Category Archives: Uncategorized

Notes on teaching, Feb 2016

There’s a lot on my plate and yet, instead of weeding my part-time teaching work out of my already nonsensically crazy schedule, I sign up for these commitments semester after semester. Up until now, I’ve been advising students of architecture on two specific research components of the Bachelors in Architecture curriculum- the dissertation and the research seminar. This year, for the first time, the School of Planning and Architecture has introduced a research component to the final year design project, known as the thesis. This is new territory for all of us and it’s going to be challenging and hopefully interesting. Those were my thoughts this afternoon as I drove into college.

Thinking through the research requirements for my group of eight final year students is a time consuming task. I listen patiently (that doesn’t come easily to me), understand each student’s motivational landscape and then offer targeted advise. Some students are very high on motivation, others are blessed with clarity and the ability to structure; still others are completely under-confident and lost. While guidance needs to be offered to each individual, I find students face similar problems regardless of their abilities and some common guiding principles are very valuable. So is the opportunity to cross-learn from each others’ struggles.

Three basic tenets have served me well in my short sojourn as a teacher. One, treat students as responsible adults. Assume that they know what they are doing. Remind them that their action and inaction has consequences that they must be responsible for. Of course, this does not mean that they always take responsibility or produce work of quality. No, that varies. But it does mean they are more responsive to what you are trying to say.

Two, show genuine interest in their motivations, however banal. I find judgmental attitudes towards students only puts barriers between the teacher and the taught and impedes progress. Sometimes the starting point is not an indication of how far the kid can go.

Three, approach teaching with a sense of humour. Making light of embarrassing mistakes and using funny examples to illustrate situations go a long way in breaking the formality of the teacher-student relationship.

An additional, and perhaps defensive strategy, is to keep expectations low and build them as you get to know students better. I teach students at the end of their time at SPA. By this time, its hard to change their self-perceptions or push them to break out of habits already formed. One can try, of course and instead of worrying about falling standards and changed levels of commitment, I consciously choose to appreciate how increased exposure can create inter-disciplinary linkages in how students now look at issues. If even a handful emerge the ability to tackle problem solving smartly and sensitively, it’ll be gratification enough!

 

My Christmas in 2015

Udai’s Christmas was very exciting this year! Check it out…

theamazingud

My Christmas this year was an experience I thoroughly enjoyed. My family and I went to visit my mother’s friend’s house. Kimberly is my mama’s friend from work and she with her mother, Jean, and father, Wilson, invited us to their home in Mumbai to celebrate Christmas.

The Noronhas are Catholics and so began my experience of an actual Christmas. My previous Christmas experiences consisted of getting a tree inside the house, going to sleep jumpy on Christmas eve, then waking up on Christmas morning and opening my gifts. This, however was a different experience maybe not so much because of the things I did, but maybe because of the way I did the things and the mood of the event.

These were things we did-

  1. We set up the tree and put a lot of decorations on it. Unlike the tree back home this tree looked extremely good. We also…

View original post 263 more words

2015 in review, from WP

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 35,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 13 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Competition Alert! FILM CITY TOWER MUMBAI : BOLLYWOOD RE-IMAGINED

Urban Design Collective

Film city tower_main graphic

archasm invites architects, students, engineers, designers, artists and philosophers to send in their entries for our competition.
Idea based competition
Single stage competition
Team of maximum three members
No professional qualification necessary for eligibility
Teams can be interdisciplinary

Mumbai, or erstwhile Bombay is the largest metropolis of India and an answer to the likes of Shanghai, London or New York. It is the financial capital and trade epicentre of the country, a city of lifestyles and narratives. The ‘Maximum City’ of Bombay is renowned all over the globe for the enormity and surrealism of BOLLYWOOD, which is the nickname given to the Hindi language Film Industry located in the city. The industry has come a long way and bloomed since its inception, to a multi-billion dollar industry, only second in capacity to its American cousin, Hollywood. Bollywood is a goliath in terms of revenue generation and employment, both direct and…

View original post 1,021 more words

Congratulations winners! #TheCityasMuse

I’m absolutely delighted to announce the winners of #TheCityasMuse contest. The idea of the contest was to provide a space to express the feelings that we all have for the cities we experience or imagine. All the entries were great efforts at writing and illustrating cities. I played a minuscule rule in judging entries, but the judges were unanimous in selecting the pieces that deserved more credit than others. So without further ado….. here goes!

WINNER

[Prize: Amazon gift coupon worth $100, hard copy of The Heat and Dust Project by Devapriya Roy and Sourav Jha + entry shared as guest post on Rambling in the City]

Rohan Patankar for Notes from B.Town, text and illustrations

RUNNERS’ UP

[Prizes, each: Amazon gift coupon worth $30, hard copy of The Heat and Dust Project by Devapriya Roy and Sourav Jha + entry shared as guest post on Rambling in the City]

Ramesh K for Bohemian in Bangalore, poetry inspired by Ogden Nash

Divya Agrawal for her untitled entry on Jaipur, text and illustrations

Vitasta Raina for Karol Bagh, poetry

Rikhia Pal for A World-Map folded into several layers- Travelogue of the Point I reached, prose

SPECIAL MENTIONS

[Will feature as guest post on Rambling in the City]

Nupur Chaturvedi for Gurgaon, poetry

Ashmi Ahluwalia for her untitled piece of fiction

Devaansh Singh for his untitled fantasy piece

Antara Choudhury for My City, prose

Shweta Sinha for A city fit for Royals, prose

Dear winners, I will be reaching out to you via email to share some feedback and ask for your mailing address in the case of the 5 who get the book. Your prizes will get to you soon.

