KochiKadhakal2

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#KochiKadhakal is getting revamped.

Its Thesis time. And if you are an architecture student or have someone close who is one, then you will understand how much of a stressful period these six months are for them. From digging up a topic to proving its feasibility to trying to learn and then to implement all that one has learnt and is still trying to learn to finally getting a project done, all alone.

We have thesis in our tenth semester. The final semester. From the time the ninth sem started our teachers have been bugging us about finding a topic that one is interested to do as a thesis. Its been a blankness since then for most of us. After a very stressful two months in finding a standing with our topic, most of us have settled with a project (more or less), and that’s where I am going back to Kochi. To the city I fell in love with. To the city that helped me find peace amidst its chaos. For my thesis. For the culmination of my architecture student life.

Here is another edition of KochiKadhakal. More like a chronicle of my thesis. Because my thoughts need a place to talk. And people around me are immersed in their own.

I dont know how far I will be able to take this. But I hope I keep it till the end.

For the sake of my sanity.

Bismillahirahmaniraheem.

(To all those who do not know, KochiKadhakal was a series of sketches and photographs that I posted during the period of my internship in Kochi in 2016. It was just parts of the city that was special to me)

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Conspiracy

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It’s been 9 months since I have been interning. First in Kochi, now in Goa. 9 months of exploration. New places, new people, new experiences.

But you know what has been reoccurring all these 9 months? Art. In the weirdest of ways.

I used to be a pretty good one at art when I was little. I still have memories of my dad, teaching me how to draw an elephant and a lotus, telling me his stories about art. He would never have imagined his eldest daughter to pick art (read architecture), for a profession out of all the trades of which she was master of none.

Then college happened. 3 years where everything was undermined. The heart was told that you weren’t good enough. It fought in the beginning, but then gradually fell away into despairs of self doubt.

With the commencement of 4th year, I moved to Kochi. Away from everything. And guess what? Life kept throwing me into art. I met a girl who told me she was an artist. in the mornings, when I was about to go to office I would see her, with a bandana on her head, playing with colors. I stared at it from a distance. I listened to my heart beat. That weekend, I went home and brought back a sketchbook which was about an year old, but the pages pristine. I started with sticking the little things that I collected – train tickets, roses and abstractions. One day I went to Fort Kochi, walked it’s paths for the first time, experienced it’s charms, just took it all in. But it was too much for my little heart, that night I sketched away the beautiful memories, and slept in peace knowing that I had locked them away. Knowing that they would now, never fade away. That was the beginning of Kochi Kadhakal. The beginning of so many beautiful stories.

6 months later, Goa happened. And I still find myself experiencing art in ways that at times take my breath away.

For the first time, I find myself believing the words of Paulo Coelho,

And when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it. 

 

I do not know what I want, but now I very well know that the universe is conspiring for something beautiful.

 

Time

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It’s been 2 years.

2 years ago, I remember walking down this way, taking in the beauty of the Mandovi, the simplicity of the lighthouse and the greens, complimenting the cultural hub of Goa, Kala Academy, one of the masterpieces of the architect Charles Correa.

We were then, 2 years into being students of the vastness called Architecture, laughing our hearts away, clicking endlessly fake candids exploiting the beauty around us.

Who knew, 2 years later, I would stand at this very spot, in the very clothes, looking away into the Mandovi, miles away from those people, reminiscing about these moments?

This time, is a funny thing.
It takes you to places, puts you in situations, make you experience things that you never even dreamt of.

Maybe another two years down the lane, I may have something more interesting and intriguing to share. Well, who knows?

May I have the good fortune to do so. In Sha Allah.

KochiKadhakal

The city, known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea, a crossroad for people with a little or a lot in the district of Ernakulam in Kerala, is a host to many wonders. With tourists swarming its streets to natives rushing to work, it’s an experience to behold.

This post is just a compilation of scribbles and lines that are so close to my heart. A manifestation of my memories. Held so dear.

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FORT KOCHI
The true essence of the place called Cochin lies totally in the streets of Fort Kochi and Mattanchery. Each and every element around has a story to tell. Be it the buildings, the trees, the people or the stones. And the most prominent of it is the history of a bloody Fort Kochi.

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FORT KOCHI BEACH
Beaches all in all are peaceful.  At times, I wonder why are these places so calm and serene even when its crowded. Fort Kochi beach is a lot of plant residues, people, yet so peacefull, with the waters rocking on the banks.

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FERRIES
A trip to Fort Kochi or Mattanchery is never complete without the ferries. Ferries are a totally different experience. With standing in long queues, paying 4 rupees for a ticket, waiting for the guards to open the chains, so that one could sprint across to get on the ferry to catch a window seat. The smell, the wind breezing around, the rumbling sounds, the rippling waters and the big ships, this is when we simply stare out and just breathe.

