Life on this Planet: The walls between us, Panaji, Goa

From the moment we are born, we embark upon a lifelong relationship with walls, with all their connotations of containment, protection, division, separation, ownership and all the emotive associations that they arouse in us.

On the streets of Panaji, Goa, all I could notice were these walls between us. I walked through each path, I wandered through each route only to realise that the doors were firmly shut, the windows were tightly sealed and high raised walls enveloped all the houses.  

I experienced myself in the city, and the city existed through my embodied experience

I realised that the exquisiteness, the people, the art; the grand music and the fancy literature, and the umpteen tales of tourism – the frills and fancies heaped around this place were just a minor part of it. The deeper I got into all that information, the lesser I explored. This project is about the walls of Goa, but what I actually witnessed was walls between people – a metaphor for self-constructed divisions.

There was something decidedly eerie and uncanny about the sight of these unpopulated walls, which gave out the illusion of being populated.  There was an air of abandonment – not a sense of neglect or even emptiness, but a sense of loss. It wasn’t a void, but something more rarefied, and cleansed of meaning by the presence of absence.

I felt my heart race as I took it all in, but then as I looked at these beautiful pictures I instantly felt the calm return – it had an ameliorating effect on me.

These photographs also made me realise that architecture can actually afford a ‘tactile satisfaction.’


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