dedicated to the workplace with the rest being a functional home to someone.

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It was a beautiful area. Huge, flowering trees surrounded the central green square around which the houses were closely situated. It was quiet, with occasional sound of birds chirping, leaves rustling and a car honk sounding off some distant road. The houses were white with staccatos of brick lining somewhere, or glass and wooden punctuations, inviting people inside and showing them out. Occasionally, you would see someone look outside through those punctuations. Lost in thought, having tea, or reading a book (those are my favorite kinds).

This ensued a photography session between my friend and I. We just couldn’t get enough of the place. I chose my favorite wall, and her camera clicked away. After 50 photos, an old man walked towards the gate before which we stood. He was wrinkled, but happy. He had a walking stick, but the other hand was occupied in holding bags full of fresh fruits. He was having a hard time explaining what exactly he wanted to do and found the whole situation tough to handle. We understood and smiling at him, we moved from his way.

I couldn’t resist myself from complimenting his house, and blurted how serene and beautiful it was. He found the whole situation embarrassing and nodded his head as a way of acknowledging my words. And just like that, he went away.

On our way back home in the car, it struck me how similar the man and his house were. Shy, peaceful and quiet, yet active and full of life, he had a strong personality. He didn’t fear showing his flaws. In the same way, that white plastered house bared it all. Chipped paint, stained glass and deteriorated bricks. But it still stood tall, and let all the planters and trees decorate it, as if it were some piece of art.

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For a lot of people, it would seem that it is hiding like it’s owner. After all, the house is a reflection of its master. But I feel, like a treasure, it is waiting to be discovered by someone who would value it, just like the old man’s wise, occasional words would be waiting patiently to become a person’s morals.

Embarrassing

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Hello, World

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The view from my room

Connected

With never ending design projects looming over the head throughout the semesters, I was a night person. Come home by 7, draft sheets, have dinner, start designing. And to stay up all night, have coke, listen to crap music and basically have more coke again. Days and nights were blurred, and rarely would I have a schedule that would go on for a week. Either way, I enjoyed that very much. It gave an amateur a feel of what architecture school is all about. Late nights, coffee/coke breaks, missing meals, running without bathing,  sleeping or even without money.

While my other friends who were pursuing different fields would be out for drinks, or would go for weekend trips, I would be in my PJs contemplating which material would hold my model the best. I forgot what music had once meant in my life, and friends would adjust their schedules according to mine because, deadlines. I would term that phase of my life, hectic.

More than losing touch with my friends, I was losing touch with my own voice. No value of decision making, no respect for my own design ideas because of the fear of judgment of ‘practicality’, and certainly no love for my mental health and body. I was on a verge of a breakdown. Of course it wasn’t that bad, the kind where you really stop functioning. It was the kind where you start questioning why exactly you do certain things, when it no longer gives you satisfaction.

I knew had to change. While I knew how important designing was for me, being sleep deprived and eating Lay’s for lunch wasn’t exactly the lifestyle I wanted. So, I took upon the challenge of a drastic change. I knew it  wouldn’t be easy so I gave myself a year.

On 31st December, 2015 I wrote a letter, noting what I would have achieved when I would open the same letter in 2016 end. Goals, little lifestyle habits, maybe exercising, achieving balance and patience. I needed all to get back on track.

And so, when I opened my windows at 4.00 am in the morning on 1st January, 2016 and sat down on my yoga mat for my first deep breath towards a happier year, I knew immediately that I connected with a spirit that I had long forgotten.

At What Speed Shall it be?

My grandfather’s house is pretty old, still standing strong after 50 years. Therefore every little thing I observe there, I have the urge of capturing it. Not because it seems ancient and out of the world, but because it gives me a strange satisfaction of contrast. I don’t know why, but everyday elements which display a sense of difference with its surroundings makes me feel alive.

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The fan regulator in my grandfathers house.

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