Friday, May 28, 2010

TAIN Design

House on the hill top

Everything I want the world to is now coming true especially for me….I am on the top of the world looking down at creations and the only explanation I can find…Carpenters could sure have not got it better than this! A place on top of the world is all one can dream of so why hold back….live your aspiration…

So if you do not want the conventional, but, a platform for the jaw dropping view then what better option…? So next time you find the right picnic spot where you but want to settle down then go for it…

Sitting atop amongst the picturesque hills and a beautiful view of the meadows, you sip your evening tea….the sun setting by and the birds returning home…..the clear cloudless sky……you for once forget that you are not dreaming….

Grumble Mumble

I need space when I am at mastering the way to my man’s heart do I not?
So well planned kitchens with space well managed can be the women’s ultimate salvation. The layout for a good kitchen will be either a straight line, L-shaped, U-shape or a galley style. Storage space, amount of work surface, equipment and appliances you need will all be well looked after. So you the kinds who just love to entertain guest at home….well need for extra storage for food equipment is going to be never ending, special china, lass and serving dishes and a greater than average area for preparation is going to be on the consistent demand. But on the other hand if you are catering to food buffs then storage for food will gain priority on your list. So trying to deal with storage then, open shelves, base units and wall units will be the answer. A love triangle of the unique kind is formed with the stove, wash basin and the storage units….in this case none is dispensable…and they but form the perfect match. Now the kitchen no longer is going to be the place where you dread being….its going to be your perfect place for working to create those delicious treats for the ones you love.

Now MANage

Give it a thought….if the new age man can be called a homemaker then the alien would be from earth wouldn’t he?

So do not be surprised if I tell you that a man is now capable of doing up his own house….so voila…I learnt to place a flower vase in the correct place and fortunately learnt the correct use… did not attempt to play baseball with it….unbelievable…I matched the bed cover with the curtain.. I understood the utility of a sofa and did not mistake it for my bed…I am the new age man and can proudly call myself a home maker ….yes you heard correct a maker not wreaker!

Oh! Well I do not advocate a stay at home daddy….all I say is that….even a bachelor should know how to keep his stuff well so that the house can be called a home. Driven by the need to not only have a house to live in but the fact that it reflects your lifestyle, it makes it an absolute necessity to keep your space in style.

Drool over the pool

With the mercury levels rising, what better way to cool your self than a hip and happening pool party! So do not be amazed if it gets even hotter with the glam bods and hot outfits….but for this Bodilicious treat…you need to have the perfect pool, the perfect location and a barbecue is on the charts! So get it all ready, with the pool that is a reflection of your own taste. Floating pool chairs, floats, lounge chairs, pool lights and fountains, the in-pool side accessories is going to make your party hard to miss.

So not only will they make a great reason to throw a party, but will also convert your basic backyard spot a location for your ultimate family entertainment activity. Make your pool more accessible, attractive, and more versatile. Thus this investment can make your fun time in the pool more safe and enjoyable. Give it a thought; the test of enjoyment is the remembrance that it leaves behind…so got to make this an unforgettable experience!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A movie to remember…..

For the movie buffs I found a perfect catch…fair and square the movie is perfect for a watch while you have it to catch up some good stuff! The Apartment directed by Billy Wilder in 1960, is movie that has a perfect theme as a movie directed by a person of such caliber is expected….but what interests me the most is that the whole movie is set to revolve in and around the apartment. Complete genius on part of the script writer as for not the name…..somebody would wonder….did that movie have the protagonist as ….the apartment?

The plot spells out a man using his apartment as a stepping stone to success and how the tables turn to complicate issues for him and steal the love of him life and destiny that finally brings them back together. A movie that got five Oscars and many more claims to fame ….with a unique plot as this is a definite must watch!

I want to be up there!

A tree house….always have dreamed of living up there. Getting up in the morning beside the birdie’s whose chirping will but be my alarm. Having a bath in my balcony, under the open sky without a care of my neighbor peeping in. Decorating , my room with fresh lilies. Hmmmm…wishful thinking….getting down to collect groceries for my meal….! But all I get is a rude shock like just an earthquake crumpled my house and brought me crashing to earth. Dreams can hurt real bad…..but then tell me away possible to stop dreaming…..But tree houses are not only hot for recreation but also eco-friendly and sustainable and what better location than the forest, where you get you can get all the material and more you may need for building a tree house, re-cycling could not be put to better use. So want to be on top of the world, which better way than this?

The Art of chaos

Even cluster has a beauty to it, if you have intended it to be that way and if this particular style reflected your personality though you need to understand where it adds beauty and where we can do without it.

Whoa…enter ….WHOSE ROOM IS THIS?
You should be ashamed….is that your pet lizard on the bed? What’s that sticking out from under the T.V is that your blue scarf?
Your closet is going to collapse with burden…its stuffed…what kind of new lamp shade is that with a VIP tag…oppose! Man….whose room is this, sure needs some advise on cleanliness….what! What? Did you just say…..This room belongs to Me. Oh! No wonder looks so familiar, it just is the way I like it.

Common reactions and easy way to escape the dreaded task of cleaning up….no not just the teenagers you see come under this category, a lot of grownups too are included. So keep your house simple and avoiding too much stuff may just solve your problem, and your weekends will be spared for many joyous activities.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Glass House

They say people who live in glass houses should not throw stones should not throw stones. Err…hello excuse moi; but sorry to burst your bubble o Person of worldly-wise phrases – what kind of a fool (unless inebriated) would contemplate the above?
Tipsy or otherwise; glass houses if they induce anything within you; which I’m sure is not throwing stuff around; is a true sense of living in style. How many times have all of us lusted for that masterpiece of wonderment that sits perched vicariously atop the cliffs of Monaco or St. Tropez?

It’s an addiction that induces a kind of high like none other. Glass houses engulf you within the aura of magnifique opulence and sheer simplicity that leaves you reeling for more. Now top that with a hot tub on the porch and a living room that opens up into the cerulean blue sea…but you see that’s called Paradise lost and found!
With inspirations ranging from Mies van der Rohe to Philip Johnson, the houses today are a true symbolism of International style with contemporary looks yet being utilitarian all the same.

Such are the times when I regret not having a long lost aunt or an uncle with no heirs and who could possibly bequeath all the wealth in the world they own.
But lo and behold…we dreamers learn it the hard way and the roads to acquisition are equally insane. But then who is to stop me from dreaming about the white sands and the open blue sky???
Think I’ll top it off with a Yacht too…what say ?

Inside Indus

Every time I look at the apathy that surrounds the architectural sights of this Glorious ‘City of the Seven Islands’ of mine, I cannot help but wonder whatever went wrong down line. Is it the incessant flow of migrants to the city or just the pressure being built up day in and day out playing the role of the financial capital to businesses all around the world? One can never know for sure…but a walk down the lanes and interiors of Mumbai would reveal how shortsighted we turned out to be with a lack of planning ordinance whatsoever!
No pun intended here nor any intentional condescension directed to anyone; but it is simply unbelievable how the Development guys failed to notice miniscule rising demands which were evidently on the fast-track chart.

This takes me back to a time when a few handful people planned a city for themselves which was way ahead of their life and times. The remains of the same we still marvel at and have had curious visitors and archeologists from across the world making a beeline for it.
Circa 3300 BCE to 1600 BCE of the Latin Ante Christum, the Indus Valley Civilization or what we call as the Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro settlements were the pioneers when it came to building and planning their cities in accordance with their times. The Indus Valley civilization was entirely unknown until 1921, when excavations in what would become Pakistan revealed the cities of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro.
This mysterious culture emerged nearly 4,500 years ago and thrived for a thousand years, profiting from the highly fertile lands of the Indus River floodplain and trade with the civilizations of nearby Mesopotamia.

If there is one thing that lets me be baffled about this township, it would have to be the fact that despite a population of 40,000 (which is quite a number for the BC times!!); the city was planned and executed in the most ordained manner.
Sometimes I nurture a secret desire to have been in a lesser hassle-free world where drainage was not a problem and railway tracks did not seem to accommodate makeshift cloak rooms.
But then again I can only wish…!!!

Wonders of wonders!

Ever heard of a domestic transformer ….NO? Well….here let me introduce you to something amazing that I came across, Mr.Gary Chang’s architectural wonder, a man who converted 344 square foot unit accommodating 24 different designs just by sliding walls and panels around. Into a mansion that anybody would dream of living in.

