Lighting and local culture
Mumbai 29th August 2013
Today’s subject is very much driven by today’s events and what I then saw later on the way to dinner tonight. Today’s summit proceedings (I attended the Architecture and Design Summit organised by the Economic Times as a guest speaker/ panellist) had everything to do with design and local culture and even though participants were either architects, developers, builders or business professionals, it was encouraging to hear how much and how often lighting was mentioned by the architects as being a key element in any architectural development. As the only lighting designer present I was happy and grateful to be able to contribute my little piece of mind on lighting. Subjects ranged from the role of architecture in creating our build environment to the workings of city and county authorities to get approvals to actually build something. Key to many of the discussions and presentations seemed to be an underlying frustration with the local bureaucracy and red tape in obtaining anything which was widely seen as one of the main reasons for the slow progress in the country’s development. Even the media were not spared the wrap for not supporting the design industry enough. As a lighting designer I certainly have experienced this frustration in my projects here that have started and stopped and were building approvals have slowed down the construction and even more impacted on the quality of workmanship…it was certainly interesting and educational event highlighting the sometimes limiting impact of local culture.
Light Watch 4-144: As it happens today is “breaking the Dahi Handi” day, a Hindu festival to commemorate the birthday of the Hindu deity Krishna. It commemorates the playful devious side of Krishna as a young kid when he would break the pot to steal butter. To celebrate that a sport developed where people form a human pyramid to reach a hung earthen pot and symbolically break it. The pot is generally filled with milk, butter, fruits and water. The reward for reaching and breaking the pot is a price money which can in the thousands of dollars. Groups get three attempts. Obvioulsy the higher the pot, the higher the price money. From what I heard the current record is a 9-tier human pyramid. I saw several attempts being made en route to my dinner destination in the middle of public roads obviously some traffic jam in the process….many of the pyramids do not succeed and crash down leaving several of the people with broken bones and bruised body parts. Here are some images from Google to give you an impression of the this colourful event.