Shahpur Jat is a glittering ‘Urban Village’ located amidst the chaos and hustle bustle of South Delhi. ‘Urban Village’, the adjective itself sounds contrasting and from there everything you notice in the village is contrasting. From lifestyle, to colours, textures and even economic patterns.

Shahpur Jat - New Delhi

I have been there once before for a little while, when I had to meet an architect friend who also had a boutique there. The village appealed to me on my first visit itself and I left the place, promising myself that I would return soon.

I did it a few days ago with an intention to look at everything around carefully and from an Urban Design perspective.

It is right to call it an Urban Village, because there is an almost equal division in the class of the population living there.  Villagers own the properties and Urbane (Elite class) lease them for their boutiques, studios and cafes. If it gives an impression that the properties are available cheap at Shahpur Jat Village, you are wrong. A tiny boutique measuring about 30 Sq.M. would cost  somewhere around seventy thousand Indian rupees per month.

Shahpur Jat - New Delhi

Shahpur Jat - New Delhi

From the entrance to the village, it would appear that the village holds an equal importance that of the ASIAD games Village. Yes, for elite class it is an important place to own boutiques, studios and cafes and also for visitors from the same class. Shahpur Jat is a charming network of narrow and meandering lanes, which would make it difficult for cars to enter. Hence, much of it is workable and provides a marvelous opportunity to look around from human eye level.

Shahpur Jat - New Delhi

One would notice a contrasting texture of glass facades and unkempt brick fronts of houses. It doesn’t end there. Visuals continue to be a feast of contrasting elements like small grocery shops abutting a high end cafe and villagers roaming around freely on narrow paths sporting designer studios on either side.

Shahpur JatIMG_5037

Many small businesses, like tailoring shops and dyeing are distinctively visible within the same cone of vision that includes high end boutiques and showrooms.

I happen to chit chat with a local person there, who should be in his late twenties. He shared that he doesn’t really do anything for living. All his income comes from the rent that he receives from the boutique owners there. One would wonder, what value these young people with no real work to do, are adding to the society?

However, these contrasting cultures in the village have not done any harm to the harmonious life people are living. On the contrary, the contrast has led to a vibrant ‘rurban’ set up which portrays a glorious example of co-existence.

Architect: Charles Correa

          

This picture was taken last year. Diwali wishes to all Indians.

Happy Diwali-Rajesh Advani

With whatever little I know about the method of doing dissertation, what I am able to make out from this exercise is that students must be exposed to the processes of research, which includes data collection and analysis. To be able to do this students must select one topic to be studied in depth and start with a ‘hypothesis’.

Hypothesis, is an essence of any dissertation. It lets you start the process in some direction. Hypothesis is based on certain assumptions and all the evidence that one may already have. Unfortunately, in many cases, students are already convinced about the hypothesis and its conclusion. So their research is more focussed on proving the hypothesis right than wrong. They consciously ignore, eliminate and avoid the path that disagrees with their hypothesis.

Hypothesis may not only end with YES or NO. There could be something neutral, mean or beyond that. PO. PO was coined by Edward De Bono, which looks beyond YES and NO. PO, lets you explore more possibilities than just YES and NO, sometimes resulting into something unimaginable.

Teachers, guides and students must explore the possibilities of PO. Not having an answer at the end, or having a mean, or having a very different answer than Hypothesis is alright.

Trafficjamdelhi.jpgTrafficjamdelhi” by NOMAD – http://www.flickr.com/photos/lingaraj/2415084235/sizes/l/. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

This morning  I was supposed to meet an important person who holds a very high position in the Indian Government office. The discussion would have only lasted about 15-20 minutes, I am sure. Considering the traffic in Delhi in morning hours,  the time spent commuting would have been about three hours. Three hours of commuting for fifteen minutes of meeting. Waste of 150 minutes. But, the matter was important and the appointment was set.

I decided to call up the person in morning to confirm the meeting before starting from home, as many times I have experienced the last-minute cancellations specially with people from Government offices. The person on other end asked my location and the time it will take for me to reach his place. After hearing my answers, he asked me promptly “Can’t we then just discuss it over phone?” I was surprised. I never saw that coming. Seriously. Matter was equally important for him. He surely wasn’t trying to avoid meeting me. In fact the matter was more important for him than me.

He continued, “You can later send me an email on whatever we have discussed. I will look into the matter.”

I agreed happily. We talked for about 10 minutes on the matter, and the meeting was over.

Now, if only we could do justice to the technology around us, we will save many man hours every day that can be put to better use. Surely, we will also be helping environment a lot.We have phones, Skype, emails and more where meetings could happen. We will be causing lesser traffic jams, and frustration thus health problems.

My wish is to travel across India, before I die. I prefer travelling by train over road or air. Air is my last priority. One gets to see the real India on stations, in second class railway compartments and more in general class. Of course there is India which is also. traveling by upper class (air-conditioned, three-tier and above). But, majority of India travels by general class and sleeper class and many times without reservations and tickets. Some pictures from my last travel:

RAJ_8317

My recent visit to Lotus Temple in Delhi wasn’t very exciting for some reasons. One, the premises have very odd timings, 9:00 Hrs. to 19:00 Hrs. In Morning by the time it opens, the natural light isn’t any more suitable for photography, and in evening it is too early to get good silhouettes. Another reason is high turnout of tourists on weekends, you need to be too patient with each one of them. Someone or other keeps coming into the frame.

Nevertheless, Out of about 100 odd clicks, I managed to get few silhouettes, worth sharing here. The other temple that you see in pictures below is ISKON Temple, as viewed from Lotus Temple.

Lotus Temple, ISKON Temple  Lotus Temple, ISKON Temple