November 30, 2014

5 Most Frustrating Things to happen to an Architect

    It's definitely fun to design buildings, sit at fine teak drawing boards, work with the latest tech and big screens that make every presentation look fabulous. The daily life of an architect can be as much fun as it can be frustrating. Here are the top five things that drives every architect crazy at some point.

#5. Your trial period has expired. 

       I'll have to admit, not all of us have the monetary resources to buy original software. Especially if it's for every computer in the office, but then again there's all the free software to go around thanks to those very generous souls at 'The pirate Bay'. We go to the elaborate intricacies of tricking the computers to stop syncing the date and day so we get an extended extended extended trial period. Then one day we, almost by reflex, start up some software while connected to the internet. BUSTED!!! In a matter of seconds, every single 'important' software begins to ask you for a serial number and product key simultaneously. Now you can't get any work done because all of the software's trial period expired two years ago and you need to reinstall every one of them. Bah. Humbug.   

#4. Meeting advanced to a few days earlier. 

      So, you've planned an elaborate dinner with that special someone. You've made reservations, dressed up in your favorite outfit, cut back on lunch to save up space for dinner and then it happens. You receive that dreaded phone call/email informing you that a meeting that wasn't to take place in weeks was suddenly being advanced to the next morning due to unforeseen circumstances. Now you have to cancel plans and prepare yourself for a really long night at the office trying to get all the work done. Frustrating isn't it?

#3. Plotter is out of ink. 

Just when you wanted to print, say about twenty odd drawings, the faithful printer that worked perfectly until a minute ago decides to notify you about the dangerously low ink levels. You decide to TRY and print anyway with the low ink levels and end up with half a page printed and the rest all blank. Oh B(R)OTHER! Pun intended.  

#2. AutoCAD is unresponsive.

You are furiously 'cadding' away the last few precious hours right before a meeting or viva voce exam. You are desperate for something substantial to show and then it happens. Your AutoCAD throws the 'unresponsive' warning at your face almost taunting your inefficiency. Well, thanks for that AutoCAD. You are such a great help. 

#1. Forgot to Ctrl+S.  

     This really deserves #1 slot. It will want to make you tear your hair our in frustration when you realize that none of your progress has been saved after you've fixed your unresponsive AutoCAD file because you were so engrossed in filling in hatches inside columns in plan and you forgot to Ctrl+S every ten minutes. Whats worse is that most of the time the hatch is the reason AutoCAD crashes in the first place.
     At this point you might as well just go sleep. You're doomed after this so why bother!  

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November 29, 2014


      Strepsils India has a campaign underway to raise awareness on Cleanliness, basically promoting Swach Bharat. Through their page Ab Montu Bolega, Strepsils India is encouraging bloggers and public to raise their voice against any place that requires cleaning or people that need attention.
     Click on the link for more details  or visit the Strepsils India page on Facebook and Twitter. The links are as follows:

      I travel frequently by public transport which many a time requires me to cross a busy road because a bus stop or metro station is on the other side. I have had no choice but to take the subway ,at times, to the other side as its dangerous to walk across an arterial road during peak hour. Whenever I took the subway, I would always be twice as alert, holding up my handkerchief or the end of my dupatta to my face as I walked through it in long hurried strides. I would invariably be ambushed by hawkers selling flowers or little trinkets who persistently followed me edging me on to purchase something so they could 'feed their starving babies'. I would have to hop over drains that would appear out of no where or sleeping stray dogs or dodge an occasional bat or pigeon that would swoop past me. 
     When people mention 'subways' the mental image that most of us have is a dingy dark underground tunnel which smells of urine and where most illegal deals go down. Having traveled to many of the metropolitan cities across India I can say with much confidence that Subways in most cities are not maintained what so ever. They are crawling with rodents and beggars looking for shelter. They turn into reservoirs of water during the monsoons and remain water logged even much after the rains.
     Its not uncommon to notice the various posters advertising help with personal problems and promoting 'health' supplements. The walls are caked with layers of 'pan' juice and graffiti isn't a very pleasant sight for anyone walking through. Most subways also lack sufficient ventilation and has almost no sunlight coming in and are potential breeding grounds for a lot of disease and infection.    
     As a part of a Urban Design project in the city that I was part of in college, subways were reviewed for the number of daily commuters that used it and what they felt about them. The majority of the people chose to cross a busy main road and put their life at risk than walk through a stinking subway. Women avoided subways fearing their safety. Subways are like the human esophagus with a strep infection badly in need of lozenges. #abmontubolega.
Our cities would be so much better if its little nooks and crannies were taken care of. It is as important as cleaning behind your ears.  