Wonder how that was possible? I was in awe too. The wall units are suspended from steel tracks bolted into the ceiling and f seem to float an inch or so above the black granite floor. As the walls are shifted the apartment unfolds various living spaces; kitchen library, wash room, laundry room, dressing room, lounges with a hammock’s, dining area, wet bar….

Well to solve the problem f clustered spaces this solution has worked in Hong Kong and is inspiring for us…but how affordable is this solution to us, how can we mange our living spaces better?

Playing with the green

My terrace is my garden.

A concept though not new has never stopped appealing the urban sector audience who search for a green space to be alone. So a concept of a terrace garden is always welcome! The essence is outdoor living spaces that entice your senses, weather it be reading a newspaper, taking a short nap, talking, swinging, or just relaxing. A space that is totally separated from your otherwise clustered world. A garden that is to be a statement of your individuality and creativity, simple though elaborate this provides the ideal space for living amidst nature. So at the end of the day when you are as dead as a log, this will provide the ideal shelter to unwind yourself. Though a strong roof that can support the garden, a good drainage system, and ensuring that there shall be no roof leakage becomes essential. The plan for the terrace garden should be well structured, such that even the corners are put into good use, the selection of the plants and the kind of lighting are also important factors that need to be taken into good consideration. So put all the ingredients right and you get a perfect place for an evening party or a quiet place to give yourself time. Voila! Your terrace garden is ready to refresh your parched nerves!!

Lighting up the right way

Apartments can definitely take on a whole new look by effective use of lighting options, ever considered that…? Not necessary the artificial sources used for lighting but also managing the natural sources well can add new dimensions to your living spaces.

I manipulate what I can not change…

Fixed lights, which you have no way of getting away with can be managed to suit your personality with the use of different lamp shades and globes or bulbs. Chandeliers or small shades, you opt according to the look you intend to give. Try different textures and colours than sticking to the plain old glass to give a whole new look to your room.

Light up your floor

Want to add some interest to your home, do it this way. Floor lights not only come in interesting shapes and patterns but can also be placed anywhere. A floor lamp, near a floor vase, or next your favorite chair, beside a desk or near your bed side can add immense personality to the room.

Want to add charm, go for the table lamp…

Table lamps come in different styles just to fit every decorating style and do not weigh much on your purse. So if you want to go for the traditional style or modern ones, the choice is yours. You have ample to choose from. A table lamp on a bed side table with a photo frame to go along provides the simple yet classy décor for your bedroom. A table lamp of suitable shape can also go with the décor of your washroom.

Though is you want to go for the non-electric lighting option, an oil lamp or well placed candles in ethnic candle holders can just add that simple yet elegant at the same time earthy look to your apartment.

So do not ignore the aspect of lighting while doing up your dream house because this can bring out the desired effect to your living space.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The House that built me

A song that keeps playing in my mind. ‘The house that built me’ has lyrics that anybody can so easily identify with. Miranda Leigh Lambert has given all the country music lovers a song to remember. The song reminds of all the houses I ever lived in, the houses that I have memories linked with. Come to think of it a house is a place only until it has never been occupied, after which it becomes a story that narrates the life of each occupant. The story that has it all laughter, tears, fights, make up’s, parties, funerals. It takes you through a roller-coaster of emotions .So while buying a home be ready for the ride!
“You leave home, you move on and you do the best you can.
I got lost in this whole world and forgot who I am.

I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
this brokenness inside me might start healing.
Out here its like I'm someone else,
I thought that maybe I could find myself.
If I could walk around I swear I'll leave.
Won’t take nothing but a memory….
from the house that built me.”
-‘The house that built me’

It’s as simple as that!

Investing is the best way to secure your future, In this world there are two ways to earn an income…one money in exchange for labor of the other let the money do the earning for you….the wise invest for a rainy day! If we talk about savings…your savings account can never keep pace with the inflation at an average interest rate currently at 2%.

Should I risk it?

I shall not be a mere spectator of the life passing by, I shall live it and for living it, I take the risk. But I minimize the gamble with a lot of research and educating myself on investments, the more I know, the less my chances get of investing in the wrong place.

Diversifications, a strategy that investors have been employing since ages, invest in diverse sectors to play it safe. Have investments in various companies, from blue chips to techno stocks, to investing in bonds. There are many paths down the investment lane, but one thing rest assured is that Money is going to work for you.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

You're Real Estate Double Agent

Choosing a real estate agent is perhaps one of the most critical parts of the real estate process as that agent will become your closest ally in the long term effort to buy or sell a home. Real estate transactions are major milestones in a person's life and that real estate agent is the key person to be involved in making sure your wants and needs are met throughout that process.

After that extensive process, you are then faced with a person that you have invested a great amount of time and effort in. Trusting that real estate agent to represent you fully at all times may seem to be at the foundation of a realtor's responsibilities, but there are other types of responsibilities those agents are motivated to serve that you need to be aware of.

Knowing who is on your side during a real estate transaction can go a long way towards helping you not only select the best agent but do your own best job throughout a real estate transaction to provide that agent with information that will help you buy or sell a home. For example, many realtors through the course of showing a prospective home buyer different properties will show them a home they are listing.

Obviously, that dual responsibility of representing the best desires of the buyer and seller can create a conflict of interest and should you informally say that you would pay a particular amount for a property, that real estate agent is more or less obligated to share that information with the seller. Of course, this can ruin any negotiating tactic you might want to try.

Real estate agents are required to disclose when this is the case and sometimes a special kind of arrangement, the dual agency arrangement, is used to at least make sure that the buyer and seller are both served properly. Under a dual agency agreement, the buyer and seller are represented by different parties working for the broker that has both the buyer and seller as clients.

In this type of agreement, both buyer and seller must agree to the situation and the individual real estate agents are charged with making sure they serve their own client fully. In some real estate markets, this kind of agreement can be common if a particular real estate broker has a multitude of listings and a strong supply of prospective buyers. It is only a matter of time until a buyer and seller match up on a property for an individual broker.

The conflicts of interest in these types of situations are largely removed by the dual agency agreement, but you must still be sure that your needs are being met by your agent. You want your agent working vigorously for you and that can mean negotiating fervently with another agent in their same office, perhaps one that they are friends with and have daily interaction with. That can be difficult for some agents and a dual agency agreement takes another layer of oversight by the buyer or seller to make sure that things are on the up and up.

After expending so much energy to choose your real estate agent, you may feel that you can sit back and let that agent do their job without interference. While that is generally true, you still must remain active in the process, asking the right questions and making sure that your needs are communicated to the other side.

In a strange situation like a dual agency agreement, a special emphasis is needed on that active, vocal role of a buyer or seller to make sure that a transaction is completed to the best ability of the agent involved. Never be afraid to speak up and get involved

Friday, May 14, 2010

Shouldn't there be a shorter word for "monosyllable"?

Ahaa….the complicated world…sooo twisted and turned that if one even wanted to even ask himself a simple question as Why am I here? Or even something as simple as Who am I? You never get a straight forward answer…Wondrous oh! Marvelous!
Hmmm……….How would you describe the simplest of emotion to this ever complicated world…..sit to write a poem and you may think of an out of the box theme, so try to write another description of not the daffodils but maybe the sunflowers and thy may seek to wonder where in the whole poem was the sunflower……….so here is where we just need to unwind ourselves in the natural beauty of simplicity….. A toddler just taught me that. So I shall keep it simple and short and hope that you have got me!


Doesn’t everybody have this one person in the family that we always tend to avoid… uncle whose jokes where outdated even the last time you heard them, an aunt whose tales about the family put you to sleep even at the dining table…..a cousin who just can not stop bragging…...I am sure everybody does and so do I , an aunt…..great grand aunt…..every time I was cornered by her I sent puppy looks to people all around so as to gain some sympathy but none would come to my rescue. AH! Guess what the best part was I did not even get what she was talking about…soo….poor me trying to figure out at all times what she is talking about….gave a dutiful nod at intervals.

Hmmm….sooo here she cornered me at the end of the room where I found no route to escape, she smiles at me, and I prepare myself for the story….she starts off! On……onnnn…goes on…..and onnn…..then finally she gives me the smile and walks away. Later when the ladies of the house meet to gossip…my mother tells me you know that poor great aunt mistook you for the aunt of yours who recently got divorced and ……then understanding took possession…..she was giving me marital advice….and I was just in class 11….hah!will be useful for the future,,,unfortunately I had not got a word!

One in a million!

