”Find what you love and let it kill you” – Charles Bukowski, asserts Deepa Nandi passionately as she adorns multiple facets in her everyday life. An Architect by profession, Designer at heart, Film maker, Art Director, Handwriting Specialist, mentor, entrepreneur, city lover, theatre artist, an educator, backpaker, explorer, animal lover, all packed into one!
Having lived in Mumbai since her childhood, excelling in her academics and extra curricular activities, little did she know that architecture would be one thing out of many interests that would change her life. This is what she has to say : ”Holding a passion for extreme reading since my kindergarten days, Creative Journalism was one thing I always wanted to pursue. Also I couldn’t ignore my second love of invigorating more about buildings, people, spaces, culture, lifestyles all this together had a common platform called Architecture. Those days, I was almost on finishing my course in Bharatnatyam in Mumbai and then Nagpur happened to me for the next five years to complete a course as rigorous and professional as this. It is one thing that is inseparable from the part of my growing years. My parents and my school have played a major role in nurturing me,” says Ms. Nandi fondly.
On her various Professions and love:
”Working with a firm like Sanjay Puri Architects, in Mumbai was a turning point in my life.” she recalls. “Everyday was a learning at an emotional level as well as at an intellectual level. I realised, life was just getting tougher from here. Those were my transition days where I had no clue how everything was taking shape : For simultaneously I got an offer from a well-known theatre platform to join as a set designer. Being a part of the theatre troupe and being one of the actors myself was surprising. I was taking life at face value those days.
“Performing numerous theatre at various cities in India gave me a different personality altogether. I was trying new innings in my life. With a personal passion for teaching, I started teaching Vedic Maths to the less privileged, street and slum children. It is a different level of satisfaction when you see someone doing good in their lives because of your mentoring. Teaching turned into a passion for me – It wasn’t work. It is devotion.”
Graduated in architecture and having a double master’s in Arts, Critics and Theory and Construction Management, Deepa wishes to pursue a PhD someday along with the frequent random backpacking to unexplored places that she is crazy about.
When we asked her about RaahGeer, citywalks that Deepa conducts, she explains, “Every city has a sex and an age which have nothing to do with demography. Rome is feminine. So is Odessa. London is a teenager, an urchin, and this hasn’t changed since the time of Dickens. Paris, I believe, is a man in his twenties in love with an older woman,” and Mumbai to her is a rebellious girl in her teens!
“Apart from my daily routine, my childhood inquisitiveness was fresh as ever. The one where I get fascinated by Architectural Anthropology in daily life. Mumbai being so variant. Its people, evolution, lifestyle, culture, religion, is all so magnetic. I mean how can anyone not want to devour its flavours. While walking around the city, comprehending, observing, analyzing its beauty and issues, RaahGeer has evolved and is capturing a large audience. RaahGeer is an organization where we conduct ‘citywalks’ . I say again, ‘Citywalks’ not heritage walks! With various enthusiasts participating in the walk, this is my small effort in creating awareness to the common people of our own city. Over few months Raahgeer has developed a huge clientele. And currently is happy conducting many corporate walks. Some thing huge is in the pipeline”, says the founder of RaahGeer excitedly.
On Film making and Documentaries and more :
“Recently I finished shooting a travel documentary with an international client. Travelling and shooting in 8 cities , 2 states in 12 days. The movie must be launched soon once the post-production work is complete. Apart from this I am part of the location recce crew of various production houses, especially which have to shoot in Mumbai . The insights that I have gained out of my random exploring sessions in the city helps me through the recce. I am also working on a few short films as an Art Director, the launch of which is expected anytime this year.”
On what keeps Deepa going :
”No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, show up and never give up.”; ”Fall seven times, stand up eight.”
“Honestly I think it is my curiosity and greed to learn more and more everyday which drives me, else a mundane corporate life is not something which I am made for”, she laughs. ”I am the kind of extremes. Either I will do whatever I do with all my sweat and blood, else I won’t do it at all. There is no in between.” she says.
On Architecture Journalism:
Like I said my first love was to become a journalist, and like I said I never give up. Hence the love for Architecture Journalism. This is one course which lacks in many architecture colleges, and it is as important as any other subject. Architecture Journalism must be made a compulsory elective in all colleges” she says. “For this is the only time when architecture students can learn the techniques of art of writing in an academic format, and good writing has the potential to change the world.”
She concludes, ”Don’t stop when you’re tired, stop when you’re done. Its all gonna be worth it in the end.”