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First Impressions



Everyone is entitled to an opinion!! Not often do two individuals have the same thought on a particular topic – each has their own way of seeing things. This is what we are dealing with in ‘first impressions’ ….its your say, your ‘perspective’ of seeing things. Its aims at accumulating the first impressions of people so that finally we arrive at a conclusion which is much broader in its perspective than it would have been otherwise.
Okay..so what do we have here this time….oh yeah, its our college itself!! For those of you who haven’t read the brief, what we have in the background is the graffiti done by the first year students expressing their first impression of our college. Mixed emotions!! Although most of you missed the point, the response was definitely heartening. Great (and honest!) job guys!! Now coming to what was actually supposed to be written …we got some very innovative and cheerful comments on the campus and the people occupying it. As expected, many started with the thought that they were admitted into a ‘haunted house’ only to prove later that appearances can be deceptive. The spooky, groovy and haunted appearance takes a back seat when you see the college crowd. No, that not only includes the students, but the staff as well. While we got some experienced faculty, the senior students could be potential sources of inspiration too! Couldn’t agree more with you guys that you got some very interesting company for the rest of the five years. If the college ‘drowns when it rains’, two more rainy days and you’ll be lining up to get yourselves drenched. Yes, welcome to ‘crazy town’…if you’re looking to have a Cheerful, Smiling, Interesting, Inspiring and Terrific time, this is the place to ‘freak out’. ‘Awesome’, Amazing’, ‘oomph’, ‘kewl’, CSIIT rulz’, ‘I’m Lovin’ it’, etc, etc….to mention a few attributes of our college, but the best of the lot definitely was …’students pride, wesley’s envy’…you got that right, dudes!! And last but not the least, thank you for showering soooo many compliments on your seniors..but does that mean you expect an early freshers??Hmm….wonder what gave me that idea!!( yeh dil maange freshers party??!!)
To sum it all, your response clearly shows that a college cannot be judged by its campus. Yeah..forget about the building and the canteen..its the students which make the college happening or in this case…’sappening’! That’s where our college has no parallel in the city!!..ok..maybe in the world too! That’s it for now folks…be at your creative best up until next time!! Get going @ CSIIT!! 

Written for the January 2005 issue of sappenings. My first work on the editorial team.

Forca



Live     Work     Move     Play     Win !

For whatever reason Nelly Furtado may have written Forca and in whatever language….it holds good for us in a very apt way. For those who haven’t yet read the Sappenings Board, let sappenings desk introduce to you …..Forca – the spirit of competition. As NASA grips CSIIT, and as students prepare to put in their best efforts for the five trophies, sappenings celebrates their spirit and prays that it never dies. Of course this issue also features “The Chosen One”, which will be a regular column in the forthcoming issues as well, along with a review on the recently held Arch Show.
Through Forca…sappenings spreads the message…..being mediocre is no better than being a failure. It has been nothing but competition which has led to the evolution of the human race. It is but competition that drives the world. It is but competition which makes people strive to achieve excellence and challenge perfection. It is this ‘competition’ that we name “forca”.
All those heroic stories, which portrayed determination, courage, commitment...in whose characters u once wished to see urself….
This is the time to make that wish come true. Those were the stories which stayed with you ...even if u were too small to understand them….and these will be the memories which will linger on…even if u were too old to remember them!!! Let this be the time when CSIIT draws all forces together and marches to Mumbai…and marches to victory!!
Live, work, move, play is what the ‘pulse’ says…..so that’s what we will do and…for ourselves…. add a “win” to it!!
And now for some good news.….SVCA’s response to the last revolutions edition has been overwhelming!! To the extent that we had to send extra copies of the newsletter to them. And from what we hear…efforts are on, on their part to come up with their own newsletter!! Hmm…..we could sure use some competition, for we all are working here for a higher purpose…..and that is to make every individual in college aware and capable of making a difference in the society. Besides competition will only help us get better!!
As sappenings desk gets glimpses of fresh recruits …. here’s an ‘one last breath’… all those who do not settle for mediocrity … all those who possess a mind of their own … all those who “breath” architecture … and last but not the least .. those who believe in “forca” … we invite you to join the desk. Explore your depths … conquer your doubts … defy the limits and …rediscover yourself!! 

