Bharat Gami
Bharat Gami

Reflections on memorable architecture

Have you ever wondered why some buildings leave a lasting impression on you?  What is it about such buildings that moves your emotions and ignites your sense of wonder?  You don’t need to be an architect to appreciate the magic of such buildings.  You don’t even have to visit every building to experience the magic.  But you do need to know where some of these magnificent buildings are.  They are not among the most popular tourist attractions.  They are not easily found on tour guides or dream tours.  But they are there waiting to be discovered hidden beneath the chaos of everyday life.  I am thrilled to offer my reflections on some of these buildings here.  

Mimamsa is a Sanskrit word which means “reflection, consideration, profound thought, investigation, examination, discussion” according to a Wikipedia page on Mīmāṃsā.  Mimamsa Diary is a collection of essays on memorable architecture that I have been fortunate to visit.  The essays on future of architecture represent a sense of intrigue and fascination with what is around the corner.  These blog posts capture a part of my professional journey, which has made me who I am.  

I had been collecting travel brochures, maps, memorabilia, notes, and photos for many years.  The hope was that someday I would have time to organize them and relive the memories.  But work, chores, and obligations of the daily grind left very little time for such an endeavor.

That was the case until Covid-19 disrupted our regular patterns and jolted our way of life.  The pandemic brought a realization that this fascinating life could end unceremoniously in a matter of days.  All these boxes of memories that I had been collecting so passionately could simply become trash to those left behind.  The pandemic also opened my schedule up as remote work and lockdown became the norm.    

It was the perfect opportunity to get rid of clutter and bring a sense of closure to years of accumulated stuff.  Instead of worrying about what might happen if Covid-19 hit me or watching daily statistics of death and desperation, I decided to use the time to declutter my collection.  I was able to discard most of the stuff that seemed to be touristic in nature and could be found easily online.  But then there was other stuff that had special meaning and prompted me to ponder some more.  What was so special about them and what was the best way to preserve that memory?  I thought of creating a travelogue or a photo album.  But there are many travel blogs and photos online by people who are much better at preserving such memories and making them available to all. 

Perhaps I could write my thoughts on what made these places special in a way that only I could write.  They would be personal essays – my reflections or Mimamsa. Others may find meaning and pleasure in reading them but that was not the sole purpose.

Locations of featured buildings
Locations of featured buildings

That was the birth of Mimamsa Diary, an online blog.  I began writing and posting online as I captured my reflections on these places.  I appreciated candid comments and observations from friends and colleagues on LinkedIn and other social media.  These essays are not about the history of architecture as it is traditionally taught in architecture schools.  They are neither chronological in order nor point to a particular theory of architecture.  They are simply reflections on places that have fascinated me and have triggered a deeper search for meaning. 

Hopefully, you would derive your own meanings as you comb through these essays. 

Bharat Gami, Weehawken, New Jersey