While i was brushing off the dust from the corners of the wall, I noticed a large web, an unusual one. I felt a mystical vibration in my veins as i began to walk towards this enormous web. Each strand interconnected, supporting the other. A city emerged through this web, a city beyond the realms of imagination was suspended below from these strands. The entire space was lit up with chandeliers like clusters in the sky. There was a weird feeling in the pit of my stomach, seeing this unfamiliar sight . i was unsure whether i should walk further but curiosity got the better of me, so i continued to walk. Suddenly i felt a hard bang on my head. I looked up to see, while another kid came swinging by.
The people living there were cold, each one secluded from the other. There was no form of connectivity among them. The houses made of sacks suspended from the strands of the web gave a feeling of warmth and security while they drifted away from the happenings of the city, into their own peaceful abodes.
They climbed down with the help of rope ladders hanging from the web. Each ones fist clenched tight around the poles of the ladder, with the fear of letting go.
I was tired, I believe i had walked too deep into this web not realising, too distracted by this unusual environment. My mind was muddled and i began to feel alone, afraid i would be trapped in this city forever. I Suddenly felt warmth on the surface of my skin a new understanding dawned upon me. It was almost like each strand had a story to tell some happy some sad but however these memories connected the souls of the people living here.
Just then i was taken aback by the flickering of her eyes. Her toes clenched. A wise woman of ageless beauty sat there emanating light from her heart, at that moment i web disappeared and i was set free.
1.How does Calvino describe this city?
Calvino describes Octavia, as the spider web city. The city is situated on a declivity of two steep mountains over a void. It is bound to the two crests with ropes, chains and catwalks with nothing hundreds and hundreds of feet below. This particular city is temporary in nature, the entire city is dependent on the sustainability of the web. One string broken ,can destroy the entire city.
2. What is the role of the monuments?
Monuments in a city always have stories to tell about the city. They hold memories. Monuments speak about the style of living of the people there, Travelling means, recreational etc. The monuments mentioned in Octavia are homes like sacks, chandeliers, terraces, hammocks, cable cars, baskets on strings.
3. How does urban interact with the natural?
The urban begins to find comfort in the natural, adapt to the what it has to offer. In Octavia, the spider web city, people would reside in sack like homes suspended from the strands of the web. They would travel around the city walking on wooden ties careful with every step, clim up rope ladders and swing of hammocks. The net serves as a passage as well as a support for the people living there.
4. How do we distinguish between natural and man made?
Natural elements are independent and naturally occurring. Octavia is a natural city wherein strands form an enormous web to provide support for the people living there. All the other elements such as the chandeliers, cable cars, hammocks, ladders etc are man made to provide more comfort to its residents. However these man made objects are entirely dependent on natural elements for its production.
In a small part of Bombay lies Lower Parel, crowded with little lunch homes to feed the entrepreneurs of the area. A line of welding shops sit opposite an enormous corporate establishment. The glass building reflecting the hustling and bustling of the street. As you walk further, up the large bridge you notice the Palladium Mall outside which people holding bags with and excitement on their faces of purchasing something they had desired. Walk a few more yards, as you begin to feel the cool breeze of the ocean brush against your face, you know that Lower Parel has finally come to an end.
Octiavia, the spider web city holds memories in each strand of its web. The shared memories entwine to connect the souls of the people living there. Celebrations at one end spread joy throughout the city, any sad incident travels through the strands and city becomes dark. Stories of heartbreaks and disappointments, memories of a child’s laughter, conspiracy of the thieves , sweetness of the lovers, birth and death all trapped in this enormous web.
As you enter the city you are overwhelmed with a strange feeling in the pit of your stomach and nostalgia of the embedded memories. The little children swinging on hammocks remind you of the birds taking flight, a feeling of complete freedom.The chandeliers sparkle like a cluster of stars in the sky. As night falls people return to their individual worlds made of coarse sacks suspended from the strands of the web radiating a feeling of warmth and security.
It was one of those cloudy days when you would dream of lying in bed with a book and some hot chocolate. And then suddenly went the door bell, its was my adventurous friend, Shaila, wanting to venture out and enjoy this beautiful weather. So i gave in, and we walked along the promenade at Marine drive chatting away. Before we knew it our eyes caught the attention of a little bird suspended from the tree. Our first reaction was that of shock but as we went closer we saw the pain in her eyes. She moved and groaned as if asking for help.
We took her in our hands and realised that she was entangled in a transparent string that would not allow her to fly. She patiently waited as we slowly unraveled the string from her wings.
Once the thread was out we kissed her and we set her into the sky. She boldly lifted her wings and took flight taking circles in the sky while a trail of light followed her. It was something id never seen before. She had illuminated the entire sky droplets of water fell like crystals upon us. It was one of the most magical sights i had ever come across.
It was our first portrait drawing session in college. Each trying to figure how to hold the charcoal without messing their clothes and their faces. A young model strolled in and sat comfortably on the podium opposite us. Each of us had a different view of her form. As we began to draw the teacher narrated instructions, and helped us to look at every little detail that her face was made up of. He began with instructing us to form a character sketch of her in our minds and then helped us to create that character that was true to the model by observing every detail of the face. It was not that difficult after all. He had taken away all our fear of not being able to make a perfect portrait. The models face slowly began to appear on all our canvas’s. When the class was over we put all our portraits together. It was interesting to see how different the expressions appeared in each students work. Was it the character or was it what the students saw in the character?
My cousins were visiting from Delhi, they were excited to go to the beach. So we planned a day long picnic. My mother packed some sandwiches and home made sweets and water and we set off in my grandfathers car bright and early. My cousins jumped with delight, at the sight of the sea. We splashed in the water and made elaborate sand castles. Our stomachs began to growl and grandpa insisted we have something to eat. We spread our picnic mat and opened the basket of goodies. Lunch done, we were highly energised. We began to play catch and cook. From the distance we heard the sound bells approaching towards us. It was a carriage led my goats, an enterprise by young village boys. The goats all dressed in tinsel. We were their first customers for the day. They were happy to take us for a ride on the beach as the breeze blew on our faces we sang and laughed and enjoyed the sun set. It was time to go home packed with rich memories of a beautiful day.
The sound of violins which echoes through the town makes up for the darkness he dwells in.
The eternal lavender sunlight bears down from the skies smeared in purples and magenta, the bright colours radiate energy that is reflected in the people as they go by their day. They are unmindful of this fact but he can see.
As he walks down the spiral staircases his hand on the cold stone railing, his head begins to spin and his stomach lurched. His hands brush against the encrusted sea shells.
The sea breeze lifts the hair off his forehead and he can taste the salty air as he walks along the sea shore. The water rushed onto the sand and back like a thousand hushed voices in a chorus. Picking up seashells and fishing makes up for a relaxing weekend that, unexpectedly, makes this bustling city peaceful. It makes it harder to leave this place and only he sees.