When I was getting engaged all the people I knew told me that I was so lucky to find a husband like this, he is one in a million…oh! You lucky female! And in the light that I still had no experience of the male species as my husband (nor the same of my gender)… I willingly agreed.

Now five years of blissful marriage…..Get me the towel! Where is my phone? Why is there so much salt in the food? Where are the kids? Why aren’t you ready? What ….why…who….how…when… this…do that…..god! I wonder if instead of marrying the man I was supposed to….. I married the machine that keeps you on the run…so that you stay healthy!

How many kids do you have….two I reply…one daughter and one son? they ask….no one daughter and one man I reply!

So all those who told me that I was marrying a man who was just perfect, I can say that they were wrong, cause if a man was perfect…then he would have a ‘S’ prefixed,

If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

Hah! caught you on this one did I not….I am a humanitarian….defined by what standards….fighting for the poor tribal and their rights or standing up for the ‘injustice’ being done to Kasab,by giving him a death sentence. Well! The ways of the world never cease to amuse me…..So how about starting with giving a thirsty man on the road some water, or a man who has collapsed on the footpath some recognition, why? Debate over the global topics when the local ‘HUMANS’ are in need for dire help. This fight for human rights has really….got me thinking….do not the poor traffic policemen suffer inhumane conditions, standing in a busy junction and inhaling the not so pure air, so why not fight for them to be provide with masks, why not provide the rag pickers with some protection from those toxic wastes, why not help those children on the roadside addicted to opium……who are forced to beg….???

Oh…..this…..oh …..That…..why me? Why not you? …..the tune continues to play……if we could only pay some heed to the lyrics ….may be…just may be…we could understand the concept……of I am Human too, Fight for my rights, be my voice!


“Hey! I am you inner voice.”
Oh…hi! I said to meet you is nice
Why have you come to meet me though?
“I have some things to you to show”
“You live your life everyday, what have you in these years but gained.”
Puzzled by this question, me, replied, experience, meekly!
“What do you meant by that?”
Without an answer I there sat…
“Seek your soul and answer me….tell me what you think it should be”
I thought and thought……not a word but came to me…
“Now I shall go, then you will see…”
My Inner voice left me there….
I said a question without an answer is not fair….
Few days then went by…
I thought about this often, I shall not lie
What have I gained in all these year’s
Was it love? Was it fear?
What was left when he went?
What do you gain when something leaves?
Oh! Yes it was but….Memories….

A fleeting thought

Wandering in the hills so high I look down at the world below…
Wondering what my heart wanted, what it wanted to know…
Find some reason for my being…
Find some truth in what I am seeing
Live my life not in an illusion
Or maybe live my life just as it is…
Saw a rat run around
Without a thought, without a sound
Was my existence just like that
Will I just live and like moment just go by,
Oh! Why do I ponder so…?
I should just let it go…
These thoughts that I have for now
The glamour of my life shall drown….

Thursday, May 13, 2010

TAIN Design

TAIN Design

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What a woman wants…

Well! Since time immemorial men seem to have asked this question……but the answer seems to never be found? Call it the mystery that tempted Adam towards Eve of call it the lack of intelligence of the male gender…

So the world is run on the wimps and fancies of a woman….now if you say you do not agree ……Mr.Manmohan Singh is our Prime Minister yes!!! But the strings are in whose hands? Now if you do not agree with me on this one then you ought to be ignorant or a male chauvinist!!!

Want to know the power of a woman then just notice how the life of a bachelor completely changes after he wears the ring…no I here do not refer to the wreath of flowers over your body but that piece of metal that clutches your finger.

Well….the rapid transformation is unbelievable like a virus just caught you! To pain my heart it’s true that a woman reforms you….. Changes the way you look at space….men! I do not refer to that place beyond the atmosphere….this is a term that the committed section does understand…

So voila this write up is full of ambiguity with its purpose, it’s meant to define what a women wants so what better way to write than keep it unclear…


Fifty years back known as ‘Pensioners Paradise’ industrialization converted the city of Pune to the ‘Detroit of the East’ but the city has always been known as the ‘Oxford of the East’ because of its educational and research institutions.

Pune is a historic city surrounded by old forts and ancient temple towns. A good blend of
Modernization and a pride that the city dwellers feel for their rich culture and heritage reflect Pune Indianized in the real sense. The city will take you through the ancient and medieval culture of central India and Maratha Dynasty into the world of technical growth and cultural unification where we identify ourselves a citizen of a global village.

10 Reasons why the computer is the best

It reads only what you want it to.
The problem of space can be solved through a hard disc.
It switches of when you want it to and It stays on stand by without a complain.
The mouse does not eat up stuff.
You can click with it instantly
You can create dollars with just a short cut….$$$$$$
You can delete your question marks easily….?
The monitor does not monitor you , you monitor what’s on the monitor!
It gave you easy and full access to god- Google
You get all that the world has to offer at a single destination.

Why flip the coin again?

Want to take a chance….do not because living on chances is a gone funda. Invest cleverly and wisely is the statement of the new era…Real estate investment is a clever choice considering the fact that, Almost 80 per cent of real estate developed in India is residential space, the rest comprises of offices, shopping malls, hotels and hospitals. According to the Tenth Five Year Plan, there is a shortage of 22.4 million dwelling units. Thus, over the next 10 to 15 years, 80 to 90 million housing dwelling units will have to be constructed.

So the growth of this industry is going to be magnanimous…

So investing in real estate now considered, I guide you to make a clever choice…TAIN
Why invest in Tain? Exploring possibilities…well the tag line describes the standing of this corporate. Defined by its international standards and thought that only puts its investor first has an attitude that keeps it evolving yet delivering a solid financial result at all times. Make an investment without thinking twice if your choice is TAIN.

Why Invest in TAIN

Causes are many the question remains
What makes us different?
You may tend to ask
A promise we have to deliver the best
Making your home different from the rest
What in your mind is best for you
Keeping in mind that’s what we do
What you are look for
That’s what we give
A home in which you always wanted to live!

My Four Poster Bed

For all those who believe in the holy powers of healing, Pranayam or the Art of Living, way to go folks..!! The yonder is not that far on the horizon for you. Me (and I’d like to believe there are quite a number of us out there), on the other hand take the phrase- ‘The art of living’ far too literally.
For me ‘tis not just a way to exist. It’s the space, the perimeter, the comfort that extends into the surroundings I breathe into. My quest for the same made me travel through the ages of the Neolithic, spanning through the Baroque, Gothic, Medieval and the Richardsonian. After a lot of thought investment and comparisons as to which style would complement my state of mind, etching this down into permanency within the four walls of my abode became quite a task.
While some were too overwhelming, others were plain…blah!

While my requirements were sparse, my clutter was …how do I put it; all-required. Nothing that could be left out. So white colored TV unites than skim the lengths of the room were out of question.
So I figured would be to make a mix-bag of my sense of architectural styles. The Persian rug was trimmed and attached to it was a black faux feathery strip of clothing. The walls turned black n yellow with graffiti and while all this made it look like a Rock Musician kink room….there was my four poster bed.
Set amidst an ocean of particulate matter, my crawling space stood and signified the only thing I loved most in my life…Sleep!

Yes, yes so I know this sounds very dramatic but then how else is it to be simplified that living spaces are to reflect one’s state of mind and how one expects to be when one walks into it.
I personally wouldn’t want to walk into a room with lights from all around which is a constant reminder to a rave party about to get busted or for that sake a room as bland as one with everything arranged geometrically.
So debate as you much the fusion of décor from eras now and then, one thing I know for sure is if there is one place where Baroque and Richardson harmoniously exist; then here it is!

Hang UP!!!

If you happen to be 96 years old and reading this…atta boy, way to keep up with the times!
I’d rather write about your 9 and a half decades than ‘contemporary-ness’ in full bloom because then what else could stand true for kuhn-tem-puh-rer-ee.
Newton’s discovery of the calculus was one that was contemporary with that of Leibniz or a classic Georgian table with a contemporary wig stand. What it does stand for is the fact that it is in sync with the current times and…belongs.
The same goes for the piece of art that adorns your wall. Time and again there have been incidences where you try and interpret why..why so? The cat in a circle overlapped by a hemorrhage of other geometrical shapes that lives in my bedroom; I’m sorry I do not know what it interprets into but I attribute it as the cat’s life coming a full circle (this I say sans the influence of canned barley or its counterparts). Contemporary? Quite not…but enough to blend it to my plane of thought.