Here's hoping that this campaign manages to make a difference. Kudos on the effort so far.   

November 28, 2014

Give Us This Day Our Daily Brew

         A popular tagline - 'A lot can happen over coffee.' Most of us are bound to assume the 'lot' to mean progressing love stories. If we can fall in love with people over a cup of coffee can we not fall in love with a "SPACE"?   
          Once a friend and I were walking along an almost desolate St.Marks Road on a pleasant Sunday morning in Bangalore. Many of the popular watering holes were shutting down or cleaning up from the previous night. We had a long day planned ahead and we were looking for a place to grab a hot cup of tea. I, for that matter, like many people, cannot begin my day without my hot cup of tea. We stopped every few buildings to stare into our smartphones, looking for a place to have breakfast as joggers ran past us and mongrels stood looking longingly for a biscuit or two. 
         The popular restaurant-finder app that we were using finally showed us two places - one being a popular sandwich joint and the other being the 'Indian Coffee House'. After a long debate we finally decided on the coffee house.Coffee is always a good idea! 
          The Indian Coffee House was tucked away in a commercial complex. It had the ambiance of a private club during the Raj. I could imagine scenes where revolts were being planned in hushed tones and gentleman exchanged pleasantries over cups of steaming hot beverages. The furniture was simple, perhaps colonial and so were the archways. 
          The first thing that hit me while I entered the dining area was the rich welcoming smell of freshly brewed coffee. My friend wasn't a romantic like I was and was more interested in the menu. A waiter in his vintage coffee house uniform took our orders, nodded in agreement and disappeared into the dimly lit kitchen. I looked around the room, which was relatively empty, observing the customers. Some of them seemed like regulars who sat at their usual corners or window seats and scribbled away in their leather bound books while they waited for their food to arrive. Some sat sipping on their brew reading bestsellers or talking to colleagues or friends. 
         I could feel the culture and creativity surround me - so much positive energy.The Indian Coffee House seemed to be a place that might have inspired some of the best literary works or ad jingles. I absolutely loved every passing minute. Our brews arrived ; the food was wholesome and lip smacking. Now the coffee house was dealing with a steady flow of families stepping in for Sunday brunch. We drank, ate, paid our bills and left. 
         I love this place so much that I made up my mind to make this a must-go place during my future visits to Bangalore. 
        I would encourage every other romantic and creative person like myself to spend some time at the 'Indian Coffee House'. I guarantee you will LOVE it too. 

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Drink Some Coffee. LOVE. Weave a story. and Be #IndiSpire(d).        

November 27, 2014

Cause I love you, just the way you look tonight.

Chennai at Night

"Lights will guide you home,
And ignite your bones...."
                     Fix you, Coldplay

         For me the best part of a journey by flight between cities has always been that moment when the pilot hovers for a few minutes over the ground, preparing to land. The first few moments before landing, while I stare out of the tiny aircraft window, all I see is the vast ocean of black, a void, a sort of vortex that one would travel through to another dimension. The vortex seems to be dragging you deeper and deeper when, suddenly, there emerges from the endless darkness a couple of tiny twinkling lights. A few moments later, those few tiny lights seem to have grown into a multitude; into big and small, bright and dim colonies.            At this moment the aircraft is gently cruising through thin clouds at a height and angle that is perfect for one to see the profile of their city - the wide highways and railway lines, criss-crossing like the veins in a human hand and looking further, the intricate pattern created by the smaller streets and roof tops. Unlike the day time, the 'night city' does not distract you with the browns and greens of the topography. The night city is like a sky with constellations, connect the lights and you will identify landmarks - major buildings and bridges. 
"Cop lights, flash lights, spot lights,
Strobe lights, streets lights,
All of the lights."
                  All of the lights, Kanye West