Dear readers, I hope you enjoy the winning entries. Look forward to your comments and feedback.

FIELD URBANISM [a book review + recommendation]

Really interesting. We need newer ways to think about cities and this seems to be a good way to begin…

{FAVEL issues}

All (urban) fields are (urban) fabrics but not all (urban) fabrics are (urban) fields.

For this post I want to talk about a fascinating book that just came out, Changing Chinese Cities: The Potentials of Field Urbanism. The author, Renee Chow, is not only a Prof. of Architecture at UC Berkeley and Principle at StudioUrbis, but she was my supervisor while I did my graduate studies at Berkeley, and continues to be a mentor and friend. Aside from having a personal relationship with the author and the research done, I have to say, in the most objective way I can, that this book is full of thoughtful analysis, reflecting a new understanding of the potentials of urban fabrics, and more particularly of field urbanisms.

field urbanisms

The book offers case studies, essays, and design explorations (illustrations and diagrams) of Chinese cities to demonstrate how field urbanism can identify the…

View original post 571 more words

Karachi: The City That Was – 1

More inspiration for those who are still struggling to pen their thoughts for #TheCityasMuse contest! Nostalgia and Karachi….

TheSouthAsianIdea Weblog

By Ahmed Kamran

Yeh laash-e be-kafan Asad-e khasta jaan ki hai
Haq maghfarat kare ajab azad mard tha! (Ghalib)

If Karachi could be likened to a man, with a little liberty taken from Ghalib, this couplet could be a very appropriate epitaph for the tombstone of Karachi, the city that was! This is a series of some musings on the social and cultural aspects of the history of Karachi; how the city’s life was developed and transformed over time. It focuses on the period of 1960s and 1970s when I was young and had many dreams. What was the Karachi that my generation had inherited and what it is today? These writings have a clear ring of nostalgia. Paul Getty said, ‘Nostalgia often leads to idle speculation’. Indeed, nostalgia is distractive, breeds inaction, and, often, depression. But like some sweet-bitter memory of childhood or a sad song or a symphony…

View original post 2,837 more words

The life and times of a b**g*r

Of all Udai’s writings, I’ve enjoyed this the most. He really wanted to write about b**g*rs!!

theamazingud

I was born in somebody’s nostrils. A dark, damp place filled with our homes. When I slept I dreamt of light. I thought that my home was peaceful and I would live forever in this place.

But the next day I saw the monstrous thing. It picked up my brother. ‘It’s going to eat him up’, I thought. It flicked my brother on to the carpet. ‘How rude!’ I thought. I found that this monstrous thing or ‘the finger’ won’t leave us alone.

One day I woke up to find myself in the gutter. I stayed there for weeks and weeks. I was saved by water missiles that poured down from the skies. Next day ice and water missiles rained from the skies. I saw a massive strangely shaped giant running. Those missiles must be deadly for him to be in such a hurry.

After some months, the…

View original post 44 more words

My Ramzan food journey to Matiah Mahal, Jama Masjid

Udai pens down his recent gastronomical journey to Matia Mahal during Ramzan…. Enjoy and yes, your mouth will water!

theamazingud

Ramzan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. In this month, every able-bodied man, woman and teenager is supposed to fast. From dawn to sunset nothing is allowed to touch their tongues. After seeing the moon and doing Namaz they can eat whatever they want till sunrise.

A few weeks ago, I went to Old Delhi to try all the various delicacies made during Ramzan. I went by metro with my father’s friend Ruzeveh. The metro was very, very crowded. My father was waiting for me when I got to the Chowri Bazaar metro station. We walked till Jama Masjid and after some time entered Matiah Mahal.

We had seekh kebabs and beef boti at Lalu Kebabee; brain curry, tandoori roti and Nihari at Haji Shabrati; biryani at Tofiq Biryani; mango ice-cream, and kesar milk and Firni  at a shop opposite Karim’s. We drank lassi at Khabo Lassi too. I liked…

View original post 42 more words

Changing gears: Can the open defecation conversation move beyond subliminal patriarchal messaging?

My co-authored post with Kimberly Noronha on how we need to talk about the ‘real’ stuff when it comes to toilets and open defecation! being stuck at women’s honour has worked only in conjunction with ground level effort. It’s time to change the conversation

CPR Urban blog

By Mukta Naik and Kimberly Noronha, both Senior Researchers at CPR

In today’s fast paced, slogan-driven policy environment, the pressure by the political masters (and indeed, the polity) on the bureaucracy to deliver on promises is enormous. The Prime Minister’s declaration of a “Swachh Bharat” by October 2019, complete with the status of an Open-Defecation Free (ODF) India is a commendable goal. But in a scenario of tight deadlines, the temptation is to pluck low hanging fruit, which in this case is women’s dignity and honour.

niti ayog Photo: Creative Commons License

We live in a patriarchal society; we don’t have to like it, but that is a fact. Patriarchal values are structured around women’s position and identity in society relative to men – largely linked to control over women’s sexuality. The protection of women’s dignity is linked to the honour of the household in particular, and the community at large under…

View original post 1,028 more words

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,808 other followers

%d bloggers like this: