It is a very Human tendency to ‘essentialize’ things. This principle of ‘essentializing’ and ‘differentiating’ has been unfortunately applied to the question of gender, resulting in stereotyping of Men and Women, defining one as the ‘weaker’ sex, assigning of gender restricted roles, resulting in the dominance of and subjugation of the other which has been a cause of endless conflict and suffering through out human history.

In post-modern times, popular pseudo-scientific literature has only managed to reinforce such stereotypes. We have been told that Men are single-taskers, have better map-reading abilities, rational, have tunnel vision, are colour-insensitive, don’t listen, and…

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The popular notion of maintaining a ‘work-life balance’ has been challenged often in the recent years. The origin of the idea itself — that it was mooted in the 80’s America, to convince career women that they could balance their families as well as their jobs, has been half-forgotten. Instead, the concept has pervaded across the globe, carried along with with HR jargon and corporate culture and has expanded to include both sexes. The idea has been found inadequate— not because there is no need for a ‘balance’ anymore but probably because the two categories of what we are supposed…

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The pandemic has brought home the urgent truth of mortality to all humanity. When we hear that the fatality rate of the Covid-19 virus has dropped a few decimals from 10.21 to 10.18, we feel rather reassured. We think we are marginally safer. The probability of our death has been postponed by an infinitesimally small margin.

While one might escape the virus, there are thousands of other causes of death out there waiting for us which we do not wish to even consider. Why brood over morbid thoughts such as death when there is so much to live for? There…

Photo by Anne James on Unsplash

Scenario 1

A leading Indian jewelry brand, well known for championing ‘social’ issues of women comes up with an ad campaign which depicts an inter-faith marriage between two communities. While it generates interest among many viewers, it also causes outrage among others, completely polarizing the social media. Soon, a hate campaign is spread, the ad is viciously trolled, and the company is forced to withdraw the ‘offending’ advertisement with a tame public apology. The business house loses crores of money in one stroke.

Scenario 2

An elderly couple are eking out a living selling street food from a road-side kiosk. Their fragile business suffers…

Magritte- “Le Temps Jadis” Source:

Recently I was asked to guide a group of younger teachers who had just completed their one year Post Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP) offered in-house by our design school, and had taken on the role of mentorship to guide the next cohort. In other words, as a senior professor, I had been selected to ‘mentor the mentors’. Many of them were experienced teachers who had mentored students in their final year projects but had never mentored colleagues before in pedagogy and in research.

Apparently, I had received glowing reviews from my mentees and was identified, along with another…

Rene Magritte- “Smoke and Mirrors”:

The American hatred for narcissists seems to be reaching a crescendo. As of now, it is fast climbing to the top of the US box-office chart of unpopularity, and is likely to supersede paedophiles and racists. More and more Americans seem to be discovering all of a sudden that either their partner is (or was) a narcissist, or it is their parent or their friend — and they are recoiling in horror like they just found a caterpillar in their salad. Before narcissism it was sexual offenders, and before that it was psychopaths and serial killers. …


As an educator practicing and teaching architecture and design, I have seen so much change in design education in the last 30 odd years that it would be hard to sum it all up in one article, or even in five. Speculating about the future is even harder and fraught with risks. However, I am of the belief that the future is an extension of the present, and that a clear understanding of the present circumstances might lead us to creating a more agreeable future.

As I see it, the domain of design education has never been more riddled…

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Not long ago, in a country not so far away, people learnt to ride bicycles in two ways. The first was to simply get on a bike, try to ride by oneself, fall, and keep trying till one succeeded. This method did not involve a teacher but only a highly motivated learner. The number of falls needed to manage even a short ride discouraged many enthusiasts. The ones who succeeded in learning by this method were the bravest, determined, and were completely self-taught. The other method that was widely prevalent was somebody older, stronger, and experienced would run alongside the…

Rene’ Magritte- “Not to be Reproduced“. GIF Source:

The Modern age has been dominated by the idea of the Individual, and that of ‘Freedom of the Individual’ to pursue happiness, growth, and fulfillment. The entire edifice of Global Capitalism rests on this tantalizing premise. The word Individual has connotations of a single indivisible unit of a group, or society, that cannot be divided further. Are we indivisible, autonomous, and free beings with unique characteristics?

This is what we have been made to believe since our childhood when our parents pointed their fingers towards us and made a repeated sound, which we eventually learnt as our name. We gradually…

Rene’ Magritte “The False Mirror”. GIF Source:

B often wondered why people maligned Desire as a problematic emotion or labelled it a dark and malevolent force — while others extolled its virtues as the very ‘giver of life’ and as something that drives all life processes and human actions. Was not Desire the primary force that led to one’s birth, all one’s aspirations, setting up of professional and personal goals, all the striving, the struggle, and eventually ‘success’?

B had always heard that people had desires, that people were possessed by desires, people were full of desires, and so on. It was like saying that someone was…

Dr. Badrinarayanan Srinivasan

Architect, Academic, Educator, Mentor

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