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  • I studied film making at an old school designed during the Bauhaus movement in the 50s, built with the objective of safekeeping the traditional crafts of the country. It is the one piece of architecture I believe breathes, and has a curious mind of its own.

    Each classroom has a ledge opening outwards, students crisscross through the ledges to create routes skirting the outside of the building, to the watering holes, smoking spots, the spot facing the big tree, or leading to the canteen. All shortcuts end in spiral staircases.
    They tried removing them, but an unexpectedly united protest was launched by the students. Posters, graphics and a few abstract installations were stuck up all over the place, on most of the pillars, with odes to the spiral staircase expressed. The authorities never even got to see the protestors, the communication was enough, the spiral staircases were never taken down.
    I met some of my closest friends while taking these shortcuts.

    It's a building of concrete and brick. No paint used ever, except for the doors. We refrain from painting walls, unless of course you want to express something on it with paint. There is no internal wiring for the electric cables, over the years, as the number of appliances used by the institute increased, they began routing all the wires together in tight bunches strung to the side of the roof.
    It has always charged me to see the wiring just so.
    Like I wrote in a diary 4 years ago about the wiring.. 'It feels raw and waiting and responsible and truthful, stripped bare and tied together in knots. It feels like great things are possible, that things can be cleaned out, that many heads have leaned back against these very brick walls and thought the same.'
    The form of the building I believe lends itself to the people who live and breathe in them.
    We ended up being stripped bare and tied together in knots too, here.

    This photograph was shot during the Navratri festival, at the altar of the goddess Kali, erected by the students. All the idols were crafted of straw (like the traditional artisans make them in West Bengal), the floor was smeared a muddy brown, and like any good temple pooja session, left a perfect mix of chaos in its wake... flowers, burning incense, ghee, prasaad, any mythologist's semiotic fantasy, topped with an exploring cat.
    All this, in the folds of the concrete and brick building which tries picking patterns in a country where according to an old proverb, 'Every two miles the water doth change, and every four the dialect'.
    I understand the need for that plain base brick and concrete.
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