 Lucian Freud's portrait of Francis Bacon
So what is it about this post modern art era that makes it so appealing to the masses through its subtle abstractionism?
I’d have to say the fact that ‘to keep up’ with the times; this free flow yet distinguishing form of art chooses to holler about everyday life and times. Artists’ have know to paint to about anything – right from the reducing size of burgers to racism, global warming…you name it, there’s one already out there somewhere.

This having said; contemporary art is sometimes in defiance more or less at odds with a majority of the school of thought who choose to disagree that such art and its values do not share their ideas and values.
However this ‘cultural utopia’ that leaves us baffled every time there’s a new kid on the block is only the advent of newer and much more inspirational art for future to see I’d like to believe.
…and for those who disagree, Dah-lings we haven’t done away with our Monets and Renoirs just yet!

A Secret……

Weelll… I do not know how many people in the world are same as I , cause my times for myself,to understand and introspect are in the shhhh…….Bathroom! Either it is the privacy that I get there of maybe I am just wiered.The best of ideas strike me but there…..No! I am not one of those people who carry a book to give me company! I just like to be there by myself. A childhood habit that never left me, I remember those days when my mom and dad used to yell at me cause I have been inside for a godforsaken 1 and a half hours!!! What are you doing in there? Is your Cleopatra bath over? The bus is outside….come fast you haven’t had breakfast……the never ending saga. My dad used to make fun…you do not need to build a house just build a big bathroom….. So I was not looking at a luxury houses for sale……I was looking at a custom residential builder. Thus I decided that TAIN would have to be the one…as no body brings in so much clarity in customization as them.

My Heart and all it wants

Wonder what our heart is…never senses logic! The brain I suppose must often wonder oh! Why am I so often linked with the most foolish of organs…the heart. The answer never was clear, the debate went on…the religious follower of the brain said…they who follow the heart are condemned to be foolish and the followers of the heart branded their rivals as insensitive.

So here my quest began to find the solution to this raging war….who will win? Nah… I found a perfect solution, a truce. The answer was TAIN….now ask me why that is….

Well a perfect mix of the heart and brain….where you invest cleverly in a dream. See…what I mean. The perfect solution to the invisible problem….TAIN has it all that you desire and implements it according to your convenience….the customization of your house is just what would want….customization to suite your will and pocket too.

Sooo…..then what happened? well….the heart and brain reached a common understanding of TAIN.Then man started to consider I shall listen to my brain but also keep in mind my heart and all it wants.

The Forgotten Game

When we were children, my siblings and I…had to end the day with a game of carom,
It was not only the time for just a game but also the time when the family went over all the happenings of the day. Leg pulling and fighting was also an essential part of these fun filled times.

As time waits for none, we grew up and went on in different directions and to have our own families. I got married and have three kids, settled in with everything for a comfortable living. For the recent family get together we went to my parents house the place that held fond memories of me growing up.

Owing to the monsoon showers, our evenings were confide at home, so my brother came up with the suggestion that the carom board relegated to the store house should be brought back to its former glory. Those evenings made me realize ,all those family times that my children were missing out on. Thus when I came back I decided to look for a home that will allow me to utilize my space to the maximum invested in TAIN, and I have my dedicated carom room that will nurture fond family memories that my children will carry forth, they shall carry forth a part of me.

One Day!

When I grow up I will have a home
The walls of sunshine, the roof a rainbow
My bed will be of flowers, where I shall sleep for hours
I will cook a meal in a small little cave
I shall wander in the open meadows
I shall collect fruits for a rainy day
The birds will sing along with me
Oh! How wonderful life will be
Squirrels and I, shall play a game of hide and seek
Their climbing skills they shall flaunt
The day will be spent as I want
In the night I shall gaze at stars far away
And wonder what to me they say,
The moon will be my bedroom light
No darkness for me, there shall be no fright
My home will be my little heaven
I known, none will believe what I am saying
Until they see a home at TAIN.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Dream all you can…


Dreams are what one tends to always take for granted, I dream about having a beautiful house one day, a house that I will design, a house that will have a big kitchen, I will have a gaming room….. dreams die fast don’t they or may be we just grow up to realize that since they may, just may, not come true so give up on them!

Well I had a dream….a dream house where everything would be just as I wanted it to be….then one day I started earning….and realized that it would take a lot more to build myself a palace. Well! That’s what it would be with me having to construct my own space.

Then I came across TAIN, they gave me an opportunity to live my dream a chance to build my own palace. Where I decided how I wanted my home to look like, each space was defined by me.

TAIN gave me the opportunity to live my dreams; they gave an opportunity to rediscover myself in my new home.

Leaving for home

Delhi was the city I was born and brought up in thus leaving it was something that I had not event pondered about…….And ‘phoof’ all my misconceptions blow off! We are leaving for Pune in a month’s time…..excuse me! Am I invisible? Can somebody care to ask me if I want to go? And that was the end of my life or I thought so……I came to Pune and realized that I did not mind the city too much; actually I took quite a liking to it. But one thing that I never find was home….until….My parents decided to invest in a house in Pune….

That was when I left for home…a place that was to wipe away all the tears I had shed….I could design my part of the house….I could have my own space. Well! For a teenager you can not even begin to imagine how wonderful that sounded. Memories of the city I was born in can never be replaced but the home that I found here can never be exchanged for anything in the world .I totally love my room!

I live again

Buried in those days are memories so close to my heart
Those friends from whom nothing could keep me apart
Those moments those were carefree, those evenings of playing
All those times when you knew not what you were saying
Spending those nights in sleep and days in daydreaming
The first time I was scolded and all my howling and crying
The first time I walked, the race that I won,
All those memories of joy and fun
That trip to Goa with College friends
All those breakup and amends
My graduation picture, those awards that I won
The first date with my wife, the day we were married
The day, in my arms, my daughter I did carry
All those moment I live and relive again
It brings a smile to me and heals all my pain
This room is dedicate to me and my memories
A room that is designed especially for me
A room in where my past and future I see
This room that is mine, is free from every other chain
I thank you once again for giving me this TAIN.

Friday, May 7, 2010


Far across in a land so far…
Lived a princess called Tainela
She was known for her beauty and strength
And all the goodness along with that went
Elegant and beautiful was she
Classier than any princess could be
One day she met a prince so fine
He was called Tainlentine
Strong and handsome was he
So brave and confident of himself
Yet never proud, nor meek to help
They both in an instant fell in love
All said they were meant to be; that even a blind man could see
They were blessed from above with a lovely son
The named the boy Tain,
Tain was a powerful mix of the King and Queen
Nothing so wonderful would you have ever seen.


One of my favorite books have been Ayan Rand’s ‘Fountainhead’, that’s one of the reasons why my teenage aspiration was to become an architect, no not for the reasons you are guessing….that was because I had fallen in love with, Howard Roark. So in hope that if I pursue this career I may just land up meeting a man like him, I let my heart sway in the direction of his dreams Sounds like a good Mills and Boon plot even to my ears, but man proposes and god disposes. Architecture though remained the love that never was fulfilled.

Walking into the site of TAIN construction, my long lost love found a way to blossom. Reading about the structural innovation and design that could be customized according to the needs of the consumer had my eye pooping out.

Revolutionary in its approach yet rooted in its beliefs, TAIN reminded me so much of the man I had once lost my heart too. Long ago when the girl in me had lost hope of finding her true love….she had told herself not to indulge in such fantasies. Guess that’s not so cause dreams come true…..I found some one just like Howard, I found TAIN.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Oliver asks for more…more…more …..more…….well! reading, Oliver Twist I never was able to figure how someone can stay perpetually hungry! Dreams aspirations……want…want…want…..guess that story ought to have taught me something, the same tone rings in our everyday life. Well so if somebody asks me, then I without a doubt would claim that satisfaction is the ultimate truth, the only path to attain nirvana.

No I do not write for the column of ‘Speaking tree’ , I just talk about the dilemma that I face, a gap between………who am I and what I want to Be. A desire to be a wildlife photographer and all the skills I had to become one were drowned in the reality responsibilities that I had to shoulder, so here I am sitting on a desk enjoying what I do but not living it and the only connect I have with nature is National Geographic or Discovery. Can I hear laughter……? Well don’t be too soon to mock at me because all of us living in the chaos of a city want to but get away from it don’t we?. See that’s why satisfaction and contentment can never be achieved by mortal beings such as us.

