Monthly Archives: May 2010

Just another day in the Cemetery

The weather in London these past few days has been gorgeous.  It has been very hot and today reached 30 degrees Celsius! Exploiting the long daylight, (sunset today was at 8.59 pm, no really) I went to the local cemetery and just started clicking away.

I had the odd look from bystanders which clearly had the word weirdo written in their eyes when they were looking at me, but then in here, no one gives a tosh.

There were some flowers which had grown near good ole George Barnabas’s tombstone (d 1813), not sure if he felt me lurking around his grave trying to take photographs. I managed to get a few and an unexpected ladybird in one of the flowers too.

They looked alright in the camera, but then again it was way too sunny and glary for me to look clearly enough. Turns out the pictures aren’t as good as I hoped they would be.

Hope you like them!

Barnabas’s neighbours’ grave. (Neighbour in the cemetery i.e.)

The ladybird.

A closer look at the little fellow.

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Filed under aufidius, macro, sunflower, Uncategorized

End of the War: The untold story of the Child

First published here on Groundviews.

This war has taken the lives of tens of thousands of men, women and children. Hundreds of thousands more are displaced, and the abnormality of the war and post war situation is fast and painfully becoming normalcy to most people, some don’t and didn’t even live to see that.

Hundreds of children are being born into such conditions, by virtue of the fact that the Muslim IDP’s displaced in the early part of the conflict are still languishing in Puttalam, I won’t be surprised if a decent amount of these children born would die (possibly as adults) in the same conditions to which they were born to.

Studies suggest that post war trauma is conceivably more painful than the emotional stress suffered during war. During periods of war and despite the aggressive conditions that ensue, people subjected to these live in pain and indescribable stress. However, the hope that these abnormalities will diminish and normalcy would resume lingers on and this is a solace of sorts to those who look for solace in the most difficult of times. In a post war situation, when there is no conceivable military conflict taking place and the people continue to suffer in difficult conditions it is inevitable that post war trauma will tighten its venomous grip.

Because of its brutality, this has become the paradigm for traumatic experience, with the constant need for psychological and psychiatric help for victims long after its end.

My father was the architect for a project called ‘Food for Education’ by an Italian NGO. Thus he had to make several site visits to seventy schools in the Trincomalee District. In addition to the war, Trincomalee was also severely affected by the tsunami of 2004.

Due to poverty, lack of infrastructure, the loss of hope that school education will achieve little and for fears of safety, school attendance amongst children was very low. It was also known that malnutrition was rampant amongst these children. The project aimed to build Kitchen & Sanitation facilities in these schools and free food was distributed to students who attended school.  Thus this incentive helped mitigate absenteeism of school children to a certain extent in the Trincomalee district.

I joined my father in several of his site visits and I remember going to Trincomalee at least ten times during 2005 – 2006.

In spite of all the pain and suffering that was around, the faces of the children depicted a remarkable sense of resilience to the pain they and their families endured. These children coupled with the ready and mischievous smiles in their faces disguised the very painful story many a parent I spoke to in my limited Tamil told me.

There is now an end to a military conflict, and a year has gone by. And yet, there is years of work to be done in these areas to rebuild shattered hopes, dreams and society in general. These photographs can only attempt to ask questions about and to do justice to the untold story of many a child.

If not of most, this conflict didn’t manage to wipe out the smiles of all children in conflict zones. We must ensure that they never are, at least by planned yet hastened resettlement of all affected men, women and children.

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Filed under kids, Sri Lanka

Gutter journalism, how much freedom is media freedom?

There have been so many rants about media freedom, or lack of it. And yet the media abuses its freedoms on a very monotonously regular basis. This video is just pathetic!

It is very disgusting to see that sincere parental (human) emotions are exploited to earn an easy buck. More often than not, it is not even for the money, but purely the stereotypical attitude people can have towards another person.

The media has an immense role to play in society to expose the everyday negativities that take place with the intention that doing so may pave way for a purer society. But, increasingly (if not already) the media is intrinsically a tool used to play the role diametrically opposite to what it should be playing.

Recently I was at a conference in London about islamophobia and national identity. Conceivably, issues of national security and media freedom did come up. There were a few MP’s present, some from constituencies which were largely Muslim, hence this was an ideal opportunity to exhibit how ‘Muslim friendly’ they were in order to win the Muslim vote, which thus far has been to an extent traditionally Labour.