         A lot of us often look up to the night sky from our bedroom windows or balconies and gaze at the ethereal beauty of the millions of stars twinkling and blinking like decoration on a Christmas tree. Those who live in the upper floors of a building are people who, I would say, are fortunate enough to experience the best of both : the 'night sky' and the 'night city'. 
         A view, at night, from a flyover or from an overhead metro or just simply from an apartment on the fifth floor is a different experience. This view may not portray the grandeur of the night city from ten thousand feet but what you will see is a silhouette of the skyline against the soft glow of incandescent light. At the horizon beyond the silhouette, the night sky meets the night city to merge into infinity. 

         As a part of the construction industry and having gone through a formal architectural education I have been lucky enough to see and experience things that the average person would not, even in his wildest dreams. Taking strolls at unearthly hours of the day in order to get a little inspiration or to just relax a while during an all-nighter has almost become a usual activity. These night strolls take me through streets which, during the hustle and bustle of the day, I would not have paid much attention to. The lonely streets, illuminated by the dull street lights, exuded an eerie yet tranquil aura which seemed so inviting. The 'night city' had its own tense yet laid-back pace. It is as if, while the people were asleep, the city was preparing for all the activity of the coming day. No doubt, I fallen truly in love with the 'night city'.

"It's hard to believe that there's nobody out there.
It's hard to believe that I'm all alone. 
At least I have her love, the city, she loves me
Lonely as I am, together we cry."
                   City of Angels, Red Hot Chili Peppers.  

Step out after hours and experience the other side of your city. Let the 'night city' take your breath away.        

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November 26, 2014

5 Signs That a Deadline is Round the Corner

Its been a while since I wrote a post and apologies for the long absence. Its been traumatic in the last couple of months but now I am back to churning out some fun articles in the coming days.

Whether or not you plan your course of work up to a deadline the last minute frenzy is almost inevitable. Even if you have all your work done the tense atmosphere before a deadline is always infectious. Most of us will have that uneasy feeling deep down of not having done enough. 
Read on for the 5 Signs of a deadline round the corner. 

#1. Here a cup, there a cup, everywhere a cup cup!

Caffeine is the answer to pre-submission panic so anyone living with an architect/ architecture student would notice a proportionate increase in the number of coffee mugs piling up on the work table. This generally means pulling an all-nighter because we desperately need to get something together for a review which is in less than 12 hours. What can be better than those dozens of cups of coffee to keep us awake?

#2. Inactivity/ Over activity on Social Networking sites.

Anyone who has architect friends on social networking sites might occasionally find their news feed flooded with random posts about music, movies and midnight snacks? Definitely a night before a submission. There seems to be no progress on the work front so Facebook and Twitter seems to be the best place to get some inspiration. On the other hand, you may find your hyperactive architect friend go into an indefinite period of hibernation because they just realized they had a whole lot of stuff to get done in order to pass the review the next day.

#3. Doubts about what day and date it is.

The last few days before a review/submission is always a blur. Practically every hour counts. So you will find some of us asking what day it is just so we are absolutely sure we aren't running out of time. Its absolutely normal for an arch student to ask you if its 7AM or 7PM. 


You've probably smirked at those girls in adverts for concealer and BB creams with over exaggerated dark circles. Spot your architect friend looking like Wednesday from the Adam's Family? That friend has had less than three hours of sleep in the last 72 hours and believe me ain't nobody got time for makeup. Dark Circles are so Rad anyway. 

#5. Dude. Where's my phone? 

Your architect friend has not answered your call in the last two days. Do not panic. His phone is probably lost under a pile of cardboard or rolls of paper or just hasn't been put to charge in a days. A frantic search for the buried phone will start as soon as the need to call the plotters arises or maybe when the alarm goes off. You can be sure a deadline is a few hours away. 

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