Archive | January 2013

Ideal City of the 21st Century

Mumbai

Do you remember the last post about Delhi? Don’t I Crib a lot about cities? This time around I feel that I’m doing something meaningful about it.

There is a Design School in Germany which has come up with an online collaborative venture where anyone from around the world can contribute to a learning and developing assignment about the Ideal City of the 21st Century. Guess this was the perfect place for me to go and crib and also understand why cities are the way they are. As luck would have it, all 400 photos taken by my smart phone in Mumbai now have a purpose. I selected a few and have uploaded a few on the Flickr stream , which is where participants from over 90 countries can exchange comments about the first assignment.

Visit to Pong Dam

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Beauty is in Nature. We usually regard man-made interventions a threat to natural beauty. Like this dam above. It’s basic job is to harness the river water into electricity. But when birds, sometimes from trans Himalayan countries, find an oasis for their seasonal winter travel, even the government can do little but proclaim this as a bird sanctuary.

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Thousands of birds every year , like this flock of bar headed geese, flock to the waters of Pong Dam. Living in the marshes, bathing in the cool waters, eating fish from the waters, eating crop out of the farmers fertile field! That last one is tricky.

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This young boy, all of 16 is part of the village community farming on the fertile fields. At night, he along with few others keep guard on their paddy fields during the sowing season (right now). They use their torch lights, sometimes loud music to scare the birds, which arrive in flocks of hundreds. Early morning, he says is quite a sight, with over 4000- 5000 birds resting on the marshes.The number of birds used to be in lakhs a couple of years ago. But they created havoc to the villagers crop.

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Although the dam area is concentrated, as in the first picture, the birding areas are all along the river. Many little villages have a nondescript street or lane towards what is the “sanctuary”. Most people around are not much aware of this area and that birds like bar headed geese, shelducks, green winged teal, seagulls, Egyptian vulture and many others have made this their winter home. Glad to have found it. Hardly 2 hrs from home.

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The Colour of Light and Air

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Top two pictures: Old Delhi, Red Fort Area at Night. Bottom Left: Turkman  Gate, Old Delhi. Bottom right: Emporio Mall, Delhi

After the first impression that I got last week after stepping in Delhi, it took ten days to look at some of the brighter sides.

While the wide roads had distanced people and reassembled them into groups, most of the youth looked exactly the same. Most women had long hair, wearing leggings or  slacks with boots.

The metro rail had masses of smartphone totting people, who were extremely warm and cordial. It seemed like a different world underground than what was on the roads above.

While some “sculptures” and “mosaics” apparently made in the name of beautification were horrendous to say the least. (Thats why no pictures here!), but a chance visit to NGMA revealed a better management of art sculptures. (but no camera that day!)

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Top: Delhi park on a misty morning. Middle left: foggy journey starts. Middle right: A Red wattled Lapwing goes for a morning walk as well. Bottom: Toll Plaza at Gurgaon at mid day

Weather has dramatically shifted from chilling decembers to killing january and the last I heard, the temperature was 1 deg Celsius. Fog and mist stay for a longer part of the day and most of the night. While Delhi recorded the lowest temperature in 44 yrs, the cold wave has taken over most of North India. As the icy chill cripples my hand, it is an accomplishment to have created this post. Time for central heating of homes!