Friday, June 27, 2008

the incredible hulk

with much more action and a love story that i found colder than the helpless longing in the ang lee prequel, this turned out to be a fairly enjoyable ride through a colour-by-numbers superhero film. the brazil locations were spectacular and the special effects great- i loved the entry of the hulk in the shadows of a cold drink bottling plant; the action sequence on a virginia college campus were also fabulous. but a hulk story is so much more than the sum of these testosterone saturated parts. because at the end of each story the hulk is left alone condemned to being an outsider forever. and the ang lee film understood him better.

Monday, June 23, 2008

asleep on the flyover (today morning)

group shot: masters at the lying in hospital

a morning walk down d n road

vikas knows the old city like no one else i know. as he took us for a walk down d n road after meeting early at flora fountain he told stories about almost every single building. the genealogy of the details, the choice of the style (indianized art deco, classical/gothic/ victorian revivial, vernacular), the modifications by the series of owners. Walking with him we ogled at wooden staircases and baluster details, sculptural pediments, minton tiled floors, thick timber beams, clever pretty architectural devices; and were suitably upset with the raised pointing between the stonework, the painted walls, the bricked up windows, the hoardings that obliterated details and awful steel i-sections that the repair board uses for shoring up sagging balconies.

pune workshop weekend

i think we need to hire a driver on these out of town trips. my lower back has given way completely after driving around for three days straight, the first to pune, the second in pune and the third back from there. the housing workshop has begun in earnest with our students working with others from other pune colleges looking at 6 slums for the stories that made them- at the house level and the settlement level. each is very different from the other but most seem to have consolidated themselves so much that they are able to raise an opinionated voice through the ngo’s; and also develop their own sense of ‘insiders’ and outsiders’. i wonder how one begins to deal with the much more slippery terrain of new slum communities. its been a task though keeping the students from pre-empting solutions immediately, especially with them being bombarded by the extremely confident positions of different architects, academics and activists whose competing claims to authority have to be carefully avoided. it seems much more difficult that anything we have encountered in bombay. maybe it has something to do with the curious marathi middle class insecurity of the city that demands obsequious respect all the time. but with our bull in china shop bluster, it was very difficult. with aggressive casualness we might have upset quite a few people there.

the room at yashada

the housing at yashada


ngo promo lecture

ngo promo movie

up and above with minal

Thursday, June 19, 2008

day trip to the vasai virar sub region: image post no 5: the road back home

back roads through fields and marshes, sopara town tacky rcc until across the hill the filed of tin roofed labur housing and on the highway celebrations for the pournima in the back of the truck.

day trip to the vasai virar sub region: image post 4: vasai fort

vasai fort is all unfortunately restored in the most atrocious way. the church has plasterwork obliterating the brickwork and the floor is kota upon the old stone. the mad spiral stair with its complex structure is still mercifully safe. and lunch was in a blue tarpaulin wrapped verandah overlooking the sea. fish and beer.

day trip the vasai virar sub region: image post 3: nirmal

in nirmal on the other hill (the first being the church seen in a previous post) is the shankaracharya mandir from surrounded by the talavs. the inside is original while the fort like outer wall new.

day trip to the vasai virar sub region: image post 2 - arnala

arnala with the three caste based streets that all lead down to a dirty beach, lined with huts and ostentatious houses along with net making, cold storages for the community. the boats have all been covered up for the monsoon and the men lie drunk on the porches. towards the south are the resort hotels with blaring marathi music and naked men in the pool leering at the daytime by-the-hour lovers who came there on their motorbikes.

day trip through the vasai virar sub region: image post 1 - agashi

we drove on the highway heading north and after a makeshift picnic of omlette pav from hotel saheel at the check naka arrived at agashi with a temple on a tank and a library hanging over the main street. the temple is domestic still until the ugly redevelopment completely defaces it. opposite the temple is the old peshwa wada in yellow and white pilastered splendour