B.V.Doshi – the man in eternal search of unknown


My batch mate : Sir, what’s the idea behind the architecture of IIMB ?
B. V. Doshi : What do you feel ? do you feel free or confined….
My batch mate : free
B.V. Doshi : Can you see the sunlight changing through the sky? Can you see the
shadows playing inside? Do you feel inside the classroom or outside ?

The auditorium erupted in claps….it was the QnA session with Mr.B.V.Doshi after
the screening of the movie ‘Doshi’ by Mr.Premjit Ramachandran at the auditorium
of IIM Bangalore. Mr. Premjit and Mr. Bijoy Ramachandran,both were present too.

Now,back to the man and the evening. Have you ever felt to really thank God that
you were given the opportunity to be somewhere where you would have wanted
to be? I felt that way.The word privilege is just not enough.I could actually relate
to her daughter when she said in movie that she just felt blessed.Blessings it was.
Here was a man sitting in front of us who is undoubtedly one of India’s finest
architect,one who has achieved almost everything in life the way he wanted, one
who shakes the inside of you while speaking of frugality and simplicity and the
heritage of India, yet listen to the words in which he describes himself –

“I am not an architect, that’s the problem…I am not an architect. For me it’s a
search,only a search. Search for that unknown that I have not known, neither I
know how it will manifest. That’s actually the essence of my work.It begins
somewhere, ends somewhere. And in that process, I grow and the work grows.
We grow together.”

There was no doubt that to be there inside the marvellous IIM Bangalore campus
and listen to the man who created it, was an inexplicable feeling. It was mixing of
so many emotions, like the way his designs let sunshine,shadows,breeze,rhythm
and freedom to form a subtle harmony.You needn’t be an architect to feel this.
Instead the feeling it could grow inside you or me or anyone is one of his greatest
achievements, in my point of view.The movie depicted various stages of his life,
his early struggle, his achievements in subsequent phases, his lifestyle, his family,
his home and many many people awed and inspired and felt blessed by him.But
what struck me most what his ideology. He talks about India being not centric,it
being the best in achieving beauty through frugality.You could not only see but
feel the simplicity.When he talks about God and its creation you feel pious inside.
Like when he says–when you make a home for someone,think it as the man’s
temple to offer prayer to God.How can you make his temple bad just because he
is not so rich? Or when he says- all human beings are inherently compassionate
and loveable animal, highly sophisticated. It opens up new horizons in your mind,
lets new light come in.Another instance was when in replying to one question he
said that the idea of using the word ‘home’ instead of ‘flat’ could actually bring the
change in present material mindset towards housings. He told the importance of
trees and steps in architecture to him as they tell him about the childhood days.
Such simple thinking is so rare to see nowadays. I think his answer to the enquiry
about his favourite architectural instance sums these all up best. His answer was –
“My home”.

It would never end discussing the man and his life and the evening. I can go on and
on and on… but all good things come to an end. So, here are three quotes to draw
the curtains…..

“I have learned from Doshi the way to be ….yourself….always”  – An admirer
(I apologize for my failing memory)

“I think architecture is a matter of transformation. Transformation of all adverse
situations into favourable conditions” – B.V.Doshi

“See Corbusier told me once, which I think is important that, even where there is
somebody standing behind you, who is better than you and you are answerable to
him” – B.V.Doshi

P.S. Here is the movie’s website where you can have a glimpse of the movie. You
might want to see this also which tells about the movie’s NYC screening.

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