Gardening, impact, scale and community.

When you hear the words “That looks great! lets make a dozen of them!” you instantly build a community of people to come together to make it happen.

I was in conversation with a fellow patio gardener like myself about gardening scale and its impact to the community. We both had a small container garden in our patios, with mostly kitchen veggies and small herbs. It is a small and  manageable garden at a scale that we could manage. The yield is nominal, it is a hobby garden and it brings immense joy and satisfaction to my life. But it was not enough to feed even half a meal per week for even one of our families! Now, if I were to build and grow this garden to feed a community, the task is impossible to do within my home, family or friends. This type of work needs a community. That kind of impact needs dedication and effort.

I’m in awe of local restaurants like StemSF which does exactly the kind of thing that perhaps comes a little close to what can be achieved to the notion of Farm to Table setting.

A historic nursery near our home called the Niles rose garden has a community garden called Fremont LEAF center. One can rent half a planter for $109 per year. This model works at the scale of the local community, to bring them together to participate in a local nursery while gaining yield on their kitchen garden and produce. This might help patio gardeners like me, with the price and the amenities included, it might actually work.

If I were to scale it up, similar to the large swaths of backyard spaces that all the suburban homes have in America, the fact that there is abundant land for community impact is non negotiable. The irony of all of this is that it is private land, where the value of private ownership is so precious that if a single fruit tree gives abundant yield in a given year, not many neighbors even have block parties or go to the nearest farmers market to sell them/give them away to the needy.

Last week, I woke up to the world that was empty and meaningless, and it was the perfect place for me to be in!

Rad at the Landmark Forum

Dirt

Living in the most expensive(and over-rated) regions like the San Francisco Bay Area region of California only means one thing, competitive urban environments! Every person I know is struggling to balance and shift things around in a way that perhaps helps them commute lesser, save time in order to save money. Or they want to move closer to their child’s daycare, school or to either one of their workplace, to maximize their productive work-life every day.

This commute and the struggle everyday means nothing if one were to be in a flux all the time. I sit in front of this computer this cold and wet morning, seeking an outlet for the urban chaos that we are part of in the Bay Area today.

Since the beginning of this year, each day is plunged with competition in the housing market. Most homes in the Bay Area are dated, they need extensive remodeling, or the costs to obtain and beat the purchasing cash giants to maintain and insure some same process is positively exhausting.

To beat it all, seeking a nice modern home environment seems like a distant dream and unattainable for middle class working couples.

The billions of humans that live on this earth only aspire one thing, dirt. A small portion of dirt, on this finite earth with all its finite resources.

“What is the role of an architect today?”

Mr.Doshi added. “Are we going to be service provider working for a client, or are we going to be useful to the masses.

I have saved so many quotes from my early architecture days regarding things that people said about this practice. I want to share some snippets here.

“First life, then spaces, then buildings. The other way around never works.” Jan Gehl

This quote by Jan Gehl is the one thing that makes me stay in the field of urban life.

Some people hate cities, but it’s what I know, it’s where I grew up! Urban life is the life that I know of. Not that there is anything wrong with it, but it’s the first that resonates with me. But now, I’m a planner.

And reading up about the highly regulated local governments and working in one in the San Francisco Bay Area, I’m torn. I’m seeking validation to the very nature of architecture and what it brings to life within urban spaces.

Pardon my caffeine addiction

To the whole nine months of when I was a child-bearer, I maintained my body free of any harmful toxins, and I was glowing. Roll forward to a sickly toddler and a full time working professional and mother, my toxin levels are so high, almost all of it might be from stress and the grind of everyday working and living!

My retirement fund says I have 17.01 years of work-life left! But I don’t want that so far away, I want to enjoy now, and enjoy well.

I just got back into work horse mode recently and I’m going positively mad! I’m flippantly looking to jump jobs, roles and keep my life new. I crave creative outlet, something that might not happen in this current job.

To top off this rant, the perfect dull stormy weather compliments my current mood. It’s grey, and I’m usually black and white, I’m told! I need to find a new project, soon!

One is all the time looking at financial returns — that is not only what life is,” he said. “I think wellness is missing.