A community marginalised by islamophobia (mostly due to the negligence or in an extreme case, connivance of state institutions) can create a fertile ground for individuals with convoluted thoughts that can pose a threat to national security, as it has been proven again and again and again. Therefore shouldn’t governments around the world treat islamophobia as a threat to national security, than isolating the phenomenon as purely an issue which affects only Muslim communities around the world?

Of course my question ‘got lost’ in its difficult and adventurous journey from my notepad to the desk of the moderator to the hand of an MP, but these questions do exist.

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Elected!

It’s that time of the year again, Beyond Borders are having their latest theatre forum. As always I can vouch for the quality and I am genuinely thrilled that the new guns at BB are firing well! Do go take part if possible, it will be well worth your time! Details in the attached poster.

More information here.

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The Flowers,Pollens and the Towers.

Macro of white flowers taken with towers as the backdrop. University of Cambridge.

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Filed under architecture, england, flower, Uncategorized

Oh to be an Architect!

I saw Makuluwo’s post and her rantings about her voluntary self inflicted torture and felt this post of mine in another blog deserved a repost! As an architecture student I went through the bulk of these myself, and I will start them again in a few months when I am back in Uni!

Why we do it is what comes to mind when we go through the stress,pain and apprehension! but the excitement in the end is what drives us!

You know you are an architecture student when –

….you know the janitors by name

….your roommates say “good morning,” and you reply “good night.”

….you carry a toothbrush in your backpack.

….someone asks you for your phone number and you give them the studios.

….you start paying rent for your desk space in studio.

….You total up 3 meals of the day to your breakfast.”

….’Red Bull’ is you favorite drink.

….all of the Christmas gifts you give are wrapped in trace.

…..you ask Santa Clause for architecture supplies.

….you ask Santa Clause for a sleeping bag.

….after all of your expenses, you can’t afford to pay attention.

….you have 3 or more cups of double shot coffee espressos in one night.

…you hear the same song on the radio 3 or more times in one night.

…. You know the different taste between UHU and Pritt glue

…. You can stay alive without sunlight, communicate with people nor having foods but you would commit suicide if the plotter doesn’t plot your work out.

….construction workers are already working.

….You’ve lost your house key and you realized a week later.

….you sleep more than 16 hrs at weekends.

….you dance madly at 3 am though u aren’t drunk.

…. You are an expert and Photoshop, 3DS Max, illustrator and auto cad but you don’t know how to use MS excel

….you spend more time in studio than in your own bed.

….your parents are complaining that you’re not having enough fun.

….you only leave studio to buy supplies.

….you haven’t taken a shower in a week.

….you see showering as a waste of time.

….you’ve even dreamt about your models.

….upon hearing ‘supermodel’, you think of a nicely crafted-foam core model.

….your parents have more of a social life than you.

….your 14-year-old brother has more of a social life than you.

….you consider using broccoli for your models.

….you enjoy hanging out at ‘Home and Garden Fair’.

….you know all the 24-hour food places in the area.

….your friends get more sleep in one night than you do in one week.

….the streetlights turn off.

…You consider 3AM an early night.

….when you are out at 3AM, and people knows where you’re at.

….everything you eat comes in single serving baggies.

…smoking sounds appealing.

….you’re out on Friday nights in studio.

….the only building on campus with its lights on is your studios’.

….you say “It’s only midnight- I have plenty of time to finish.”

….you confuse sunrise with sunset. ….you ask what time it is, then ask “AM or PM?”

….you strangle your roommate because she said she stayed up late studying.

….your Friday night is 68 hours long.

….you know how much a cubic foot of concrete weighs (150lbs).

….you slice your finger, and the first thing you think of is if you’ll be able to finish your model.

….you understand why architects have glasses and white hair.

….You call some great architects as if they are you friends. err… Frank… Tadao. …. Corb

….you know all of these are true, no exaggerations.

….you can listen to all your CD’s in one night.

….certain songs remind you of studio.

….Sister’s favorite brand names are Prada DNKY etc… But yours are Mastex, Staedtler, pentel, rotring.

….you dare not to have a gf/bf because no-one can accept you for what you are.

….you can conceptually compose the food on your plate.

….you think the ‘Weekender’ happens every weekend.

….upon hearing ‘Weekends’ you think of sleep.

….the ‘Shop Cafe’ closes when you arrive, and reopens before you leave studio.

….you have to wait for breakfast shops to open.

….you go to the food shop, and order the “usual”, and they understand.

….you use architecture tools to eat.

….you only buy groceries once a month.