Written as an editorial for September 2005 issue of sappenings.

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Kingdom of Heaven



What does one expect from the director of Gladiator?? Historical setting…..dramatic cinematography…..powerful dialogues…..and…..Russel Crowe??? Try again!

Historical setting…yes. Dramatic cinematography….yes. powerful dialogues…..no. Russel Crowe…no!
A “Kingdom of heaven” is what was intended to be portrayed….I declare it a fair attempt.
Orlando Bloom (LOTR and Troy fame) plays a blacksmith turned Knight, the Balian of Ibelin (town near kerak, near Jerusalem) somewhere in the 12th century A.D. Edward Norton (Fight Club fame) plays the leper King of Jerusalem, striving hard to maintain peace in the Holy land between Muslims and Christians. The rest “not popularly known” of the cast fit very well in their roles. A special mention for Ghassan Massoud of Syria who plays the great Caliph, Salahuddin.

Christian crusaders invade Jerusalem, taking advantage of the declining and divided Muslim rule, and establish their kingdom. Caliph Salahuddin re-unites all the Muslims and forces the King of Jerusalem into establishing a Kingdom of Heaven, which would mean the land would be a place of worship for all the major three races…Muslims, Christians and Jews. Peace and harmony. But a few European “fanatics” want the land for themselves (Christians), and try to ignite a war (against muslims) in the name of God. The King cannot control them for lack of support, while Salahuddin surrounds Jerusalem with an army of 200,000 men. The intended Kingdom of heaven is on the verge of falling. Where does a blacksmith turned knight fit in all this?? I won’t spoil your fun by spilling that.

But what follows are breathtaking scenes …of forts, armies, deserts, battles…etc, very well delivered sensible and touching dialogues, and of course … a perfect ending.
Harry Gregson-Williams render very suitable background score while the costumes (army uniforms) are attractive and apt.

The movie scores in portraying a positive image of Muslims (finally some respite!!) unlike most of the other ones. On an emotional level each viewer could derive his own conclusions…..but as for me…I have identified my kingdom of heaven! Go find yours…..go watch the movie!!

Watch it for the fun of it…at the same time explore a little bit on the actual history behind it, as you all know…”history is not about the past”!!
And yeah….I declare a crusade against anyone who classifies it as a “war movie” after seeing it. Gimme a break!! And yourself too!

Written for sappenings groups.

Revolutions



THINK .     ANALYZE .     REVIVE.      MOTIVATE.     ACT.

Something’s happening…..Everything’s different …but everything’s fine…..it’s only in your mind!! Looks like Sheryll Crow wrote this just for us!
CSIIT is transforming…a revolution is round the corner. Yes, that’s exactly what it is….RE-EVOLUTION.
Not because a few people are going round the college sticking posters……Not because a few people are putting up panels on bare college walls…..and definitely Not because a few people are doing crazy things in the library!!
Its only because people will notice this and they will understand what the three dots in “sappenings ARCHITECTURE AND…”
mean. And that will be the re-birth of CSIIT!
A perfect institution, THAT, which has never been seen or experienced, but only dreamt and philosophized. Where the very air you breathe smells of promise……every step you take creates energy and every thing you do generates enthusiasm. Where every individual does not work to submit, but submits himself to his work. Where no one studies to remember, but does so to understand. Where no one is inferior, but is engaged in an eternal quest to establish ‘superiorism’ and to achieve perfection.
Does all this sound too ambitious?...or fairytail’ish’?....Not if every CSIITian takes up a responsibility willingly and makes an effort towards fulfilling it.
If there’s magic in architecture ……. It’s the magic of fighting battles beyond endurance……..beyond saturation……beyond exhaustion…….its the magic of risking everything for a dream which no one sees but you…….
Sappenings is not just a newsletter…it’s a reminder of ambitions .…the ones which brought you here, but were eventually over ridden.
A revolution it is…not due to suppression ..but due to realization……not by force ..but by desire!!
Architects build cities. Ironically, they are the ones who destroy it. Stand on the roof top of your house and witness what ‘architecture’ (as you understand it) has done to your city. If you don’t make a move to better it…no one will!
Ask yourself questions. There’s more to learn than can ever be learnt. There’s more to do than can ever be done. Its all around you…don’t keep it waiting…. 