Dream on…….I will retire find a house in the country side, have a stream flowing by, winds that blow unobstructed by concrete, safety and security will not to be have thought of……well I say one can achieve that but that’s after you retire from the job of living. Did I sound too harsh, pardon me for being the one to bring to you harsh reality.

So giving up all hopes of finding contentment, I went all living my life. Invest in a car, invest in gold…..its time you buy a house, now get settled. Sometimes I think all of us are living the same story with just different twists in it.

Midst nature I find my house and guess what…I !a man who’s love for nature must have been well communicated to you went ahead to question the architect of TAIN about how strong is the design, can I depend on the construction……Oliver must have been put to shame someone is soooo much greedier than him.

Should I, should I not? Finally I took the plunge. After living here now I know that contentment is for mortal beings too…..soo…. I pronounced understanding as the only path to enlightenment; to know what I mean by understanding look up some spiritual healing books after all I am not the authority to comment on such things am I?

You Wish!

I sat by the stream and enjoyed the feeling of running water under my feet, the clear blue sky, the birds so involved in a conversation from which I was totally excluded due to language barriers, the fragrance of the flowers tickled my nose making me wonder, had I passed the judgment day and entered the garden of bliss, was I in heaven?

Tirrrrr……my cell vibrated and brought me back to reality. These are the times when I regret buying my beloved blackberry. My thoughts take a new turn….. So easily have we given up all that nature has to offer, the twittering birds have been replaced by following the twitter religiously, the cool breeze replaced by the split AC and the strolls in the garden have been restricted to a machine in the gym. I wonder what price has man paid to call himself the most civilized of animals.

Well! Well! Do not judge that I am writing all this sitting in some tree house in Kerela or in a boat house in Kashmir, where I have ample time to introspect on the life I have subjected myself to on being a proud member of the all so happening urban crowd. Though I would have to agree that I want to have the cake and eat too.

….I want it all, the best of both worlds. The advantages of an urban life sitting in the lap of nature. You think it’s impossible….think again!

With the competition that the thriving market of real estate faces, it has to catch the fancy of the consumer. Voila! Landscaping gained the vital stage. Man has put his intelligence to recreate all you enjoyed during your childhood , grab the opportunity. I grabbed my chance at merging all that ‘I wanted’ to all ‘I could get’ when I bought a house, not in the valleys of the Himalayas! but in the city of Pune, a project of TAIN and a home for me.

Those moments of bliss that were so rudely disturbed by my second wife, I was enjoying just outside my home. Somewhere in the vicinity, yet a world so far apart where a man stuck in a traffic jam must be wondering how to get away, contemplating on the well deserved holiday. I with a rueful smile appreciate myself on the clever investment that has made my life a never ending holiday…….life is not what one wants it to be, it’s what one makes it. So never end with ‘I wish’ go on till it is ‘I have’.


If …..

No this is not what Kipling said, and not at all what he meant
Dream oh! Yes one must do but find a way for them to come true
Architecture all so fine but I want a tree too, to recline
All I want is a room somewhere, but through the windows want the sun to shine
Wind that blows in through one window, and whoosh! Through the other out it goes
I feel so safe and provided for, protected from all my foes
The walls of my house talk to me and reflect all that I am and want to be
I saw you grow in front of my eyes, that now you do, reach the skies
Ying and yang all combined, you are the best, one can find
A house has never been a home to me
But with you a future I can see
Living with you in blessed matrimony
I thank those who gave you to me
You are all I fantasized,
TAIN saw me long for you,
Cause of them today I am with you
Who said you are just bricks and stone
With me, happiness and suffering you have borne
Contentment you bring to me
My home you are, and always will be




Sunday, May 2, 2010

Is that the 'right' price for your dream home?

If you are currently scouting the market to find the ideal ‘roof over your head’, you probably ask yourself this question several times a day.

Home buyers are constantly nagged by doubts such as, ‘Is this house overpriced?’, ‘Seems like a good price but should I try and get a better deal?’, ‘How do I know this is the best deal for me?’

Purchasing property is a daunting task and property valuation is an ever more daunting task.

Moreover, if it’s a home purchase, its not a purely financial deal, complicating matters further. Right?

Developed real estate markets have clear methods of determining what is called, ‘fair market value’. Also, the variation in prices of property in a particular area is not much making it easier to determine the price of property.

However in fairly underdeveloped and disorganized real estate markets such as India, this is not the case. The extent of variation differs from time to time depending on market conditions. It can be 25% or even as much as 40-50%.
This because various factors such as:

-Age of construction:
According to me this a crucial factor. Unlike developed markets such as New York and London, the difference between old and new property in India is huge resulting in an equally large variation in their prices.
Maintenance of old property in India is very poor resulting in fairly quick depreciation in value. Moreover, earlier there was no concept of value adds and amenities and most residential properties were plain vanilla stand alone buildings.
As against this, a new property comes with the latest amenities and add ons.
Most people are ready to pay a premium for the latest construction and amenities.
Is it any wonder then that there is a considerable difference in price between an old and new property, despite being of the same size & being in the same location?

-Quality Parameters:
Again a very important factor.
This is owing to the fact that the Indian real estate market is disorganized and extremely fragmented.
There are many players, with more entering the market everyday. Moreover real estate is a very local game here and hence there many players who are restricted to a state, city/town and even suburb. There are barely any national players currently in Indian real estate.
This level of fragmentation allows for novices and unscrupulous elements to enter the market hoping to make a quick buck. As they are not in this for the long haul, they try to enhance their profitability by using low quality material and poor quality of construction. They are what I like to call ‘Hit and Run’ players.
Then there are those who believe in building a trustworthy brand and leave no stone unturned to create the best possible product. They use the best raw materials and employ the latest construction technology apart from ensuring that their design can compare with the best in the world.

Then there those who make average buildings with average raw materials and design for average prices.

Consequently the prices charged by developers vary substantially depending on the quality & design of the product

-Reputation of Developer

You can’t ignore this if you are buying property in India. For reasons as stated above, there is a premium attached to the reputation of the builder.

Unlike in the case of many other products that you buy as a consumer, your relationship with the developer will last for many years after purchase of the product and you will probably live in that house many years to come.

Hence it is crucial that, the developer is not someone who thinks that once the apartment is sold you become a ‘closed file’. He should believe in cultivating lifelong relationships and must continue servicing you long after there is very little tangible ROI. And since property has to last you a lifetime, there must be assurance that there are no cracks on the wall and leaks in the bathroom within a year of possession!

Developers spend years dedicatedly serving the community and building their brand before they are able to reap benefits in the form of a premium on their products. And I fail to understand why consumers grudge them this.

You never question why a ‘Louis Vuitton’ hand bag costs Rs 1.5 lakhs while a local brand will sell you a similar looking product for Rs 500. Why is it then that consumers expect all properties in the same location to be priced exactly the same?

-Product Differentiation

Again a largely Indian phenomena. You will find products in the Indian real estate market that fall in any of the following categories: Economy, Premium, Luxury, Super Luxury, so on an so forth.

Products in each of these categories come with differences in configuration, specifications, amenities etc and hence are priced differently.

You need to take into consideration all of the above factors before you decide if the property is priced right.

Tough, right? Well, it can get even more complicated. The Indian real estate market is plagued with ills such as lack of transparency, no fixed price and arbitrary fluctuations in price that make it even more difficult to determine the right price for property.

Can you get any help whatsoever in this seemingly Herculean task?

Well many believe in seeking the guidance of an experienced and trustworthy real estate agent with local expertise to take a call on whether the pricing of a property is right.

Some engage the services of a property valuator who can do a valuation based on factors such as age of construction, quality of construction, amenities, location etc.

There are many resources available online that can be of help.

But despite all of the above, the truth remains that the value of a property is what buyers are ready to pay for it.

So when buying a home, don’t let too many external factors cloud you judgment.

Factor in the considerations given above and just ask yourself if the home is the right fit for you and your family, can you see yourself making a home in the property and most importantly, can you afford it? If the answer to all of the above is yes, then you have found your dream home.

Don’t worry too much about the fluctuations in price and never try to time the market (wait for prices to fall before buy). When it comes to the stock market and the real estate market, not even the biggest expert can accurately judge when the prices have bottomed out or peaked.

Be your own judge. Happy Home Hunting!