Day 4/7 of nostalgia week. Sitting amongst stacks of files in my office, I crave for chaat, and I remember April 2008. I went on this solo trip to Ahmedabad, and gorged on all that mouthwatering Chaat while walking to Le Corbusier’s Millowners Association building. I was spending precious solo time in rickshaws that took me from Correa’s Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya to the ancient Step Wells.The Step Wells are a thing of beauty and peace, it’s a must visit for Ahmedabad. The hot and bustling NID campus had some peacocks strolling around, maybe to add an element of royalty?! The Gufha was definitely overrated, It should have a function to it rather than just an artsy cave.
I did go back to Ahmedabad solo again in the later half of 2011, @nishu_sheth_ was throwing such a big wedding then! 😁 Me, I was almost hooked on to the phone and synching up with HP. Good times. The city was cooler, better microclimates, thanks to the gorgeous rehabilitation of the Sabarmati river, the locals seemed to enjoy the evenings strolls too. .
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#RMstories #ahmedabad #nostalgia #architecture #stepwells #stepwellsofindia #summersinindia #architectureofIndia #designgeek #architecturegeek (at Ahmedabad, India)

Day 2/7 of nostalgia week. This one is from June 2012, when the domestically challenged, newly-wed wife like me enjoyed a quiet afternoon building some models and developing stop motion videos of my jewellery boxes.
Combined joy of modular boxes and architectural imagination from @thecontainerstore that has been with our organized life for the past six years. .
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#RMstories #nostagiaweek #sanjosedays #containerstore #modulorboxes #architecturalmodels #colorandlife #acrylicboxes (at San Jose, California)

Day 5/7 of nostalgia week. This was my life for half a decade since 2000! Five solid years of hand drawn beauties on that drafting table, rest assured, I did save my back! And five more years of literally non-stop work. On man, highly productive decade. This picture might have been 2004-early 2005. Thankfully, there is only one picture of that desk with a slight hint of my model-making table to the left. And that’s that, the rest is a memory! The messy rooms, the fun, the long nights, the craziness and everything that was part of becoming an architect! Cheers! .
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#RMstories #architecturegeek #architect #modelmaker #draftingtable #handdrawing #handdrafting #architectureschool #adecadeofarchitecture (at J. P. Nagar)

Day 6/7 of nostalgia week! It was a Saturday evening in 2010, just before I was ready to take on the world by myself, when I rightfully started to fear my decision to go our on a solo venture. I feared that home and life as I knew it would change unrecognizably when I returned. And I desperately needed something to remind me of my preciousness, so I pulled out a camera to take lots of pictures.
Look at it! This picture is dated at the top right and developed, only to be scanned later and preserved in my phone archive now! Featured is our good old ‘kine,’ the coolest moped in town that we’ve ever owned, carefully tucked away into our building setback with tact and precision so as to allow our dogs to slip by the edges.
I’m oozing with warm memories looking at this picture…….and that’s what this whole week is about! A beautiful reminder of the good old days, on the two wheeler, buzzing around every nook and corner of the city, and amongst greenery at home and all over the city of Bangalore! Happy Friday folks!
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#RMstories #bangaloredays #adulthood #twentiesinindia #Indianlife #kinetichonda #twowheelers #mopeds #gardencity #greencity (at J. P. Nagar)

Day 3/7 of nostalgia week. Back to our first living room setup for #HPRMhome, way back to July 2012. I still love this, and I have (some) pieces with us today. Also, thank you @purplehazerads who gave me good advice about American home design. Thanks for telling me that @ikeausa is perhaps the best place to start your first home, given that there’s no access to good quality craftsmanship that I was used to in India.
Kindly note: the painting sat on top of the futon, till the time we used push pins to hang them up. 😐
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#RMstories #radindiscity #designandcolor #rentals #apartmentlife #apartmentdesign #colortexture #colorandlife #ikeastarterhome #renterlifestyle (at San Jose, California)

Day 1/7 of Nostalgia week begins today. With no particular order, I’m hashing out many pictures from the past, only to remind me that life is filled with these fond memories, and I’m taking this week to cherish them all!
Featured is one frame from 2006. This view was part of my everyday life in my early career as an architect. It is important to celebrate the everyday, especially at work. This one is a good reminder of that!
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#RMstories #contemporaryarchitecture #bangaloredays #nostagiaweek #radindiscity #colortexture (at 14, Langford Road Banglore)