Written as an editorial for July 2005 issue of sappenings. My first attempt at an editorial.

Paryatak Bhavan



A Government project by the Tourism Department………a budget of 22 crores…..a ‘one of its kind’ building to satisfy multiple functions….what does one expect??
Whatever notion you have of government buildings , its time that changed. Let me present you Paryatak Bhavan!
Originally ‘sited’ at Tankbund, the building is now a massive structure rising seven stories at the corner of Greenlands crossroads. Foundations were laid in December of 2003 but the completion of the project has been delayed by 3 months owing to minor hurdles in construction (the failure of the 10.8 m high atrium slab due to improper formwork being the major one).
Designed by a Delhi based architect Uppal Ghosh and erected by local contractors RamK Inrastructures, the building is housing a variety of services for tourists all over the world.

ALL IN ONE

The ground floor accommodates the bookings offices of literally any mode of transport available in India(autos, cabs, buses, trams, railways and airplanes) to any destination in the world. Ascending through the central escalator, or either of the corner staircases, one finds a micro-sized shopping area with window display spaces and a few conference halls. The second level above is dedicated entirely to the offices of the tourism departments of all the states of India.
Both these levels overlook the ground floor in the central region forming a huge atrium rising 10.8 meters which is roofed by a dome.
Third level onwards upto the seventh level, a 3-star hotel with 80 rooms, all with spectacular views of the city (Lifestyle Flyover and the roof garden on the north side, Hussain sagar lake on the south east side, Birla temple on the south west side) is accommodated. This hotel will have regular services like a fitness centre, swimming pool and a bar.
One thing’s for sure…..this building is going to give TSS a hard time classifying it!!

Speaking from ‘architecture’ point of view, the setup of vertically massive masonry walls on either side and the elegant aluminum frames with proportioned glass panels projecting out forming a sharp corner at the north east end, creates interest in the structure. Bay windows for hotel rooms with wooden flooring (Vitrified Series for other parts of the building) will look rather cozy , and more so with the amazing view the window encloses! All in all the building gets a good grade for its design, considering the complex circulation patterns it had to satisfy. One could still argue with the absence of any relation to the heritage or the culture of the place, for a structure of this magnitude.

Although a lot depends on the finishing of the construction, if all is done according to the text book, this building is sure to play a major role in getting Hyderabad closer to the title of the “Fifth Metropolitan City” of India, if not achieving it.
The building has a lot more thinking behind its evolution, like the thought given to the traffic congestion at the crossroads. 9000 sq.m. of the 2 acre site has been left open for bus bays and landscape with a cellar car park for 160 cars. For more such details with photographs and plans download the PPT presentation named “Paryatak Bhavan” in the Files section.

(Special Thanks to Mr. Diwakar, an engineer on the site, who was co-operative enough to show us around the construction and providing us with a few details) 

Written for sappenings groups.

Wings of Fire



Seldom does one come across a reading as inspiring as “Wings of Fire” by our revered president APJ Abdul Kalam Azad. An autobiography by the ‘rocket man’ tells more than just rocketry, hiding in this theme all the mysteries of life living. One most outstanding accomplishment of this compilation is the translation of matters of immense complexities in simple worse so that it makes for a non-stop reading (unlike what autobiographies are normally taken for).
More importantly, than stating the milestones achieved by our nation in the field of space and missile technology, the book makes us aware of the existing scenario of the Indian atmosphere and its general attitude, in whose view what various ideologies and approaches one has to adopt and devise in order to achieve the degree of perfection so as to compete at the ‘cutting edge’ level. The importance of a leader in organizing a successful team work, the responsibility of a leader to his team and vice versa, the importance of setting deadlines and striving to meet them, setting higher goals instead of basking on past glory……..are just a few things one realizes in this reading. Of the many quotes the author uses….this one perhaps would make sense to a lot of us… “bread baked without love is a bitter bread that feeds but half a man’s hunger” - Khalil Gibran.
Success needs a whole-hearted effort. For all my colleagues, many of whom aspire to work in major design projects such as those documented on Discover Channel involving hundreds of architects, this book is a must read! For the very simple reason that it tells the role of each member in a team and does so in an Indian context, so that you may relate the scenario explained in the book to the one you are living in!
So does APJ Abdul Kalam Azad end his message….”Let the latent fire in the heart of every Indian acquire wings, and the glory of this great country light up the sky”
So would I end my message….if this book doesn’t re-kindle the love for your country and more importantly, for your work…..nothing will!! 

