Kaizen



“This is ten percent luck, twenty percent skill……….Fifteen percent concentrated power of will ---- Five percent pleasure, fifty percent pain……….And a hundred percent reason to remember the name!” 

There is a difference between knowing the path …and walking it. Walk we did … but the destination still remains elusive. Mistakes overlooked….shortcomings unidentified….comparisons avoided….and silence! Conclusion drawn….we were unfairly done in! No doubt it sounds very consoling…but seriously…is there a more cowardly manner to accept defeat…or rather, to not accept it? Does it need a Japanese philosophy to get the message across? Well…if it does…then here it is…
‘Kai’ – continuous, ‘Zen’ – improvement …. a philosophy focused in a different direction from the "command-and-control" improvement programs of the mid-20th century. We don’t need to know this…do we? All we need to know is what command do we have over our subjects and what control do we exercise when it comes to competition.
Clean sweep in the Birla Floor Design competition….. a special mention at NASA in Mumbai….. still skeptical about participation in the Ideas Design competition and the INSDAG student award competition. ….
Alright…just to make things clear…. readers are supposed to draw comparisons from last year and reach conclusions collectively. Logical conclusions at that…the ones which will inspire our ‘kaizen’ curve to take a bend upwards. The onus is on promoting discussion followed, necessarily, by action. What makes CSIIT are not the individuals only…..but the individuals together as one whole mass. Through Kaizen….test your awareness of the standing of CSIIT in architectural circles…and then your own standing in CSIIT. Do that, and hopefully you will find out that immortality is not unattainable.
There is a difference between knowing your goal……and reaching it! Those who reach their goals are the ones remembered…..not the ones who knew them! Mike Shinoda speaks the obvious at the beginning….that is all what takes for our names to be remembered! Are we up for it? 

Written as an editorial for the Febuary 2006 issue of sappenings. The issue was banned and never circulated.

Crash



How to review something which has neither a beginning nor an end?! ……

Its 15 minutes now since I wrote the first sentence and I still don’t know where to start…..
Alright … let’s try…

Uncountable characters … all living in their own little worlds … ‘crashing’ into one another in a series of unavoidable incidences! Yeah . .. that’s a fitting definition. It’s a modern western Malgudi Days… the movie could go on forever and still you wont find an end to it, nor for that matter, remember where it all started!

You don’t know what is happening for the first quarter of the movie. And just when you are getting the hang of what is happening, you are clueless as to why it’s happening for the next quarter. By this time you are convinced that this movie is another “no sense all the way and surprise at the end’ types. That’s exactly when it happens … and ”it” makes the hair of your arm stand up leaving you unsure of how to react of what just happened. Now you know there is a point to all of it, but there is a good 40 minutes to reach to it. The “coming together” of the movie is very well directed, edited and impeccably acted, specially in one instance where a strong-hearted individual could actually breakdown.

Amidst a few loopholes and unexplained happenings the script revolves around the racial discrimination between blacks and whites. But that is just a means of portrayal for the underlying theme. What does a person do in helpless situations? How does one react to totally unavoidable circumstances? Watch this movie for the answers to these questions … enacted. And when you identify yourself with those reactions you will regret the fact that there is no background music in real life!

Sitting through this movie is like living another day of a normal life, only the setting changed. As the lyrics “Maybe tomorrow I’ll find my way home” fade away in a rhythm… the movie ends …but your life doesn’t!!

It has more food for thought than mentioned here. Nobody knows half of the acting crew save Sandra Bullock and Brenden Fraser (ten minutes screen presence each), all of whom are flawless.
I wonder what were they doing all this time … and where the hell was Paul Haggis??? 

Written for sappenings groups.

Chicken Little



Animated movies have a reputation of portraying the importance of relationships in a very creative and subtly humorous way. The likes of The Lion King, Ice Age, etc…..will always find a special place in memories of their audiences. This is what “Chicken Little” fails to create.

Pigs, fishes, ducks and chickens might not be too funny by natural order…but when they are cast in a Walt Disney movie…they are supposed to be!!
A little chicken … misunderstood by everybody, including his father, to be a fake …goes about proving himself to be of some worth. Help by a duckling friend and the run of events give him that chance, which he grabs. By this time you realize that the movie doesn’t have the usual “believing in oneself” philosophy. The underlying theme of the movie, which surfaces in the last half of the movie, is that of believing in others. Very rightly it shows how others’ believe in a person, can drive him to achieve the impossible. Lesson of trust is taught using the example of the father, who originally doubts his son. But later, it is his trust in his son, that makes him a hero.
Okay…maybe I am making too much out of a very small father son episode (LIK hangover I suppose), but honestly that is the only positive I got out of the movie. Though the characters do have a few ‘intelligently humorous’ moments, none of those really stay with you after the movie is over. You hardly notice there is a fish in the movie who is trying to act funny, and if you do not have an unconditional affection for pigs, u will find the one in this movie annoying and overweight.
Go for this movie if you are too scared to see aeroplanes being smashed by a giant ape (in case of doubt…that sentence was supposed to be a sarcasm for KingKong)
But seriously, it will make more sense than any other movie running at i-max now. 

Written for sappenings groups.

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.

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.