Postcard From… Berlin

ramblinginthecity:

Good to be a part of Emily’s lovely blog again!

Originally posted on emilyluxton:

Welcome to this week’s Postcard From – the feature where I chat to some lucky explorer about their recent travels. If you would like to take part please get in touch – eluxton@hotmail.co.uk or @em_luxton – I would love to hear from you!

This week, I’m welcoming back Mukta Naik, whose Postcard From Istanbul is still one of my most popular ones to date! An architect and urban Postcard From Berlinplanner based in India, Mukta says “I work to rid cities of problems (ha! Wishful thinking!)”. She also spends a lot of time blogging at Rambling in the City, passionately pursuing classical dance, travelling and dreaming about travelling, and she has “two adorable children who motivate me and keep my on my toes”.

Welcome back Mukta! Where have you been lately?

We visited Berlin this summer, by ‘we’ I mean my husband Rahul, me and our two children- Udai is a…

View original 956 more words

Fraternising with geographers at the #RGSIBG14

Up until a few months ago, I didn’t consider my work or my research as geography. I had not realised that the boundaries of the discipline of geography had stretched here, there and seemingly everywhere. This has been driven home by my time at the Royal Geographical Society’s annual conference in London, where I’ve met geographers who theorise, practice, those who influence policy and many who work closely with communities. As an urban planner, I’ve been looked at as a part of the geography fraternity and not really outside it. I’ve wondered about how Indian academia works in silos, right at the other end of what I’m seeing here, which is frighteningly inclusive!

It’s not only the range of topics that has been interesting, but also the people. A young man from Slovenia is working on a PhD that looks at the interests of those who own small-scale forests. A woman from Jamaica is studying water security. A German bloke is looking at religion and city making in Ecuador. I’ve gathered a bunch of heavy theoretical terms that don’t roll off my tongue easily, but that I’m sure will help me anchor my often wandering thoughts.

I have been fascinated by the range of methodologies I’ve been exposed to and am thinking of dedicating a separate post to just that when I return. Especially the use of visual methods of data gathering and analysis were fascinating for me, with my architectural background.It has also been a good opportunity to bounce off my own experiences and ideas with people, find synergies but also alternative ways of looking at situations. I’ve found solace in the confusions and frustrations of fellow researchers and practitioners as well!I’m presenting tomorrow, on the final day of the conference on migration decisions of youth in the context of a small city and right now, I’m struggling to fit everything I want to say into 15 minutes! Not a nice way to spend my evening in London, but what can one say…you gotta do what you gotta do!

Documenting grief: A grey area?

A young girl I knew died recently. She had a short, tragic and extremely painful experience with cancer and being present for her cremation was one of the most poignant and emotionally intense experiences of my lifetime. Call it a miracle that God gifted us, but I found it more painful that my memories of my own father’s passing, which have faded and acquired a patina of sweet and self-indulgent nostalgia over time.

At the cremation, some relatives were busy taking videos and pictures of the entire ceremony on a smart phone. Initially, they were unabashed but our shocked and angry stares made them do it surreptitiously, for a bit, till they stopped altogether. That got me thinking about a bunch of stuff. About the appropriateness and ethics associated with documenting the experience of extreme grief and anguish. About how the availability of technology can mess with our minds.

And yet, some of the best portraits I have seen, and even taken, are those that capture a moment of grief, or that have been taken when someone is recalling a past experience that was painful.

It’s a grey area from an ethical perspective. I see grief as one of the most normal and beautiful of human experiences. I don’t consider it taboo to capture it, share it, relive it even. And yet, its a tight rope walk to decide when it is ok and when the act of documentation can cross the lines of comfort and propriety.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The weaving traditions of Tamilnadu

ramblinginthecity:

And a post about handloom saris in the Chettinad…also on mum’s blog.

Originally posted on sitanaiksblog:

Every region of this country has its own unique weaving traditions. Many of us who grew up wearing cotton sarees through the hot and long summers, came to recognize the origins from the design, style and texture of the weave. From the Muga and Eri silks of Assam, the Chanderis,  Benarsi, Paithani, Kanchipurams – the list can go on and on. And buying a saree in the local weave is on the agenda, where ever I travel in the country. So, our travel in Tamilnadu led us to the local weavers.

Hand looms are an integral part of the livelihood in many of the villages and towns in and around Kumbakonam, Thanjavur etc. So in Kumbakonam, we visited the house of Mr Kamsan,  who had his loom in the front verandah of his house. Hand weaving is the family tradition, and he now has 60 odd looms around Kumbakonam. These…

View original 587 more words

Hand made in India

ramblinginthecity:

Hand-crafted things are beautiful. In India, there’s something earthy and exquisite everywhere you look! Here’s a post from my mum on Tanjavur’s paintings and tile work!

Originally posted on sitanaiksblog:

Handicrafts are a great tradition in our country and every region has something unique on offer. These have been beautifully described in an exhaustive book Handmade in India, by two NID, Ahmedabad Professors. My recent sojourn through Tamilnadu took me to Thanjavur and Karaikuri.  Thanjavur is rich in handicraft traditions, being famous for the wooden Tanjore doll, (the one which shakes all over, if touched), bronze statuary (which they have been making since the Chola times), bell metal lamps, art plates and of course the well recognized Thanjavur painting.