The Home Buying Experience

We sealed the deal last month.
Buying a home is an extremely stressful experience. Infact I will go so far as to say that buying a home can be more stressful than getting married!(which is widely accepted as the most stressful experience in one’s life). After all I had known my husband for 6 years before we tied the knot last year.
But if you like a house, the sales guy will know through some weird 6th sense and he will pressure you into signing that cheque as a token of your commitment even while he paints a fairly vivid picture of a family walking through the door in the next 5 minutes ready to snatch your future home from under your noses 

I re-lived the stress, helplessness, confusion, uncertainty, anxiety, not to mention acidity I experienced during my wedding in those excruciating months of house hunting.

What made it even more harrowing was that fact that my husband and I were complete novices in this complex game of property purchase.

We were plagued with doubts. What should we look for when buying a home- affordability?location? conveniences ? comfort? luxury? aesthetics?
All of the Above!!!??

Were we being too choosy? Should we have bought that house that didn’t seem so bad? Is everybody out to fleece us because they could smell our ignorance from a distance??

Well, I am paranoid by nature and the house hunting was not doing me any good.

But when we finally decided on the house we wanted to buy… it turned out to be one of the easiest decisions we have ever made.

I am not sure I can exactly pinpoint the moment the decision was made.

Was it the moment when I walked into the house and was greeted by the sunlight that came rushing through the french windows, or maybe it was the moment when I opened the full length sliding glass doors that led to the balcony and the breeze caressed my cheek, or was it the moment when I walked through the corridor and was amazed by the way the each room naturally led to the other. Or was it the moment when I was overwhelmed by a sense that the person who designed the house knew us intimately and had done everything possible to make sure we were comfortable…to make sure that the space became our own…

10 minutes into the tour of the apartment, my husband and I looked at each other and we knew that we had found our home.

Of course we discussed location, price, distances, conveniences etc etc . They were all factored into our decision. After all this was the biggest financial commitment we had made thus far.

But truth be told, we stretched our budget, we compromised a bit on location (I had never heard of the place before but it is a promising location I hear) and conveniences (the only thing worth reporting in the vicinity is a ‘Reliance Fresh’) ……all for the warm light, cool breeze and sensible, user friendly, intimate design …..

Like they say, Matches are made in heaven. We had finally met ours 

Investing in realty- Is it for me?

Investing in realty- Is it for me?
Real estate is undoubtedly the oldest and most trusted avenue of investment, apart from gold. Look around and you will know this is true. You probably have old relatives who have never heard of (those who have heard, do not trust) insurance, mutual funds or other such ‘modern’ investment instruments. They have probably invested their life long savings in property and gold, and maybe a bank FD.
However in the last few decades we have been exposed to so many ways to grow our wealth multifold, that we ignored these old, trusted modes of investing and growing wealth in favour of more glamorous, high profile ways of getting rich fast and easy.

And we could do no wrong! Powered by personal finance tips from business channels, pink papers and not to forget self-help books, we invested diligently and saw our wealth grow, grow and grow some more.

When I started working in 2004 (the start of the big economic high) the sensex had just touched 8,000 and when I left my first organization at the end of 2007, it had touched 20,000!!!

But that was the ‘beginning of the end’ so to say. To think of the amount of wealth that has been eroded is migraine inducing. We are scared. And we have been rudely reminded of Newton’s ‘Law of Gravity’. What goes up must come down.

Some of the hottest stocks have been reduced to near zero value. And I think that is the problem with such investments. They are after all a form of ‘paper wealth’ and they do carry the risk of being reduced to just that, ‘paper’.

What all of this has done is restore people’s faith in the good old investments. Gold is probably one investment that has gone against the tide and performed exceedingly well.

However, when it comes to real estate, these are tough times. Prices are rationalizing across the board and people are apprehensive of their investment eroding if prices correct further.

I think these fears arise out of ignorance of the nature of realty investments.

Firstly, I strongly believe that real estate should be a long term investment with a horizon of at least 7 years. So, your investment is not affected by market cycles.

Secondly, people should have rational expectations with respect to their real estate investments. Research suggests, over a period of time, real estate has performed better than any other asset class but people seem to have extraordinary expectations when it comes to property. Yes, its true that there are investors who have doubled and tripled their money in a short time from property investments. However, if you don’t, it doesn’t make it a failed investment.

An investment in property offers the best opportunity to leverage your money. This means only part of the investment needs to come from your pocket, the rest can be financed by a bank (infact a large part can be financed by a bank)

Morever, in a dull market you have the option of leasing out the property which will generate regular income till such time that you can exit the investment on your terms.

Last but not the least, property is ‘real’ or concrete wealth….. No matter how bad the times get, the value of your real estate asset will never be wiped out.

Everyone is an Investor

The real estate industry worldwide differentiates between 'end users' and 'investors' as distinct categories of buyers. 'End users' are those who buy property in order to occupy it themselves and 'investors' are those who buy property to earn from it (by booking profit when the rates appreciate or by leasing the property for regular income)

It is widely believed that what these distinct categories look for in a property purchase is equally distinct.

One needs to appeal to the heart and the senses of 'end users' as it is believed that the property buying decision is an emotional one for this category. Little wonder then, we see so many properties being positioned as tranquil, ticket to happiness, path to a better & more desirable/up market lifestyle, key to the family’s togetherness and so on and so forth. All emotional messages.

When talking to an investor the message sees a drastic change. You will hear phrases such as ‘value for money’, ‘high potential for price appreciation’, ‘low risk investment’ etc.
Messages meant to appeal to the grey cells and an individual’s rational thinking. No room for emotions here.

However, if we analyse motivations to purchase property closely, it is apparent that they are not very different for the so called ‘end users’ and ‘investors’.
Purchase of property is a large investment irrespective of the buyer and reason for purchase . It is never an impulsive buy and involves a lot of thought, deliberation and not to forget in-depth research.
Moreover, irrespective of the ticket size of the purchase, be it Rs. 10 lakhs or Rs 10 crores, a customer always looks for ‘value for money’. He/She wants maximum bang for the buck. And even he/she is a buying a ‘first home’, he/she will want to be assured that it is a sound investment which will appreciate in value as time goes by.
Think of the time when you first bought a home, weren't your thoughts on similar lines? Would you have bought the house if it was grossly overpriced and didn’t have any scope for rate appreciation?

During recent times, I’ve witnessed many homeowners worry and lament over the perceived depreciation of their home's market price. When queried on whether they were looking to sell it, they quickly retort with a ‘not at all’ or ‘never’.

So, if all home owners or more broadly speaking, property owners think of their homes/offices/shops as assets, isn’t it time that we in the industry acknowledge this fact and talk in concrete, quantifiable terms rather than in vague sentimental phrases such as ‘Attain Nirvana’, ‘Lead a Celebrity Lifestyle’ or some such


Modern society has brought its urbanites economic independence from their parents; medical security against disease and surety of income in one’s old age. Working women, equal opportunities and fast track professions have made the traditional family redundant in many societies, and in a large segment amongst India’s young urban population.. The glue that used to hold society in place has melted! Maybe stickier glue has come in its place?

Architecture is as much an engine of this change, as it is a result of this phenomenal transformation in our cities. Indian architects are quick to implement the new world order, eager to appear creative and different, by copying the banal and the mundane. The cell phone has replaced physical neighborhoods and the Internet is the street corner gossip! The blast of media information has made news boring, and just to catch attention one has to yell ever louder to turn a head. The design profession is likewise promoting sensationalism and “the spectacular,” rather than good urban form and human values. True, this trend represents only a fraction of Indian society, but a majority of the new built form in the metros has turned its face from community building. Moreover, willy-nilly this model is the road we are pursuing in every aspect of daily life. It is the reality of the urban niche that is in the limelight, growing day by day.

City form has responded with a myriad of branded eateries that are replacing kitchens; multiplexes, lounges, bars and discos that are replacing living rooms; beauty parlors and spas that are replacing our bathrooms and, practically all that is left of the traditional home is the bed room! Every building wants to spread over its own full city block; each plot is walled-in and guarded; gyms and health clubs are replacing neighborhood play areas; buildings are becoming monumental and impersonal, with harlequin facades. The roads are widening, sidewalks and cycle paths are shrinking, and the scale of cities is morphing from human to the machine in motion. More is more, and big is beautiful in the new city!

People whose parents survived in comfortable simplicity on Rupees fifteen thousand a month, feel a pinch in their “life style” earning anything under sixty thousand a month! They covet and protect every Rupee, counting up who pays what share on each outing. Habitat is no longer a home; it is a “pad.” Protecting one’s wealth from parasites, opportunistic relatives and hangers-on is a matter of daily management. The accepted dependents of the house are cell phones and credit cards that eat up every paisa unnoticed!