Written for sappenings groups.

Friendship


Friendship. A word so commonly used that some people have actually began doubting its reliability. ‘a friend in need is a friend indeed’….’a friend is one who shares joys and pleasures of life with u’…..’a friend is one who u can always fall back to’……agreed! But now consider this…..
A friend is someone who challenges you…. your soul-mate. Best friends are those who bring out the best in each other. You may hang around endlessly…you may have a hell of a time together…you may do the craziest thing ever…..you may be inseparable……but that ain’t friendship at all. ….at the end of the day what matters is what have you got out of it?...am i talking selfish?....read on ….
I study architecture…in this context it means that I spend more time with my colleagues than my family. One day a ‘friend’ comes and requests me to draw something for him which he is not able to do. I refuse…...i am declared selfish. I do it….we are still best pals. Common thinking ends here. Let me take it further.
I refuse becoz’ I want my friend to improve and be able to do it himself. I want my friend to be capable to do anything and everything on his own just as I try myself.
If I do it for him …I deny him a chance of improving. I deny him a chance of finding out there’s nothing one can’t do! Am I being selfish!....
…...if u ask me ..i say yes….. next day I find out that my friend has done a better job than me…and I try a notch harder and better myself. Doesn’t that make me a better student each day? Doesn’t that make my friend a better student each day? I know there are people who don’t care a damn about this…..its becoz’ they are content with what they are and what they do. No one has ever made them realize that there is more to life than pretentious friendship and love. “one” is what I would refer to as friend.
Apply. Forget about profession. A friend is not one who takes your side when he knows that you’ve been wrong. A friend is not one who consoles you on your loss when he knows you never stood a chance. A friend is not one who compliments you on your work when he knows you suck! A friend is one who has the courage to tell you honestly where you have erred. A friend is one who is ready to sacrifice his “friendship” just to tell you where you stand. A friend is one who dares to tell you on your face that YOU ARE WRONG!!...and leaves the final verdict for you to figure out yourself.
Who knows where life takes us. Who knows whether we would be among our friends forever or not. Doesn’t it make sense if friendship would all be about preparing each other for the journey of life?….which eventually one has to make alone. Argue with me that one doesn’t have to travel alone and i answer….will it be you or your friend who will go to work each day and face the world? Will it be you or your friend who will have to face the toughening challenges of the future?
If we are ever in need of a friend its now…...in our learning days. You can have all the fun ….. but when it comes to serious matters my friend better be honest with me instead of just making me feel good. I might hate him for a while … maybe for a very long time….but eventually I will understand what sacrifice he has made, with what intention….and how it has evolved me….the sacrifice is never knowing and unrevealed. There lies the purpose of friendship ….. fulfilled.
I would expect my friend to keep aside all the pretensions and be true to me. I would expect my friend to bring me out of the fantasy of being someone I am not. I would expect my friend to understand the word ‘friendship’ as it should be and not as it is understood to be.
You wouldn’t want to agree with me…..i won’t ask that of you…
But give it a thought! 

Written in response to a newspaper article on Friendship in The Hindu. Didnt get published. But this was and is my idea of friendship.

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2050


Greetings,

I shall begin with an expression of gratitude to the authorities of IIA, AP Chapter for having given the students of architecture this generous opportunity of presenting their visions of the Future of our city. A special thanks to the faculty of my college, CSIIT School of Architecture and Planning, for encouraging us in coming forward with this presentation.

It has been actually very difficult to put my dreams and visions on paper, for fear of them being unachievable and unacceptable. I will still go ahead with presenting it, for I know now that nothing is achievable and acceptability depends on how I present it.

I first came to Hyderabad as a 9th Grade school student. The moment I stepped outside the terminal of Rajiv Gandhi Terminal, the air brought to me a sense of belonging to this place. Rather unusual for someone coming to the place for the first time. I shrugged it off as an illusion then, but the feeling always remained…. maybe hidden somewhere. The flow of events continued, and I found myself in CSIIT as a student of architecture. I was an illiterate then, and to an extent still am.