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MAHARAJAS
Though the Arts college is the one known famously as Maharajas, The Govt. Law College also shares the glory of the name. Sneaking in, to this place which was always a dream, I fell in love. I needed a breath to take it all in. The age old architecture, the ever present trees, the noisy courtyards and corridors, the wooden staircases, the broken walls and the classrooms that carry the hearts of students on its walls, these colleges are a feeling. A first hand experience of the power of architecture through the ambience .

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MATTANCHERY
The streets of Mattancherry are not that frequently visited by the numerous tourists that visit Kochi. Mattanchery has its own share of sights, the Jewish Synagogue, the Jew street, the Dutch Palace, the Gujrati Street being a few. With its warehouse turned endeavors, empty roads, walls decorated with art, the charm lurks around each and every corner , even in the broken window frames.

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CAFES & EATERIES
Kochi is incomplete without its share of eateries and cafes. A perfect host to foodies, the restaurants and cafes were a beautiful in itself with their hanging lights, deep art works, hidden charms and the clattering of spoons. Each and every cafe has a story to tell, a scene to portray, a character to meet, a memory to be made. Where laughs could be heard over a coffee or cake so expensive, or so cheap.

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MATTANCHERY MUD CHURCH
A recent addition to the essence of Mattanchery, is architect Vinu Daniel’s masterpiece of a church. In its primitivity lies its beauty. The single halled church welcomes with a whole heartedness, the verandahs waiting for the sound of your footsteps, the stained glasses glittering around. The feeling of sacredness, inspite of all this still intact.

KADAVANTRA
The first time I came to Kadavantra, it intimidated me. A junction with four buildings in each corner, representative of different styles and periods was our icon for this part of the city. It was the best host I could have, with its friendly residents, who never failed to ask about my day when I passed by their homes after work, the lanes lit and clear for me to walk at 8, with its perfect position, nearly equidistant from the ‘modern’ and the ‘charming’ sectors of the city. This place gave me the people and the experiences that makes Kochi special.

Kochi taught me to live in the moment again. To be myself again. To love me again.

Kochi moves me into tears with the sheer memory of the beautiful moments spent in its depths.

I will be forever indebted.

 

Just food things.

the Phase of departure in parts

Part 2

Sitting at our table in Zaatar at Panampilly, we sat simply looking at each other, the weight of this being the last dinner heavy on us. Even when Ayushi left, it was Zaatar. We had nothing to talk suddenly. We checked out the others, the foreigners, the chefs for whom we were an entertainment session through their see through glass partition and vise versa. Then the food was served and we had our whole fill, back with our bickering.

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When we walked back after dinner talking this and that, we wanted to grab our ever favorite Choco Lava Cake from our go-to cafe, Carrots. That wish was not fulfilled since they didn’t open up after the harthal, for the day.

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This Choco Lava Cake is just full of chocolate sauce with a little sponge up and the sides, with a coffee swirl on top.   I remember the first day we tried this, when me and my friend was broke and this was the only option. Since then, it has been an absolute favorite.

Food has this special power on people. It strengthens the bond somehow. When we go out for food, order together, share it, fight over it, conversations always on the go, it weaves our hearts through and through.

When I chose Kochi for my first term of internship, I remember some preparations that I had done to familiarize the city and find the pockets of happiness (food outlets) if times of distress were to shower on me.

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I joined the Foodies club on facebook. Researched and zeroed in on Panampilly nagar, delighted to know that it was close to my place. That place has too many good outlets. Be it any cuisine. It has anything and everything. Shiffu’s momos was our snacking corner, Pandhal; our cheese cake place, The Burger Junction; our office treat area because it was too much for our pockets, Arya’s; our dosa guys, Gokul; Aayushi’s one and only home, Zaatar; our grill hut and many many more. There were always too many to try out and we were not always ready for new things. There was Lil America, Thakkaram(for me), Primate, Donut factory, Ming’s wok (because we had another Chinese favorite) etc.

Then, there was Punjabi Dhaba. Menaka or boat jetty was equal to PD. Behind Penta Menaka, through a narrow lane, near the Broadway Hotel, is out dear old   Dhaba. Quite a shady place, but then you familiarize with it.

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If Apurva and Aayushi missed home, it was PD. If we wanted something comparatively cheap, it was PD. And if it was Punjabi Dhaba, then it was always Aloo Paratha and Sweet Lassi. Always.