‘tis the season! 🍰 Of course I’m sharing. 😉
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#HPRMhome #worktheoven #warmhome #vanillacake #cakesofinstagram #homebaked #holidayseason2017 #homesweethome #coffeeandcaketime #caketime #plentyforall #hapoyholidays #beagoodneighbor #yummyvanillacake #spongecake (at Fremont, California)

Welcoming this weekend with a garden update. This time it’s repotting and saving succulents in it’s gold colored planter for a friend. I made good notes in the Quarry Lakes master talk about ‘Gardening with Succulents’ early August this year. Before that, succulents didn’t appeal to me at all! To see these two budding and blooming after some months makes me happy. 😄
Also, my maiden bonsai is showing signs of life. Yay! New additions to the garden are some spicy Indian chillies, Spinach and carrots saplings for the next few months to come! Not sure what to do with those Mexican limes, but I might wait for a season turn to see what happens. And we had some of our green peppers for lunch this afternoon! So fresh! Yum!
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#HPRMgarden #HPRM #HPRMhome #gardeningbayarea #bayareagardens #patiogarden #containergarden #kitchengarden #vegetabkegarden #succulents #goldenplanter #beginnerbonsai #jasminebonsai #ficusbonsai #gardeningwithsucculents #masterclassgardening #homesweethome #happygardens (at Quarry Lakes Regional Recreation Area)

It’s not a break, it’s a vacation…..for a mom to have few peaceful minutes to herself for chai and store bought samosas. It’s is the season for crazy flu and fevers…..so I got myself a flu shot to nurse my baby and hubby back to normal! Oh man! Let’s hope your having a better Friday than me! I’m hoping that the weekend turns into a milestone that’s healthier and a better next week.
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#RMstories #HPRMhome #HPRM #chai&samosas #indiansnack #breaktime #metime #adraktea #masalachai #potatosamosas #souvenierCollesium #italyfinds #breakfasttablescenes #homesweethome #thisweekisdone #onedayatatime #momentsToReflect

Day 6/7 of Italy finds!
After avoiding local vendors we walked to the other end of San Lorenzo market to feed ourselves in the well stocked Za Za restaurant. Just outside of this place we for a small store called “La Botega di Fiorenza.” Go right in and surround yourself in a sea of delights. It is home to these exquisitely crafted ceramic boxes, now part of my growing box collection. The detail photo simply does not do justice to the real deal of running your hand across the lid! We went back there twice, brilliant find! Totally recommended.
Happy Saturday people!
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#RMstories #HPRM #HPRMvacation #ceramicboxes #boxcollector #boxcollection #roundboxes #blueceramic #blueboxes #patternlover #patternlids #whiteandblueboxes #italyfinds #italianhandmade #wheninitaly #florence #florenceartisanceramics #LaBotegaDiFiorenza (at Trattoria Zà Zà Firenze)

Day 2/7 of Italy finds.
Those roadside chapparpatti store souveniers that bring absolute joy. Art on things is always a good thing!
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#HPRMvacation #HPRM #italy #italianfinds #souveniers #makeupmirrors #pocketmirrors #roma #artandsouveniers #streetshops #travelshops (at Trevi)

1/7 week of Italian finds.
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This is a ceramic RAKU clock. Scroll right for the address and location.
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The description says “Ceramic Raku is an interesting and unique exhibit to the ancient RAKU technique. Each item is taken out of the oven while red-hot and quickly places in a metallic pot filled with combustible material (saw dust, hay, dry leaves…( Once the pot has been covered, flames deprive items of oxygen allowing oxides to turn into metals. This is what makes our products shimmer with marvelous metallic effects.”
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Well, CARPE DIEM! my dear friends!
This clock is at our entrance door, just as we get out for our day!
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#RMstories #HPRMhome #HPRM #HPRMvacation #Italianhandmade #italianfinds #rakuclocks #instablogger #productreview #ceramicsfromItaly #handmade #exclusivedesign #designiseverything #radindiscity #ceramicraku #ancienttraditions #italianculture #travelfinds #bringbackhome #clocks #raku.it