Japanese Style Haikus, Written In The English Language, For A Small Farm Somewhere In India
research - exploring indian landscapes
Location: Badlapur, Mumbai
“Japanese Style Haikus… ” is an essay of poems, photos, and notes in prose that, I hope, will serve as a reference palette for the redesign of a farmland.
The farm in question, like many small farmhouses seen in the hinterlands of the city, is a small parcel of land, which is tightly cluttered with different plantations. It has an interesting mix of mango and banana orchards, a vegetable patch, and old tree and a stoic house and lawn.
What this farm, like many such farmhouses, has seemed to lack is a sense of place and a sense of being. An opinion expressed by visitors, who do not explore any part of the farm except the farmhouse lawn. What the design of this place really needs is an interpretation of the moments in this farm, so that they become a desirable experience.
But, what is really lacking though is a body of cultural references, poems, songs, artwork, that would have allowed us to connect to these, dense, Indian landscapes. That is not to say that they do not exist. They do. But they are either part of an oral tradition, or are not documented in a way that allows for a wider social access. I feel, that other than some very specific imageries, the idea of an Indian landscape as an aesthetic landscape has not been eulogised enough, to enter into the contemporary, Indian social landscape.
The cumulative effect of this, however, is that we have an easier time picturing, and in turn, relating to the cherry blossoms, the green lawns, the tea gardens, the rolling landscape, the dry garden, the daffodils. We then in turn relate these images as pictures of beautiful spaces. What we miss out on is the moist earth, the dark windless spaces, the cow in yellow hay, the speckled sunlight on the brown patchy earth.
Hence, this side project, of making a series of references, specific to these tight farm plots, which create so many places within it. From here one hopes to be able to create a series of ‘moments’ in this place. These moments and experiences put together will become a memorable experience of the farmhouse.
Each page is a single observation. The haiku expresses the moment and the sense of that place. The note in prose is an imaginary description of the experience of that place after design.
One may ask. “Why Japanese Haikus…?” There is no real answer to this. However, there is something to be said about me using a foreign language and a foreign cultural import to interpret an old land, my old land. This essay does not begin with a haiku though. It begins with a line from Robert Frost’s poem…