Of Watermelons, the colour Purple & Architecture

Of Watermelons, the colour Purple & Architecture

Worldviews & Built realities: Observations on the absence of access for physically challenged humans at a popular market in the city.


One of the discussions at a Design University was on ‘Performance Space Design’; this was planned as an extension of a previous dialogue/ lecture on ‘Public space Design’. When asked about their thoughts on theatre/drama, the students feigned ignorance. None had visited the theater for it’s spatial & experiential value if not the sake of a performance itself. Disheartened but not discouraged, one proposed: ‘Isn’t the city, a theater, a backdrop for our very lives’? Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities came to mind. Trailing thoughts of what William said about stages, actors, life and such.

A pathway, isn’t just a collection of bricks & mortar, it is a gesture, an expression of the city towards it’s users and unto itself. Connotations should be considered along with Denotations. Optimal awareness of our environment is challenging and so is sensitivity. Sensitivity, often associated with connoisseurship is losing it’s interest in the mundane.

Sensitivity perhaps is not a choice, but a condition. Something nurtured through perception, observation & application. Being aware of not just the compositions of the flower beds in our front yards but also of the garbage heap which unceremoniously is piled up next to the neighbourhood cul-de-sac (a feature, through it’s regenerating presence has progressed into becoming a successful urban marker for directions, say if the generous rain of wireless information momentarily ceases).

Aldous Huxley once said, ‘Familiarity breeds indifference’. Too much of anything ceases to hold the value or the charm it once did. A professional hazard of being on Earth. This applies to spaces, habits, people, colour, watermelons and whatever one may derive pleasure thereof.

History tells us that colour was once a luxury. To behold colour alone was a ‘transporting’ act. Perhaps the effort insured such. The colour known as ‘Tyrina Purple’ was a secretion produced by several species of predatory sea snails in the family Muricidae, rock snails originally known by the name Murex. In ancient times, extracting this dye involved tens of thousands of snails and substantial labour. Thus, the colour was highly prized and reserved for the elite classes. Coming back to contemporary times, it is the ease with which shades of purple can be printed unto the surface of one’s choice, tending us to take it for granted. Subsequently, the loss of stimuli and thereon, sensitivity.

It has been said, that of all the uncertainties in the world, death & taxes will always persist. Albeit tomorrow, say, under the guidance of exceptional statesmen and concerned economists, taxes may get abolished; however, death will still stand as a sobering reminder of our mortality. The fact, that the younger generation will inherit this space. Should we not do a better job of our cities?