The Tanjore doll, which adorns the front of many South Indian restaurants held no attraction. Neither did the brass statuary or lamps, which I already had at home. So after the visit to the temples and other sites, we made it to a recommended Thanjavur painting center. Mr Ganesh of the Balaji Arts and Crafts was a pleasant young man…

View original 528 more words

The great living Chola temples – another heritage site

ramblinginthecity:

The heritage in India never fails to boggle the mind! A delve into the Chola temples….

Originally posted on sitanaiksblog:

Its been over a year since my visit to Bhimbetaka  near Bhopal – which was no 18 on list of 23 World heritage cultural sites . And this time, I could make it to Thanjavur to see the Chola temples. We took the train to Kumbakonam – a 6 hr journey – and stayed at one of the new eco-resorts in the area. The site includes three great 11th  and 12th century Shiva Temples built by the Cholas: the Brihadisvara Temple at Thanjavur, the Brihadisvara Temple at Gangaikonda Cholapuram and the Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram.

On the first evening, we visited Gangaikonda Cholapuram. The temple was  built by Rajendra I (1012 -1044 CE) the son of Raja Raja Chola  following his  great victorious march to river Ganges. He assumed the name of Gangaikonda Cholan (the Chola who had seen the Ganga) and  hence the name. The structure was completed in…

View original 523 more words

Amsterdam

ramblinginthecity:

Here’s another short and sweet post from my (not so) little blogger….

Originally posted on theamazingud:

We went to many places on our holidays Amsterdam is one of them . There we went to the Nemo museum. It is a science museum for children. It is a very interesting place where you can find out many, many things and there is a lot to do. It is designed in the shape of a ship, a big blue one.
We also went to a flea market from where we got lots of things like stickers and metal owls!
THE NEMO MUSEUM!

THE NEMO MUSEUM!

Bubble blowing!

Bubble blowing!

going to blow bubbles!

going to blow bubbles!

working hard to move up and down.

working hard to move up and down.

oldest thing I have ever touched, a piece of a meteor!

oldest thing I have ever touched, a piece of a meteor!

listening

listening

museum made robot!

museum made robot!

metal owl from flea market

metal owl from flea market

View original

The Broken City Model of Urban Growth

ramblinginthecity:

Valid thought! We need to fix our cities before they break and if they are already broken, what then?

Originally posted on Decisions, Decisions, Decisions:

Are some cities so ‘broken’ that they are prohibitively expensive to fix?

That thought has occurred to me considering the growth of Dubai, where its problems are being fixed, too late maybe, and at too great a cost if they were fixed earlier, and probably the much needed public transport and other investment is not occurring at a rate fast enough to overcome the problems caused by rapid growth.

There are examples of cities that have grown so fast and with so little public investment that the urban dis-economies of scale (congestion) are higher than the urban economies of agglomeration which drives city growth.  In those cases the growth of a city slows down as the city simply cannot afford, without very high local taxes, to continue growing at the same rate, and attempting to tax at this level can lead to a downward fiscal spiral, of the kind we…

View original 234 more words

My actions do matter, making sense amid chaos #MyDearAmericans #Sikhism #identity

One of the most viewed posts on my blog is my experience of visiting the Virasat-e-Khalsa Museum at Anandpur Sahib in Punjab. This morning, as I logged in to WordPress and saw that this post from  October 2012 was once again viewed and that too, from someone in North America, I began to imagine the kind of person who would search for information on the museum. Sikh immigrants of course, besides students of architecture and those researching museums of culture. What’s more interesting is that Moshe Safdie, who designed the museum, is of Israeli origin. It’s confusing, these cultural and nationalistic identities. It’s tough to be accepting and think beyond the stereotypes propagated around you.

I thought about this film- My Dear Americans, made by my friend Arpita and how, in a very short span of time, it explores the overlap between cultural and religious identity and human individuality.

In its own way, the film tells us that we need to think about who we are and what kind of a world we want to live in and how we can, with our own small actions, create a world we love. Disturbed intensely by all the violence in the world- the rapes, the killings at Gaza and the shooting down of another Malaysian Airlines plane- and struggling with how to reconcile these with the daily ups and downs of our lives, I see films like these as slices of truth. Small vignettes that keep me sane, that tell me that life is complex and that, despite its overwhelming complexity, my actions (however small) do matter.

You can help My Dear Americans win at the 2014 PBS online film festival by voting for it here

 

 

Anurag Kashyap Explains His Stand – On Rape, Feminism, His Short Film and more

ramblinginthecity:

Some important points in Kashyap’s interview. His discussion on rape is very nuanced and interesting. I learnt a lot from it. And his claim that films just tell stories and we interpret them the way we like is something all viewers ought to remember.

Originally posted on F.i.g.h.t C.l.u.b:

anurag--300x300Dear All,

When I am not making movies – which is thankfully rarely – my favourite pastime is to get fundamentally quoted without the context. Blame the lack of space in newspapers today with all those advertisements accounting for most of it. It helps to keep our conversation going, you see. And it has happened again. My whole conversation has been reduced to one line that’s being knocked around, “rape is a bad accident says anurag kashyap”

Fun though it is, I think it’s time I speak for myself and not let some out-of-context quote in a paper, or an edited version of a half-an-hour conversation do the talking.

Sitting here in Karlovy Vary I have been inundated with texts and mails about an interview of mine, that has of course, as always, been completely misread.  It does not help that a long conversation has been reduced to a paragraph…

View original 1,893 more words