Top Menu

By virtue, our life revolves around the built environment. Through our journey, we have come across buildings that have been there for centuries. Some stand tall, oozing the grandeur of the past, while some stand-in dismay, hoping to be loved again. Each of them has seen a fair share of life filled with joy and some near-death experiences.

“With age comes wisdom, but sometimes age comes alone.” Oscar Wilde

Mending the roof over their head before the next storm. Mendwas, Rajasthan

In their lifetime buildings have seen several storms of various magnitudes. Some that just pass by some that actually stir up a bucket load of woes. In an area we have been studying for the past two years in Rajasthan, India, there is a house along the side of the road we pass very often. A beautiful home in mud, handcrafted by the family standing tall for generations. But an uninvited storm and torrential rain one night brought down parts of the wall. Over the next few weeks, we saw the family rebuilding the house, bringing it back to how it used to be. Keeping aside the misery the storm put them through, we saw them rebuild it with a smile on their face, saying we might have had troubled times but that we ought to do what we have to. A few mends and rebuilding some parts, the house is back to sheltering the family.

It is difficult to not give up amidst a storm, but there are ways to make it better once it all passes away.

Owners moved out decades ago, but the walls have been standing for centuries. Oobeshwarji, Rajasthan

A move with a hope of a better future; is a driving factor for buildings to be abandoned around the globe. Many times the buildings find a new owner but sometimes they are left to be. The only thing helping them is themselves, often after years of abandonment, the roof might give away, but the walls remain. With their foundations rooted in the ground, they are ready to face adversities to come. A degree of endurance is their only hope to survive in this world alone.

A strong foundation and a little bit of will power will support all along.

A century-old frescoed ceiling covered with a layer of whitewash in a fort in Pahadiya, Rajasthan

As beings, we are known for leaving our mark in a place that surrounds, be it cats or humans. The buildings around us are a testament of the same. With every new generation comes an alteration for the better or the worst. Some that we flaunt some that we hide.

Dolling up and hiding away the blemishes of past renders., with a fresh coat of a cement-based plaster on the walls of a haveli in Chaksu, Rajasthan

A reminder that our actions will have consequences, that we need to stand by.

A dry stone masonry wall using strategically sized and placed stone in Khaba, Rajasthan

A building is a well-oiled machine working in cohesion to thrive. In Jaisalmer, Rajasthan there are a large number of houses constructed in dry stone masonry. Assembled like a large jigsaw puzzle where every piece of stone is playing its part, irrespective whether it is visible, appreciated or no.

It isn’t essential to work for admiration; instead, it is necessary to strive to succeed; however, big or small your part is.

A gharat used for mixing the lime mortar mix at Kuchaman Fort, Rajasthan

Staying relevant, the fight to survive is a struggle that we all face. A way to move ahead is adapting to ensure longevity; we often see the will to survive provides us with challenges and opportunities. Everyone has their own way to face the challenges as per the need of the hour, whether it is in regards to the cultural and social settings or the use of materials or choice of technology. The use of lime is extensively seen in Rajasthan, traditionally where the mix was ground using a bull power run wheel is now run using a tractor; a continuum of tradition with modern-day advances. We need to learn to adapt the way our buildings are into the 21st century to learn how to thrive and succeed but do it consciously.

Being open to learning by adapting and evolving.

Learning from our past could help us enhance the learnings for our future.

Article originally published on Medium.



About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>