Monday, 24 September 2012

My Home My Heart (painted poem)

With money you can buy houses,
but money cannot by for you a home.

Image and Poem by Remigius de Souza

House is where the Home is;
Home is where the Heart is.

Squatters in Mumbai: Displaced and Marginalized

(Image: Shelter for the bus passengers / Shelter for the Displaced in Mumbai: Contradiction in Mumbai's Urban Design.
Bus shelter is built in stainless steel: a sexy designer product!
Both together symbolize India's Development Planning, and exposes its hypocrisy.)

Whenever I walk down-to-earth in Mumbai I notice 65 million people live in the slums and squatters, struggle for their daily bread.
It is their Daily Prayer in Action to Life. They aren't activist like the elite; they are vacationist without duplicity, and without words.

It seems their number is daily rising defying the official statistics:
Just like the rising national GDP of India;
just like rising Stock Exchange indexes in the money market;
just like rising numbers of skyscrapers rising higher and higher on Mumbai's skyline;
just like rising number of vacant blocks of houses awaiting higher returns of their investments.
It seems all these have lost their heart and home, both, in the money market, though the squatters on the street-side!

The reason to notice them is simple: Once I practiced as architect-planner; once I was a teacher; once I was landless teen age farm labourer; once I too was a displaced and marginalized person. Only I had opportunity for formal education in time.
All these people have come from many regions of India. They come from the places wherever Mumbai has left its footprint. The rulers of India must not ignore this fact. The capitalist – Indian and foreigners – who have settled in Mumbai are capable enough to buy over all of them, but where they can get educated slaves why should they care?

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NOTE: Recent news "2.25 million homes empty, people still homeless in state" Mumbai, Hindustan Times, September 23, 2012 Page 1. 
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© Remigius de Souza. All rights reserved.

Monday, 17 September 2012



Srishti Sukta by Remigius de Souza

The home of Mother Nature has no gods-idols-hero worshipers
In biotic - abiotic nature comprehend Supreme Spirit personified;
She is ever visible, audible, edible, tactile, sexual...
Progenitor, boon to mortals, Dance of Life and Death, too;
Mother Nature embodies one Language–Dharma–Scripture–Law;
She is Primal Guru–Primal School–Open Book, freely available to all.

Remigius de Souza | Mumbai | 25-12-2009

Mother Nature at our hand

Mother Nature does neither recognize humans as her favourite species nor their social boundaries and hierarchies.

Plants don't recognize boundaries
Civilized Societies are so obsessed with boundaries that they decorate. add on ornaments, make memorials out of them and applause them, such as Great Wall of China, which is no more than a symbol of feudalism!

Similarly plants and other animals too don't recognize human societies' boundaries and social hierarchies. The domesticated animals - chickens, cats, cattle, goats etc. - too don't recognize them, except when they return 'home' in the evening.

Bacteria, in hordes, enter our guts when we start taking external foods, other than mother's milk, in our early childhood; they make colonies there.

Hopefully, we behold 'Nature' beyond 'greenery' of gardens, farms, woodlands, remaining forests, and wetlands; beyond Wordsworth's poems, Turner's paintings, beyond photographs / movies / videos for visual pleasure; howsoever advanced they may be, they are not alternatives to Nature,

They may help us to recall our beautiful/terrible experiences of Nature.

Life Sciences and archaeology, with their advances, also help us to know more about Nature and our place in Nature.

Perhaps we realize power and dreary aspects of Nature in cyclones, cloud bursts, earth quakes, lightening, tsunami and Climate Change (which is not fiction).

First observation of Nature

Any first hand contact with Nature at elementary and personal level is a good beginning, may it be watching self in body-and-mind; no rituals, no auspicious timings, no mantras, no special settings and sitting postures are required. Just observe with attention and compassion, as both body and mind are our tools and we are their custodians. There is no mystery; we are part of Nature just as the ‘greenery’ outside.
We can carry on this observation any time, or through out a day.

Second observation of Nature


Roadside Sapling in Mumbai
 In the tropical climate of India plants grow fast.

We, Indic people, believe in Five Elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Space. The best option is to observe plants and be in contact with then.

Better still for us is to actually sow a few seeds from kitchen in a small tin / plastic / earthen pot/s (at different seasons) and help them grow. No need to refer any manuals.

Every seed may not germinate. Watch them, see them sprout, take care, feed them sunlight and water. By and by, we come in contact with Elements, together with saplings, thereby with Mother Nature.


 Agricultural Revolution at Nature’s Lab


Ten thousand years ago half naked humans domesticated wild plants and animals, and Agricultural Revolution began in a most trying natural conditions.

It did spread all over the world (without Intellectual Property Rights attached).

Civilized Society did not exist then. Rise of Civilization which is also called Urban Revolution followed Agricultural Revolution five thousand years later.

Industrial Civilization was born just a few hundred year ago, where we belong. We received our learning on the Assembly Lines in Mass Schooling System.