….you wake up to go to school and you’re already there.

….you start wearing all black.

….you have no life, and admit it.

….you start to critique a radio selection’s selection of songs.

….you bring your friends to studio to keep you company.

….you refer to outside studio as the “Real World.”

….”going out to eat” is at the ‘Shop Cafe’.

….going on a vacation involves going to ‘Flax’ or ‘Pearl’.

….you confuse today and tomorrow.

….you tell time by when other people leave studio.

….you can write a 6-page term paper by procrastinating.

….you hear “Didn’t you wear that yesterday?’ followed by “and the day before that?”

….your roommate files a Missing Person Report.

….you count the number of days (not hours) you’ve been awake.

….you think days are 48 hours long.

….you go to the store to buy a six-pack of ‘Red Bull’

….”Homecoming” happens once a term.

….on Halloween, you dress like your instructors.

….on Halloween you trick-or-treat in studio to get arch supplies or ‘Red Bull.’

….”respect”, “coolness’, and “hatred” are all based on how much sleep you get, or lack of.

….you see your own picture on a milk carton.

….you start using words your instructor uses.

….your bed has collected a layer of dust on it.

….concept of time is not forward, but a countdown from the time a project is due

….you contemplate dropping your major 3 times a day.

….you have a tent pitched in studio, but still don’t go to sleep.

….doing models all night long excites you.

….you know the people in the studio better then your roommates.

….X-acto knives can be dangerous

… as we all know or will find out.

….Beer pyramids AND Red Bull pyramids are some of our late-night late projects.

….Elmer’s glue doesn’t dry quick — not even close.

….They know the phrase “Always done, never done” all too well and wish the professors would stop saying it

….They can always have more construction lines.

….They know the number and price of their favorite item in the snack machine downstairs, as well as every other item and all the drinks in the other two machines

….And if you have been drunk while in the studio working on a project, join the club.

….they believe they should be paid just for having the major

….you drink more in studio than you do when you’re out

….you have sent messages on aim to another jackass architecture student in the same room as you are

….you think “X-Acto Blade Throwing” is a sport.

….you have 3 or more ‘Mountain Dews’ in one night

….you spend more time in studio than with your wife.

….”scoring” involves an X-Acto blade

….you don’t find out who wins the Presidential Election until Thanksgiving Break, if you get one at all.

….a break consists of moving your car.

….you’ve memorized your favorite vending machine combination item

….you use your T-square or straight edge as a baseball bat.

…..the day has 2 sunrises.

…..you test which glue will cause your model to burn faster.

….you can’t draw without listening to music!

…. when people tell you that they like walking around with you because you see things know one else does.

…. when you don’t understand how someone doesn’t strategize their way through traffic

….when someone says “icon” and you think of Louis I. Kahn

…. When you’re not sure what day of the week it is

…. When you have slept straight through a day and into the next day after a final review

…. When lack of sleep makes you feel and act as if you are high

…. When any flat surface is seen as a place to take a nap

…. When the books that you read consist primarily of photographs and not so much of words

…. When you go to studio and spend more time socializing than doing work

…. When you have big enough balls to tell a critique that they are wrong

…. When everyone in studio hates you because you are the one who plays their music too loudly

…. When after playing your music too loudly the same people who hated you start to take interest in your music

…. When you have developed an addiction to buying new albums, because you have gotten sick of all your old ones

…. When trying to decide what album to play you find an album you haven’t listened to a while and it ends up being the perfect choice.

…. When professors for courses outside of the architecture school are lenient once they are aware you are an architecture student.

…. When you tell someone in another school that you are architecture major and they automatically assume you have no social life

…. When you have a non architect friend who wants to tag along to architecture parties because they know that architects have the best parties

…. When you are the only sober person standing outside of the hot truck on a Friday/ Saturday night

…. When you have a sign taped to your back that says do not disturb unless you are ordering food

…. You have given a final presentation with your fly open

…. You try to do things to make your friend laugh while he is presenting

In all honesty I’ve experienced 95% of these

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Filed under architecture, university

Birds in a post war zone.

The absence of birds is one of the most strikingly common characteristics of post-war landscapes. The quotation below provides a contemporary example of how their return may make it possible to signal the return of peace:

“…I strained my ears but all I could hear was the distant rumbling of heavy guns in the mountains. Then I realised what I was listening to. Across the road of the top of a charred stump of a tree in the ruins of the palace gardens, a bird was singing”

– Christina Lamb in her book, The Sewing circles of Herat.

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