Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Looking at Ranwar, up down!

It is time i say, yes!
I have started working on the design concepts and proposals with scenarios for Ranwar, It is time!
But while i do that a lot of analysis of the study that i did shall also be on its way on the blog. 
First in the series is the 3D of Ranwar, a Block 3D which essentially helps in understanding the current state of air circulation in the village, mainly after the high rises are taking over its serene scale. It is also important to have this mainly to have an overview of the village while and iterate on the design conservation plans. 
The comparison is mainly in between 1948 and 2010. 1948 mainly because thats when the first survey map of Ranwar was created of course after India gained Independence. It was surveyed by the British officers before they handed over the reigns of India to India. No Ranwar was no special case, they surveyed almost everything and helped India know its own places, before the government took over the Parliament. 1948 map is the one that i got from Mr. Herman Rodrigues, and has been used by me as my base map for all the mapping that i have done after that. 2010 because its NOW!
The difference is visible. Difference mainly in scale but also in depletion of the open grounds that Ranwar, or any other village of this nature could boast about. 

Ranwar in 1948

Ranwar in 2010

Here itself we see stark differences in scale and occupancy of the open spaces.

Ranwar, 1948

Ranwar, 2010

Ranwar, 1948

Ranwar, 2010

Ranwar, 1948

Ranwar, 2010

Ranwar, 1948. The scale is low, the sea was near and the breeze was superb!

Ranwar, 2010. The scale got high, the sea became land and the breeze vanished.

Ranwar, 1948. The view was perfect, one could see through the houses and the doors were open. Almost no one ever took to roads, it was only the neighbors house that was used as a pass through out of the village.

Ranwar, 2010. The view got disrupted, hardly anyone sits by the verandah, the doors are now closed and one has to take the roads/streets jostling between the speeding Cars, Bikes, and Auto rickshaws. There is no place to walk!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Its Exclusive! is what Ms. Alice Flanagan told me. Yes 1,4 is a fund that is an exclusive private club that runs in Ranwar which gives admittance to only 24 members. only 24!.
Going a little back to the history of these funds, it was a little more than 40 years ago that these funds were started, in fact only recently the funds celebrated its 40th anniversary with much fanfare and some and nostalgia (unfortunately cant reveal some little secrets with which the members are made fun off, but yes that showed the sincerity with which the members run the funds and be together in times of need.) So back to history, the funds were started by a group of women around the Ranwar square and they used to pay Re.1 and 4 anna as the membership fees per year and hence the name 1,4 funds.
The funds were created mainly for the reason that the women gather money by the year and enjoy with money, and if any member needs some in difficulty help them too. They used to used the funds also to have a picnic for the members once a year.
Some activities, all the members get together and celebrate their being every alternate month in the form of a dinner which is hosted by four members in one of their cottages. Hence they have 6 dinners a year, and all the 24 members get to host it once in a group of four. And they enjoy their time with full course dinners cooked by some of the best cooks (from what i have heard and will soon experience, Ranwar has some of the best culinary skills) and some great East Indian drinks like Kheemad, the base of which is country liquor mixed with some spices.
What they talk, we can imagine. It ranges from talks of their lives to nostalgia to doing something fruitful for their village juntaa. So they have a motive and its to celebrate once every two months and enjoy the exclusivity of being a part of a club which they call it 1,4 funds.
Today the members pay around Rs.50 as membership fee per year, apart from hosting these wonderful dinners ( i need not mention, i already got an invitation to the next one and i am so looking forward to it!)

Through these community initiatives we can only see some thought for the being, being together and living peacefully with one another. Interestingly, places like Ranwar gives an opportunity to have some clubs and initiatives of these sorts which still binds them together.
Like the literary club in Ranwar some grand years ago to Rest Ranwar, women's day celebrations, evening rosary's, 1,4 funds, and many more initiatives bring a lot of reflection as well as importance to the existence of these spaces and the link of same to their culture and lives that they live everyday!
i am sure there are many more clubs like 1,4 that i have to still hear about. But just celebrating life is something one should hear from them!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Feast of the Holy Cross

Feast of the Holy Cross:
The True Cross is said to have been discovered in 326 by the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine IHelena of Constantinople, during a pilgrimage she made to Jerusalem. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was then built at the site of the discovery, by order of Helena and Constantine. The church was dedicated nine years later, with a portion of the cross placed inside it. In 614, that portion of the cross was carried away from the church by the Persians, and remained missing until it was recaptured by the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius in 628. Initially taken to Constantinople, the cross was returned to the church the following year.

The date of the feast marks the dedication of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in 335. This was a two-day festival: although the actual consecration of the church was on September 13, the cross itself was brought outside the church on September 14 so that the clergy and faithful could pray before the True Cross, and all could come forward to venerate it.
Alternately: In the Gallican usage, beginning about the seventh century, the Feast of the Cross was celebrated on May 3, and called "Crouchmas" (for "Cross Mass") or "Roodmas". When the Gallican and Roman practices were combined, the September date was assigned to commemorating the rescue of the Cross from the Sassanid Persians, and the May date was kept as the Finding of the Holy Cross or Invention of the True Cross to commemorate the finding. (In this context "invention" (from Latin invenire, "to find") does not have the modern sense of creating something new.) Pope John XXIII removed this duplication in 1960, so that the Roman Calendar now celebrates the Holy Cross only on September 14.

In Bandra:
Going by the Gallican usage, which was the earlier celebration, Bandra celebrates the Feast of the Holy Cross in the month of May every year. The residents who live around a particular cross come out in the evening after sunset to say the rosary everyday in May. Its a practice that has been followed since eternity here, even though the official date of the the Feast is shifted to September 14th by the Pope.
the decorated cross at the Ranwar Square for the final day of the feast of the cross month on the 31st May

In Ranwar, the feast is celebrated with full zeal and enthusiasm by the residents of the village. It was a very neat experience to be a part of these daily rosary's at the two crosses in Agna Square, and the Ranwar Square. I went to both for rosary recital, of which one was the community mass and feast on the last day of the month of May when the feast ends. Its really nice that this practice still continues, especially in the month of May as it is Vacations and all the kids can also join in. The atmosphere around these crosses id very festive, the crosses are decorated and the snacks for the feast are prepared at home by some enthusiastic residents (the taste of the Marzipan is still on my tongue, gosh! it was yum), and it is always open for all to come around and be a part of the celebrations. 
It is also important to notice that these events and activities, religious or not religious become great nodes of communication. People gathered around do make it a point to greet each other and share a chat. This is something that keeps the community life active and buzzing.
some more images:

the statute of Mother Mary at the grotto near the Ranwar square, and the a regular Rosary on at the Agna square

Rosary on the final day of the month if May, which is celebrated with a feast.

a residents reciting the Rosary, praying for everyones good health and revising lessons give by Lord Jesus on community living, love and friendship

some beautiful decoration at the cross, with flowers from a neighbors superb garden, and an innovative sprite bottle cut candle stand. 

The Experience was truly memorable, also because i was introduced to a whole lot of residents who are going to be helping me with the project and we got to see a very very beautiful cottage 42, Ranwar at the Square which belongs to Mr. Owen and his cousin brother. The chat about his house, maintenance, the time he spends it to talks of some history was very helpful.