Isn't it a high time to get acquainted with Mother Nature – Srishti?


Note: While writing this post I came across this blog-pot “Humans and Nature: Can the Gulf Be Bridged?”. The very title shows how the west / westernized / the urbanite etc. is divorced from nature. (Please see my comments on the post.)
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© Remigius de Souza. All rights reserved.

Monday, 10 September 2012

CIVILIZATION: A Smallest Poem on India

CIVILIZATION: A Smallest Poem on India, which may be true for the whole world...

Civilization, painted poem by Remigius de Souza, Mumbai



Water droplets
White light
Miracle of spectrum
Turbans and caps
Of different hues
Misplaced identities in
The fragmented civilization
Otherwise one.
(Remigius de Souza, On Gandhi Birth Anniversary Day - 02-10-2000)

We are aware all boundaries are vulnerable to change through history of civilized societies, and even in the History of the Earth.

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© Remigius de Souza. All rights reserved.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Desert Soil

Cactus in the Desert

Desert Soil (Painted Poem)

Land Water — Life

At home in Konkan, a biodiversity hotspot, I had seen flowering of cacti takes place during winter.

Deserts as well as the Polar regions of extreme whether have been homeland of many peoples — Pigmy, Eskimos. They have been living in harmony with nature. Their shelters — circular mud houses or tents and igloos — have been expression of their way of life and sustenance.

I first saw a desert in Rajasthan during second year of my college studies. And I also saw Udaipur, the city of lakes built by maharajas. However the villages and villagers are most colourful and charming in Rajasthan.

'Dharmashala' is a Desi (indigenous) rest house free for travellers and pilgrims in India. It is said that Marwadis started building dharmashalas in villages, towns and at pilgrimages.

Later I saw parts of Gujarat where the visionary the late Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad built water tanks in several villages to solve their water scarcity problems.

While travelling in Gujarat several times I passed by Lothal, the Indus valley civilization site, located in ‘Bhal’ (meaning desert / forehead) region, but never stopped to visit the place. Each time I passed by a thought rang in mind: “wherever the civilization stepped it left desert behind”.

I am fond of reading Louis L'Amour about cowboy stories of Wild West that lucidly describes the deserts. Sound of desert also rings in the mind, though it might seem quiet and peaceful.

There are diverse tales of desert...! The inimitable spirit of humans!! However, Mother Nature reigns supreme!!!

I love even deserts! If I am left in a desert by destiny, learning from Mother Nature I would strive to raise an Oasis! 

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© Remigius de Souza. All rights reserved.

My Lesson On a Slate

Minimalist Lifestyle

My Lesson On a Slate | Painted Poem by Remigius de Souza, Mumbai

My lesson on slate

The mighty emperor the builder
of the famous Taj Mahal the wonder
may have died many deaths in confines
of the Cell by his conscience poorer.

A white slate-pencil that I newly possessed
Dipped in turmeric paste with childish zest
I write and my slate glowed like star-studded night
I was the richest kid barefoot.

Remigius de Souza (22-08-2003)

Now that Slate has vanished from primary schools in India, what about learning to write? We are in Modern Times (Recall movie by Charlie Chaplin by that name)! Since then we missed something.
I began learning letters–numbers on slate in primary school at my native village in Konkan.
Important aspect of this learning is: 'Write a Lesson and Wipe it. And Begin Again'. This action goes on and on.

Rangoli on city pavement in Mumbai
 It is like, inscribing Rangoli – Alpana – Kolam, every morning on freshly cow-dung-washed floor in front of the entrance of an abode. Millions of Indian women go through this ritual daily, though they may be illiterate to this date. Truly, this is an ancient Land Art. It is said, they draw Cosmic Energy by this ritual art: Believe it or not.
However, I do believe, looking at their sufferings, hard work, endurance and tolerance through all adversities, injustice... created / caused by the male-dominated society and the dogmatic Agencies.

It's like, a farmer who sows and in time harvests the crop (±), and prepares for the next.
It's like, Mom or maid cooks, after feeding the family, cleans the utensils and prepares for the next meal.
It's like, a sculptor who makes idols of Ganesha, Gauri, Durga etc. year after year; the faithful worship and immerse the idols, year after year.
It's like, sing a song and it is over. Sing the same song again but it is never the same! So also it is with dance.
Kabir is illiterate, hence illiterate people (not emperors, Kabir is not patronized by State) memorize his songs, for centuries: That is minimalist.
Emperors or Power-holders build monuments in marble, or in coins, or in history books to keep their memory alive, but in vain.

In writing on a slate, we neither identify with ‘learning – unlearning’ nor ‘writing’. We don't glorify writing by making it a monument.
Where do we go from here?

(This poem was a prelude to my lecture, or rather a conversation with the students of architecture on ‘Minimalist Architecture’ in 2003 at Mumbai. I think it is better to give example rather definitions.)

Remigius de Souza
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© Remigius de Souza. All rights reserved.