As the city, its architecture, and urban society all morph into a bland chess board of stand alone people and facades; which are deposited in glass walled blocks with no courtyards or street life; so too does the individual psyche, the persona and the personality transform. People don’t like people any more! People love themselves. The word “communities” is becoming as archaic as typewriters. “Neighbor” is a bad word! Everyone is worried that everyone else wants their money, and every one else does want their money!

Style, facades (personal as well as architectural), packaging, attention getting stunts, fashion, anal retentive behavior and spectacularism are all part of the NEW LIFE that is a product of the new economy, new society and the new urbanism. Bland and ugly buildings merely mirror the people who live inside of them. In the “me, my, mine culture” which is emerging the only true friend is one’s loyal pet dog.

Europe, which is six decades ahead of us in the search for self, has invented the “single person family” as a demographic profile. It is the self fulfilled prophesy of the paranoid urbanite who fears that human beings are predators and scroungers. Moreover, each average person imagines their life partner to be incredible: great looking, super intelligent, professional, high earning and possibly even loving. Thumbing through Page Three they think Wow, Fantastic, First Class Act, Spectacular or How Clever! The average person wants to settle for nothing less than the spectacular, who they know they will never meet, and that the attraction will not be mutual even if they ever do. But the media and the taste makers tell them not to settle for less! So they cruise the streets with pet dogs in toe, glancing here and there for companionship.

In the single person family what one is talking about is more important than who one is talking to. If your topic is not about the spectacular, your victim will fain busy and hang up! Family, close friends, and even lovers, are passé! That people are talking about you, good or bad, is more important than having a civilized conversation over a night cap. The weather and politics are no longer topics of discussion; sensationalism is the topic of catchy dialogue: Paris Hilton, a terrorist attack, the Birds’ Nest, or upside-down buildings! Where architects used to talk about community, engendering interaction between people and neighborhoods, they speak of new visual tricks, driven by computer graphics! Where people used to discuss ideas they now talk about other people, software and objects. There is no time for quiet times at home! Even sex can be purchased off-the-shelf, or experienced in thirty second trysts in aircraft toilets 35,000 feet above sea level, but not with a long term partner at home. The redefined human being is labeled a metrosexual. Yet at the end of the day the contemporary single person family needs companionship, without the hassles of people and community. Yet the single person family still wants something warm, with loving eyes, waiting at the door to greet them when they return home after a long day!

According to recent census data on dogs in modern societies, the canine creature is on the rise. Its ascendance shadows the rise of single person families! There are as many dogs in Amsterdam as there are people. This is all very important to us creatures who imagine ourselves as architects, as we are willy-nilly creating cities that not only respond to, but simultaneously catalyze the new social structure, culture and demography. Public screaming, posing, posturing and yelling are somehow the natural corollary to life alone with a dog! Just look at Europe, its new architecture, and its love affair with beasts!

Modern architecture, the kind of modernism that Josep Lluis Sert practiced and wrote about, was focused on resolving the conundrums of urbanism and our human condition in the bee hives we call cities. Modernists dealt with urbanism, the aesthetics of new materials, and a rejection of effete styles and fads. Heading the International Modern Architecture Congress (CIAM), Sert incorporated the Team Ten revolt within the movement, and then founded the first Urban Design course [at Harvard], which changed the way designers thought about built form and community. Le Corbusier was equally concerned with issues of humanity in transitional societies, and Wright championed craftsmanship and integration with context. Aldo van Eyck knew that “place was the realm of the inbetween” and he created 860 small play parks almost out of thin air. All abhorred effetism!

As the modernists searched for human scale and social reality, the theorists were flip flopping with new ideas and new heroes! Instead of evolving from a platform of ideas, a kind of incestuous love affair emerged between designers, magazines and architectural critics. Postmodernist theories in architecture attempted to piggy-back on French philosophy and the literary criticism of the late 1960’s. Semantic Analysis, Structuralism, and Deconstruction that had come and gone in the arts in the early Twentieth Century, decades before “liberal humanism” was debunked by French theorists, re-emerged as clichés of the effete elite! Philosophical and literary Postmodernism really shares nothing with architectural Postmodernism. Postmodernism in architecture seems to be some kind of neo-capitalist Employment Guarantee Scheme for a clique of academic theorists, journalists and designers, rather than a guiding criticism of design, leading to a better future. The prime beneficiaries have been the writers, publishers, magazines, media, and a few grandstand architects who vomit out the spectacular at the cost of good community building principles and practices. Honest expression of structure and materials has been labeled as passé.

Just as the “Chicago School” of architecture met sudden death with the Chicago International Exhibition in 1893, modern architecture wilted to the blow of a few humongous projects in the 1970’s and 80’s. Effete though spectacular architecture caught the public imagination. Giedion cites America’s cultural inferiority complex as the reason that effetism triumphed at the close of the Nineteenth Century, stating “it was to France that the builders of the (1893) fair turned for their search for beauty… which gave the French academicians a dominating role at this Chicago fair.” And again the world of architecture looked to France for intellectual reasoning in the last quarter of the Twentieth Century. Again, it is a sense of inferiority that leads to bombastic exhibitionism and narcissistic isolationism. The terrorism of the avant-garde has invaded the half awake mind, the fear of being correct; of not displaying one’s stupidity, has made us stupid. The only creatures we dare talk to without recrimination are dogs! In fact within totalitarian regimes where people snitch upon each other’s wrongness and wield “politically correct” thinking as a threat, pets are the safest bet for a trusted friend. So aware were the Soviets of this human weakness, that when they invaded Prague in 1968, their first act of state terrorism was canine genocide; the killing of all the city’s dogs within the first week of occupation!

Lacking any complex order to sustain thought, buildings catalyze us to ask questions about the intellectual context, that is abstract analytical context, rather than content and the actual setting. A theory is the idea behind it, rather than the physical and social context! Some theory about the building has to be explained to justify its existence. Success is in evoking questions: “what is the reason for all of this?” Yet, this is not a reasonable question in our postmodernist times wherein it is the institution of the media, the galleries and the critics who have declared a mound of nothing to be “Architecture”! Postmodernists would like for us to ask questions about the justifying ideas that surround iconic architectural monuments. The buildings do not contain their putative poetry or beauty. You have to think over it and figure it out, and probably read several books on Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida to fit things in! Like Duchamp’s famous URINAL, or Gehry’s Fish, these monumental clever buildings test our patience and intellectual skills. As Butler analyses, “calling into question”, or “making the viewer guilty or disturbed” seems to be a common element amongst the spectacular buildings being created. There is a neo-Marxist tint to it all as it makes everything from personal relations to buildings into political constructions and challenges. On the other hand the stunts created are to be consumed rather than used! A fire station can be turned into a profit centre “museum” harvesting income from visitor tickets. A project that is five times over the budget can be justified on the grounds that it was paid for through the entry fees of ogling tourists in the first year! The Wal-Mart business model has become the justification for art! Mercantilism justifies the tyranny of the spectacular.

According to some critics, contemporary society is immersed in a special situation where ironically in the new information society ideas and information are “suspect” of being the manipulative image-making of those in control, rather than the advancement of knowledge (Butler). Frederic Jameson sees much built environment as “a mutation into a postmodernist hyperspace which transcends the capacities of the human mind to locate itself, to find its own position in the mappable world, and this milling confusion is a dilemma, a symbol and analogue of the incapacity of our minds to map the great global multinational and unfocused communicational network in which we find ourselves caught as individual subjects.”

But yes, we like to talk about the SPACTACULAR and about things “new”; we write about style, about fashion and about fleeting things that are here today and gone tomorrow. Cute and clever designs rule over context, community and the reality of materials. The victims are the people who live in little repetitive boxes and are told spectacular sculpture is their compensation. They are told good architecture is a stunt of monumental construction, which massacres anything inside of it, all in the name of a vague concept of art, with a little French philosophy thrown in for good taste.

It seems architectural critics swallowed their own propaganda about “modernism” and began to believe that “modern architecture” was all about “isms”, great men, sculptural buildings and icons! In fact it was exactly the other way around! The Postmodern era we are living in, is in fact a form of pre-modern effetism, which the early modernists raved against! This is the same effetism which killed the Chicago School at the close of the Nineteenth Century, opening the door once more for the make believe of the spectacular.

