Journey to the Edge of Things

As a half Malayali and half Tamilian brought up in New Delhi during the 1990s, and early 2000s, I have always been on the edge of my cultural, intellectual, and emotional identity. As a quirky, energetic, and scholastic child my pursuits were defined by curiosity that pervaded all things observable and phenomenal (and sometimes even supernatural). As an assertive and emotionally expressive teenager, I found a good vent for my ‘pre-adolescent struggles’ in Drama, Creative Advertising, Debating, Music, and Poetry. Science and Arts have been never at war for me- they have only been the Apollonian and Dionysian halves of the same wicked wonderful world.

Sometime in 2004, Count Dracula’s Castle, Hogwarts, and the Digiworld from the Anime series Digimon had me starry-eyed about becoming an Architect who could someday add a spire to her city’s skyline. But  it only followed my affinity for Astronomy, Physics, and Psychology on one side and Van Gogh’s Starry Night, Poe’s Tell-tale Heart, Coleridge’s Kubla Khan, and the Wall by Pink Floyd on the other.

The Learning Curve

From 2000-2010, as an exceedingly active and diligent student at Bal Bharati Public School, Dwarka, New Delhi, I was blessed to have incredibly gifted teachers motivating me to push the boundaries of my potential for creative as well as analytical activities. From 2010-2012, I was exposed to an entirely different social environment at Delhi Public School, Dwarka which was both exciting and terrifying to me. But as I grew close to diverse student groups and engaged in many school events, I discovered an artistic alcove for myself as a Western vocalist.

Over the years, I have reconciled myself with the risks and rewards of being on the edge of lateral thinking, creative expressions, and strong intuitive abilities. In 2012, I moved to Bangalore to find my place under the sun - to find a niche where I could cultivate my fervour for Architecture, the Arts, scientific research, and social consciousness. RV College of Engineering greeted me with more opportunities for music, writing, poetry, and of course, the debilitating subjectivity of ‘architecture’ as a profession. On a sunny afternoon in 2013, my friend Archana and I, decided to join a distance-learning Bachelors’ degree program in Psychology at Indira Gandhi National Open University. Psychology gave me the jargon and citation trails to justify and sharpen my design intuition and empathy. Joyously, I graduated with a Bachelors in Architecture in 2017 while I finished my B.A. in Psychology in 2018.

Currently, I'm pursuing my master's in Neuroaesthetics at Goldsmiths, University of London alongside leading science-informed design projects at Hume-Human Metrics Lab. Also, I'm keeping my aspirations of community engagement and Conscious Design alive through Conscious Bengaluru.

© Designed by Aishwarya Narayana; Illustrations contributed by Tuhin Choudhary and Krishna Dinesh

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