Book – Castles in the Air: Misadventures of a Profession, Authored by Sangeet Sharma
Text and Images: Sangeet Sharma
Architecture is one hell of a profession, but is undoubtedly one of the noblest.
Building a roof and a shelter over man, Architecture provides joy in habitation.
Author Sangeet Sharma says:
While Architecture is in itself a spiritual exercise, the practice of the same may not be. The pleasures and pains experienced by me and many others needed to be penned—I did it. The courage required to do so inspire me to lead, and I thought, this was the right path to spew the venom that my heart, and hearts of many others had stored for long.
It was important to communicate and regale at it. Laughter is said to be the best elixir and the book is a satire on architecture written by one who knows the bricks and concrete of the profession by heart. The author, an architect himself, delves into the journey of a professional practice. The book is witty with acerbic humor. Word by word, sentence by sentence, page by page, every scene unfolds like a screenplay, leaving the reader amazed with the brutalities of life in architecture, and life itself.
Says the author, Writing this book was necessary: Necessary, because the nature of this profession was on a somersault. It was important that someone bell the cat— I became the bell; and I become the cat.
As Architecture is all about habitat and human comfort, the book is therefore about life, and its challenges.
What we learnt in schools and what we practice are often in contradiction. Beginning from college days, to thesis, to opening of an office, procuring a job, interaction with the clients, payments, competitions, running of the office and bearing the challenges of the daily strain in Architecture—all these and more became the basis for this book.”
Many contributed to make the framework of this narration:
Author’s observant eyes, naughty banter at parties, agonized clients, contriving builders and contractors, jealous fellow professionals, vindictive teachers, unprofessional colleges, unsupportive professional bodies, lecherous girls at architects’ meets, conniving staff members, clueless government officers, sadistic engineers and high-headed bureaucrats, flawed architectural agreements, uninterested students, unconcerned hostel wardens, aggressive principals, brutal seniors, scheming invigilators, heartless examiners, nagging wives, incompatible families, interfering patrons, egoistic couples, partial journalists and opportunist vendors formed fodder for this book.
Says Sangeet Sharma, “The book is purely a work of fiction, but, the incidents in it are not. Stories that unfold in the book may have many parallels in reality.”
Some of the occurrences narrated here, without doubt, would have happened to him or others. All said and done, Architecture is not full of pitfalls and hurdles alone but good things don’t need be written about—the unsavory aspects actually glue the readers to a book.
The author candidly sums up:
“I may be wrong—but not untruthful.”
Castles in the air ‘ is an honest affirmation of an architect s imagination. The manifestation is evident.”
“Very readable, enjoyable, a must read by all concerned with building industry in any way.”
-Ar S.D. Sharma
-Ar Rajiv Katpalia
Vastu Shilpa Foundation
“As incredible story of the practice of modern architecture an engrossing read as the author uses the technique of the fiction writing to bring alive the saga of a profession.”
“Castles in the air’ is a sarcastic, macabre and acerbic depiction of a life of an architect.”
-Ar. Sumit Kaur ,
Former Chief Architect, Chandigarh Administration
“Strongly worded, and direct. It is venomous: Thoroughly enjoyable.”
-Ar Sarbjit Singh Bahga
Bahga Design Studio LLP