Auroville presented to me some of the best opportunities to learn, work, and grow that I ever got in life. I feel enriched in my professional work as an architect as well as in my personal life as an artist and musician. I was able to participate in excursions and adventures in the magnificent natural habitats around Auroville as well as in interesting social interactions with people from around the world. I also got a chance to spend some important part of my time here in solitude to reflect and examine my life. Most importantly, Auroville helped me orient towards a spiritual life that does not renounce life and attempts to harmonize the static as well as dynamic aspects of the Divine.
For me, the time to make these strides in different dimensions of my life could not have been more perfect. Shortly after I had embarked upon the adventure of life after my B. Arch from the prestigious Malviya National Institute of Technology, Jaipur, in 2015, I was blessed with the opportunity to come to Auroville. That was in 2017 and it did not happen automatically. I had to make some effort on my part — perhaps my resolve or my sincerity or my usefulness for Auroville — or perhaps all three of these were put to a little test. I feel fortunate that I could come here and become a part of this family.
After coming to Auroville, I was enchanted and struck with the remarkable experiment that it is — a place unlike anywhere else in the world. I wanted to know more. Within a short period of time, I was introduced to different aspects of its functioning related for instance to its day-to-day governance, to the functioning of its diverse, international, and multilingual community, the discussions related to its aspiration, and the promise that it holds for the world, to its dream and to the challenges on the path. The help and support of some truly amazing human beings whom I collaborated with helped me immensely towards gaining a better understanding of these different aspects of Auroville. As perhaps did my aspiration to learn and contribute in whatever way possible through my work and through different services — professional and personal — that I got a chance to offer to Auroville.
RCA (Raman construction): I started working as a full-time Architect at Raman Construction. I worked on a variety of projects as follows:
1. Public buildings: stadium, sports complexes, educational institutions, elderly homes, and dormitories
2. Hospitality projects: resort, hotel, restaurant, wellness center
3. Residential projects: private villas, vernacular homes, residential apartments, modular homes, and low-cost houses.
4. Experiments with Materials like Mud, Bamboo, Brick, etc.
I also became involved in remodeling and renovation projects. Each project offered me a unique set of challenges and thereby an opportunity to find innovative solutions to harmonize the functionality and aesthetic elements of the projects.
Some of the most important lessons, I learned working with and under the guidance of Raman. I learned several simple yet profoundly effective techniques related to designing and implementing projects on the ground. The constant experimentation that Raman allowed me to undertake helped me explore new design languages, non-conventional building materials, and gave me a fresh approach to architecture. All this, in both a formal and an informal and congenial setting. Sometimes in the office, at the construction site, sometimes over a cup of coffee at the Visitor’s Center, and at other times while taking casual walks around the office. Besides professional training, I learned important life lessons and skills too.
SAIIER (Sri Aurobindo International Institute of Education and Research)
In 2019, I was appointed as a Construction Coordinator at SAIIER. There I got a chance to supervise educational projects and staff quarters. I worked closely with different Auroville architects, contractors, Auroville working groups, and project holders. This expanded my knowledge in the field of construction management, especially site management, project approval, budgeting, and finance. I also learned important lessons in soft skills such as teamwork, time management, and communication. I am continuing to work there and look forward to many new projects and avenues of personal and professional growth.
Auroville Bamboo Center (ABC)
My interest in sustainable architecture led me to explore one of the most sustainable building materials, Bamboo. Raman Construction collaborated with ABC and began extensive work in 2018. Since then, I have worked with a number of volunteers, interns, and students from different parts of the world, guiding them and learning from them with regards to sustainable architecture. I facilitated ABC’s workshops on bamboo construction, bamboo furniture design, bamboo product design, etc. Along with ABC, I am also working with Auroville Green Practices, a consulting firm dedicated to the promotion of sustainable practices like solar energy, water harvesting, permaculture, waste management, etc.
Kalabhumi Music Studio
Auroville played a key role in not only keeping the musician in me active and alive but also provided me a chance to thrive. I collaborated with some amazing musicians and bands and have given solo and group performances on various occasions in Auroville.
Positive and Conscious Design
When I look back, I feel deeply grateful for the marvelous adventure that I got a chance to embark upon. It is just a beginning, however, and I am looking forward to an ever-expanding horizon that offers the possibilities.
Currently, I am setting up a design practice that incorporates lessons learned so far. While developing a user-centric approach towards each project, my aspiration is to create simple, functional, and beautiful living spaces. One of my main focus areas is exploring how to develop positive and conscious designs — creating spaces that help generate positive feelings and raise the consciousness of the inhabitants.
Thank you for your valuable time.