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The Lassi though, a bit costly for 35rs a glass, was too refreshing. It was sure to help us beat the heat. The Aloo Paratha, with or without butter, melts into your mouth, the cut onions and chili as faithful sides.

Our faithful home, Kadavantra had its own share of places too. The Masafi; the biriyani people, Ambiswamy’s; our last resort, the numerous bhaji bhaiyyas and last but not the least, our Chinese favorite, The New Dragon.

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Gunamo mecham, vilayo thucham (Great Quality, Low Rate) place. It’s executive lunch (or dinner), with a variety of options for a soup, starters (Chilli Potatoes are mind blowing), Chinese paratha, Noodles/Fried Rice, a gravy and a lime juice. Quite a lot ain’t it? Yeah, we used to have one lunch for two people, two for three and three for four.  When we were that hungry, and wanted lots of food, this was our place.

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Now coming to our Pasta place, Carrots again. Red or white. Lots of chicken. Lots of pepper. Ah! Delicious.

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Subways are for Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Those are the chicken sub days. Roasted chicken, chicken tikka, chicken sheekh (chicken kofta when they felt like it in Centre Square Mall Subway). Subways are yum and fulfilling. With all its veggies and sauces (lots of sweet onion and mayo that is) and the perfect chicken. Haaaaah. Subways can never fail to put a smile on my face. It’s my comfort food. My happy food.

Last but not the least, when the going gets tough in hostel and we were too lazy or late to go out, we have MasterChef to our rescue. They always delivered so we never knew where the place was until one day, when we were coming back after our stroll in Panampilly, I saw a little cart with a board. The MasterChef. I stood there with my mouth open. All this while, we were having noodles from a food cart? Anyway, they were always good. Yum and cheap.

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There were also days when some choices failed us. Top in the list of failures is Chicking. Noushee had this craving for Chicking since their offers came out and we chose to go on a Thursday. Four people, according to us could easily share 6 pieces of grilled chicken, 6 pieces of chicken lollipop, 2 delite burgers and fries. What do we say? Man proposes and God disposes. And that day, we went hungry even after paying for a whooping 600rs dinner (with the dump tax).

The little experiences shared our food, the laughs, the memories, the tastes. So much to cherish.

So much love in a bite.

2013

As I start writing this post, my mind goes back to all that happened to me this year.

This year has been the most happening in my life.

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Out of the cocoon to the inverted world.
Copyrighted.

I stepped out of my cocoon to the real world out there. And the first dose hit me hard. It tried very hard to pull me down, I refused. I fought hard, refusing to drown down. optimism was the key. I was still caught in the currents. I swam. I swam hard, with the help of a dolphin by my side and I emerged victorious when I felt sand under my foot. I was happy again, glad that I got what I want. I believed that, I was the little kid who got everything that she wanted from Allah, I just had to pray. I was happy. Then hell started, the dolphin drifted away. I struggled with myself. It had been a feeling of being trapped. I had fallen into a pit and I was subconsciously aware, but chose to ignore it. When the dolphin went away, I was trapped alone. I was entangled in the creepers down the pit which pulled me down.

During those days, of collecting myself, teaching myself to be emotionally independent, I lost a part of me.

The good part.

The part where I thought I was the little girl who got everything that I wanted if I prayed from Allah. For one’s prayer to be heard, you had to trust. And that was exactly what I had lost. Trust. Hence, my prayers lacked the trust. Still Allah provided me but I was blind. I thought it was all over when I climbed out of the pit, but no. The bitterness and sourness creeped into my soul which I had tried so badly to beautify and had succeeded. Negativity possessed me. The place and people had become suffocating. I started hated everything for no apparent reason. I wanted to run away from the suffocating place.

I wanted to run away, because I knew I was the one who thought wrong.

I wanted to run away, to come back. To come back as the old me, and show the world that nothing would break me.

And I ran away the first opportunity that I got. To my home. Where I would talk to clouds. And the clouds, after having heard the part would move away leaving behind a clear sky so that I could talk to my Allah with fewer hurdles. Thats why I love clouds you see. They know everything. They see everything. They hear everything and they know how to make you feel good. How to make you smile amidst the tears running down your face. I was reconnecting back with my old self, the old surroundings supporting me in the process. And here I am, smiling, because I know I had won again.

I would find the lost part.

The battle was against myself.

And I will be victorious.

In sha Allah.

Ya Allah, All I want,

Is Me

the part,

in which the sun always shined,

clouds, blocked the light

But I always smiled

And beautiful was my sight.

With this prayer in my little heart, I smile.

Because I know Allah is going to listen to me because I have learnt to trust. Only him, again.

🙂

And I have beautifully begun,

walking down the path which would lead me to peace and success.