Month: November 2013

A hidden valley, an isolated town and silence all around

November 17, 2013 – The Washington Post

Ziro Girls

When the music ended, the valley fell silent.

In the last weeks of September, the monsoon rains had largely receded, but elephantine clouds continued to pour over the hillsides, drifting close overhead and dropping dramatic shadows across the golden paddies that carpeted the Valley floor. Cupped like so much still water in the upraised hands of the Himalayas, the Ziro Valley had returned, once again, to its customary quiet. (more…)

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Breaking Ground

November-December 2013 – Architectural Digest India

“My clients are getting younger as I’m getting older, which is nice,” says Rahul Mehrotra, his perfectly round glasses propped above his forehead. He smiles warmly through his neatly trimmed gray beard, shrugs and laughs: “As my beard got whiter, people started listening to me more easily.”

We’re making our way through the nondescript sprawl of Hyderabad’s Cyber City, and Mehrotra’s elliptical manner of speech – as clear and circular as those glasses – draws theoretical threads and practical lessons effortlessly through the various projects and preoccupations that have constituted his career. To our left, silvering under gray monsoon clouds, a soft-edged green mass sits – or rather, grows – between the hard blue glass cubes that dominate the landscape. Rahul interrupts himself to point out the building. (more…)

The Gathering Dust

November 2013 – Indian Quarterly

Six years before he helped to found the Bombay Stock Exchange in 1875, Premchand Roychand donated 2 lakh rupees to the University of Bombay for the construction of a clock tower on the express condition that it be named after his mother: Rajabai. Built of local Kurla stone and designed by English architect Sir George Gilbert Scott (best known for his Gothic Revival churches back home), the tower rose 85 meters, looking out over the palms and the maidan to the sea. The clock tower and its scrolls of Venetian Gothic masonry surmounted the university library; it was Bombay’s tallest building.

For years, visitors could enter and climb the tower for about one rupee. Then in the 1970s, having already lost its privileged position on the skyline to the blunt modernist towers at Nariman Point, the tower was closed to the public. There had been suicides; the university authorities realized they couldn’t control who came in (nor, apparently, how they left). (more…)