The city make-over of recent decades is just cold facades; inhuman objects; machine scale monumentalism; stunts and spectacular structures and materials. Like the fashion ramp, our cities are getting cluttered with mimics of the Bilbao’s Guggenheim, the Valencia City of Arts and Sciences, China’s CCTV Tower, the Vitra Fire Station, and Amsterdam’s Nemo. These are the scraps thrown out to the public for visual consumption! Museums have become the opiates of the masses! The urban landscape dies when the malls close, the lights go off and the pizzazz dims into darkness. Like the spectacular, anal retentive buildings all alone in their own little city blocks, the city dwellers all go home to their little boxes to feed canned food to their cats and dogs, with whom they cuddle up and go to sleep! This seems to be the India of our dreams!

Butler, Christopher: Postmodernism: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2002), pp 2.
CIAM: Can Our Cities Survive? (Harvard, 1942).
Derrida, Jacques: Acts of Literature (Routlege, 1992).
Foucault, Michel: The Order of Things (Tavistock, 1970).
Jameson, Frederic: Post Modernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (Verso, 1991), pp. 42.
Giedion, Siegfried: Space, Time and Architecture (Harvard, 1959) pp. 393.
Said, Edward: Orientalism (Harmonsworth, 1985).

03 11 08 ccb : all rights retained by the author.

*Christopher Charles Benninger is an urbanist practicing architecture out of studios in Pune, India and Thimphu, Bhutan. He has won the Designer of the Year, Golden Architect and Great Masters’ Awards in India, and was A+D’s first recipient of their Recognition in Excellence in Design Award for Architecture. In the year 2000 he won the American Institute of Architects (Business Week/Architectural Record) Award for the United World College near Pune.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Who moved my Garden of Eden?

And the other day I walk into a club with a bunch of friends after a long day of work hoping for some fun and killer music. Turns out all we had was our share of a wet cat who was not at all amused with the turn of events. On a closer look, it was my friend- the hoighty-toighty Miss ‘I-never-step-out without-my-Manolos’ who ended up landing in a stream of water right in the middle of the dance floor.

Amusing? Hell yes!! 

Although a ruined pair of $450 Manolo’s did can the scenes for the night, the nonplussed lot of us who didn’t seem to understand the reasons as to why a pair of shoes (that look like a bunch of geckos died for) should put a lid on it.

We, (us the unaffected) simply headed to a pub downtown. 

But the one specific thing that caught my fancy was, ‘Why a running stream of water in the middle of dozens of gyrations and on the turntable?’ Turns out, the stream was a part of the beautification process we now have a term for- Contemporary Landscaping.

I recall vividly as a kid running through orchards of apple trees at our summer home or through the tea-garden (quite not what it sounds like though!!) which my aunt had painstakingly reared with Petunias, Tulips and Daffodils. She believed they ‘set’ the mood for the evenings. Currently, my aunt’s Petunias and Tulips have however given way to Rock gardens, elaborate sculptures of non-decipherable species and lots and lots of geometric lines that seem to fuse themselves in harmony with the wild outgrowth. A stark living experience from what I had seen a decade ago, Contemporary landscaping sculpts spaces with respect to nature while still creating a relationship with modern architecture and likeminded subjective characteristics of clean cuts and an aesthetic appeal to it. 

However, when someone tells me of the new and upcoming trends in the fields of landscaping and design; I’m sorry I beg to differ. As much as we want to believe that it was the 21st century human mind that came out with yet another fancy idea – to beautify your backyard; it has been something that has been in existence since the times of the Byzantine and the Ottoman Empire. It was hence no surprise as to how the Romans came up with doing up the entire Mediterranean coast into a single cultural entity replete with their way of living. 

Although those who love nature -unspoiled and wild, find this idea distasteful and would prefer gravitating towards more traditional forms of designing, the idea of contempo-scaping is to make-do with an experience that allows people to come closer to landscape on unique human terms. 


So…Miss ‘Hoighty-Toighty’ called yet again. This time wanting me to accompany her for the readings of a Russian Ballet!!

Think I’ll give it a skip and head to my Aunt Marion’s rock garden for some ‘set’ time with the newly installed statue of the Space-age Zeus by Andy Sturgeon!!!  


Shed Some Light

My early experiences as a child visiting another country have been those of facile amazement and suffused with wonder.

One such vivid memory that will remain etched forever involves a trip to the palace of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Fortunately this was a time when my Pa was spearheading a bevy of construction projects for him which automatically entitled me as a 9 year old to tag along and visit the horse stables, the gardens and..and ‘The’ Palace!!

My initial reactions of awe gave way to amazement. Of course it needs no introduction as to how opulent the Arabs are in their ways of living. Ginormous dome shaped foyers, landings the size of Victorian balconies, Moroccan influences and their fascination for all things ‘Gold’.  However what took the cake was the life-sized chandelier strategically hung right in the center of the entrance foyer. Over two storeys tall, the only light in the room seemed to be coming from this huge installation.

This was when the love for crystals (before Swarovski became a staple for crystals) immediately translated to having one prized possession of a chandelier in the house. 

The last I heard from a friend who visited the palace was that the chandelier had been removed and was thus replaced by concealed lighting that seemed to permeate out of corners – obscure yet effective. 

The era of ‘contemporary’ lighting had dawned upon the Arabs as much as the rest of the world!

Striking a balance between art deco and the concepts of minimalism, contemporary lighting as a whole come across the blend that manages to touch the chords that go in sync with human moods. Some used to create an ambience, some to alter the mood and some heavily derived from cultures across the world. 


These are the kind of illuminations that are generic to many forms of art yet at the same time has an individualistic character of their own. Conveniently managing to blend itself with Cubism, Purism, Viennese Secession, Nouveau and various other forms of architecture; modern lighting has had home and commercial space owners lining up for the classic Pablo Pardo ‘Piccola’ desk lamp or even something as basic as a Phillips LED lamp that can transform spaces in no time.                                                                                                            

Call it the era of the sleek, the straight or the concealed; the fact remains that contemporary lighting takes Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and his likes to a different plane of execution altogether. 

My knowledge on architecture and design at times decapitates me when someone asks for elaborations on arcs, parabolas, tracks, sunbursts, curves and what’s organic and what’s not! However one thing I know for sure; these perfect compositions of finesse, structural balance, integrity and aesthetic sense – I certainly like. 

..and though a very very over exaggerated statement this is – “I’d rather go for the Piccola than a Tiffany right now!!” 

When Frank Gehry beat The Tudors by 10-0..!!

It was not a long time ago when the best descriptions about a place were the ones that were a reflection in lieu with one’s culture and the way of life. Agatha Christies houses; (albeit the victims or the perpetrator’s), always used to be the one’s located amidst lush greenery at the corner of Hyde Park or some even obscure place by the name of Holkham Hall or Wells-next-the-sea!!

Enter the Millennium and call it a shift in mindset or (as I prefer to call it: The love for all things ‘Box’), the ornate cravings seem to have vanished, the dome-shaped ceilings have disappeared. John Vanbrugh and his Baroque style of architecture no longer stood trial. Royally sidelined by the common man, the newest penchant for contemporary designs was something that took the world by storm. 

A friend of mine who roamed around the world looking for the perfect shelter to settle down once told me, “Contemporary/Modern" in the world of art and architecture means sleek, clean and mathematical lines. It's industrial and geometric based instead of free-form and organic. That's why these houses are not called traditional, Victorian, country or whatever else. These houses are beautiful because they have amazing spaces. They do not need "embellishments" or useless tacky additions to be presentable and they are much more than "boring looking boxes.” Thereby finishing off with a flourish and shooting me a dirty look at the end of the last word.  

Yeah..the box part of it was in retaliation!

But is this at the cost of efficiently turning a blind eye towards what has been?

“Seems unlikely”, quips another one of the box-loving generation.

Contemporary designs and living are not something that has evolved out of the governance or the fall-out of from the reign of a certain style of architecture. It is more of a fusion that binds the technological conveniences as the fission of a developed revolution to integrate it with space fluidity, functionality, open spaces and sleek décor. 

From fashionably warm windy afternoons on your patio to the prized piece of Mies van der Rohe Barcelona day bed, clearly it is minimalism and al fresco’s that looked like they’ve been held over and over again in the Museum of Modern art rule the world this minute. 

And while I keep up my constant struggle with whatever happened to the Tudor mansions yet being utterly tempted by the Tout de Suite ‘Frank Gehry’ creations, there are those who go in for yet another helping of their extra-rare Beef steaks on their ‘contemporary’ patios. 

Another helping of Carlo Scarpa anyone?