It wasnt until one day, when I went to the Golconda Fort with my seniors for the first time since I came to this city, that that feeling resurfaced. The feeling has been pursuing me ever since, but it was not until one month back before, that I understood what it was. Architecture speaks. Buildings have a language of their own. Their speech is not heard by anybody. Their speech is visual. The eyes of the common spectators are not conscious of their sight of it. Architects are.

Architects are a responsible lot. They have on their shoulders the responsibility of the growth and prosperity of a city. An architect knows everything about everything. Right from placing an I-section for an electric pole to the construction of a skyscraper. Architects can put a city on the world map. They can speak through their silence. They can make a city, as a whole, be heard, without speaking a word.

The greatest responsibility of an architect is to achieve all of this in the most unique way possible. The most unique and “origin”al way.

The most complex of the problems have the simplest of solutions. The path has been laid in front of us, we just have to follow it. Our uniqueness has been given to us by our predecessors. All we have to do is maintain it and move forward in our own fashion suitably.

There was once a time when architecture brought about communal harmony among its users. I want to see those times again. I want architecture to speak as it did of old. I want to feel the joy, the artisan felt, when carving the intricate ornamental patterns on building facades. No, I am not coming to the point you all think I am.

2050, I dream Hyderabad competing with the world in every field, having the uniqueness of doing so without losing its origin…its roots. 2050, I smell the same air which brings to me a sense of belonging to my city. Yes, I have embraced this city as my own, even though my childhood was not spent here. I simply cannot imagine the feeling of those who have lived here their entire lives. 2050, I foresee a sustainable and self-sufficient city which is unaffected by any adversity. And when I say sustainable and self-sufficient, I mean it, because then, architects will be at the positions where they are supposed to be. Architecture will not be a business, it will go back to being a creative field. As of old. And that does not mean the “budget will cease to be a major factor in construction.

I may sound now like a child, not ready to let go of my childhood. But there is one difference……I am not a child anymore! There are always a number of ways of doing things. These ways always come down to a right one or a wrong one. Which way are we going now?

Perhaps I have spoken without enough knowledge…or experience…..but I have spoken with passion. I have spoken as a small child in the big world of architecture would. Our revered president APJ Abdul Kalam very rightly puts it…”children always have a way of simplifying things.”

As I have mentioned before, in this one month I have identified the pulse of Hyderabad still beating. I hope to feel it beating till 2050 and on forever.

I want to see the Glory of Hyderabad restored without any compromise in the urban context. I dont say this as a journalist or a critic. I say this as a future ARCHITECT, if I prove to be capable of being one!

Thank you. I am filled with nothing but admiration for the entire faculty who has shaped my vision, either through their speech, or through their silence, or merely by their presence!


Written as a speech for the Arch Show 2005. I eventually deciding against going ahead with it.

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How'z That!

You can run, you can hide but you cant escape it. Yes, the cricket world cup fever just gets to you somehow. That’s the reason the authorities in our college were convinced to conduct an Inter Class Cricket tournament. The early start to our cricket season sure caught many unawares; and yet to some it was just another activity to get everyone together.
What can be said about a tournament so full of surprises, twists and turns? Some of the big guns failed to fire while the ‘less expected of’ people came good. The early exit of the defending champions, the fourth years’, was sure a shocker and indication of how unpredictable the game can be. The first week saw some very exciting matches with nail-biting finishes and some very good spirited fair cricket being played. The spectators had some very anxious moments due to the number of mis-fields done, especially on the leg side boundary where the ball had to literally jump to reach the boundary and the fielder often did likewise! The differences in the ground level there created a lot of problems for the fielders while the batsmen sure made merry.
The second week saw the first years’ enter the finals with the third years’. After a long three day wait the ‘spectators’ finally got to witness a very exciting final. The third years’ however ended up as the deserving winners, though their opponents put up a spirited show defending a low total. The highlight of the tournament was the planning and the match strategy adopted by the third years’ which eventually earned them the cup. However the best part of the tournament definitely was the coming together of the whole college to cheer the teams battling it out on the field. The game was the unsung winner at the end of two very eventful weeks. 

Written for the first edition of sappenings. My first article in college.