On a Rainy Day.

  • July 14, 2015
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On a Rainy Day.
In 2007, almost now nearing 8 years- the BATA factory land  in Kolkata started transforming into a new living community. Over time many cultural practices had got entrenched- people traversed the lands, it was full of shops; the local community used its grounds for festivals, or sports; many accessed the river through this land- and of course the many employees of BATA stayed here.
For those who know Kolkata , this was the wrong end of the town- a location no one went to.
Sumit however was determined to make this an example of what good living could be in the country.


He invited good minds; Dulalda ( Mukherjee), Pramod Balakrishnan, Rajeev Kathpalia, Kiran Kapadia and Bimal Patel, to help with designing the various buildings.
Great enthusiasm led to many meetings and workshops, and many drawings were made.
And then the financial world collapsed. And the political world in Bengal was in turmoil.
Overnight what seemed possible to imagine and build vanished. IT , Retail were the first casualties. Things did not look too good. Slowly all the architects had to bid farewell.
Work had  however started; but the project floundered. Years went where little work happened. Some times in flurry.
Through all this Sumit help firm, as did the absolutely delightful, warm and emotional group of people who work at site; they believed what was being said, they believed the vision, and worked with local communities, workers, suppliers and bit by bit carved spaces. A little here; a little there.
Pieces of a big jig saw; where may bits were lost or unclear.But they believed.
Then slowly from the mist, the images started morphing. Things started being firmed.
And in this chaotic 250 acres, they built new shops to replace the old, new housing for the workers, other apartments, small clubs, and like tailors, we worked with them, stitching the patches- with roads, pavements, gardens, water and open spaces.
We did our bit in holding the process cohesively and kept working on the master plan.
We  also drew   impossible things. Manholes centered in paving across the acres to precision, curbing systems that were right, intricate planting, fine stone work, crafted lighting, decks, well designed roads, and services  and such like.And the folks at the site amazed all of us , including themselves, by staying true to every line, and chipping away like the fine crafts men that they are and were.
On a recent rainy  day, the metaphorical and real mist lifted for a bit, and the parts revealed them selves.
Work in progress and a long way to go- but it does warm our hearts.

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