A Satire on Architecture

Laughter is said to be the best elixir and the book Castles In The Air by author Sangeet Sharma is a satire on architecture written by one who knows the bricks and concrete of the profession by heart. Sangeet Sharma is a practicing architect in Chandigarh. He is a partner in SD Sharma & Associates, a well-known firm of the region founded by his father Ar. SD Sharma, an eminent Architect. Widely acknowledged and awarded Ar. Sangeet Sharma commands an undisputed international reputation in profession. ‘Castles in the Air’ published by Rumour Books Indianis an honest affirmation of an architect’s voice and the connection with the reader is immediate. Here’s what the author shares with RITZ Magazine.

Tell us about yourself. Are you a full-time writer?

I am a professional architect. I belong to the family of architects. It is there in my genes. My father, S.D. Sharma is a veteran in this field and a leading name in the fraternity. I grew up looking at him and his enthralling work. It runs in my veins. I am not a full time writer, I am ‘also’ a writer. From a small hobby, it is now a full time passion and I am almost a full time author by default, if not spending all the time on it practically but mentally full time.

When did you first realise that you wanted to be a writer?

Storytelling has being an idiosyncratic nature in me and from the childhood I wished to be an able storytelling Santa Claus. In continuation to my adventure I pursued it intensely and was able to reach a level of a considerable repute. I have authored six books, including a book on poetry. The journey is ongoing…

What inspires you to write?

It is the music of the words that fills my heart that first made me write-the reason, why my first book was on English poetry titled “The Touch of Moon“. The expedition continued and the storytelling became imbued with my professional mixtures. I looked at architecture from different angles and that became a primary interface between me and my stories. As an all rounder in fine arts, to depict the passion of the ‘beauty in artistic abilities and architecture I wrote inspiring book like “Architecture Life & me“. That was followed by books such as “Corb’s Capitol“, “Architalks” “Architectural Aesthetics” culminating in this book called “Castles in the Air” which is a satire on building industry.

Tell us about your book. How did you come up with the idea for the story?

Word by word, sentence by sentence, page by page, every scene unfolds like a screenplay, leaving the reader amazed with the brutalities of life in architecture, and life itself. The book is not for architects alone; it is for the clients who initiate jobs establishing noble and worthy projects. It is for the builders and contractors who execute them; it is for the craftsmen and the masons, who, by the dexterity of their hands create magic in details. It is for the services consultants and allied engineers who ensure the smooth functioning of the buildings. It is for the sculptors, painters, and artists who induce art into architecture. It is for the students of architecture who will be in the profession in times to come and should be well-prepared to face the challenges ahead. It is for lay readers who are curious to know how architecture and allied vocations function. The book is for the eager housewives who misconstrue design with decoration. It is also for the politicians who are the kingmakers and implement the magnanimous visions into reality. It is for all who are even remotely connected with the building industry. It was important to communicate and regale at the industry. Writing this book was necessary: Necessary, because the nature of this profession was on a somersault. It was important that someone bell the cat— I became the bell; and I become the cat.

What is your favourite part of this book? Why?

My favourite part of this book is ‘ Prologue, and its  ‘epilogue’. It goes like this: Architecture is one hell of a profession. It is undoubtedly one of the noblest. Building a roof and a shelter over man, Architecture provides joy in habitation. Many contributed to make the framework of this narration: My observant eyes, naughty banter at parties, agonized clients, contriving builders and contractors, jealous fellow professionals, vindictive teachers, unprofessional colleges, unsupportive professional bodies, lecherous girls at architects’ meets, conniving staff members, clueless government officers, sadistic engineers and high-headed bureaucrats, flawed architectural agreements, uninterested students, unconcerned hostel wardens, aggressive principals, brutal seniors, scheming invigilators, heartless examiners, nagging wives, incompatible families, interfering patrons, egoistic couples, partial journalists and opportunist vendors formed fodder for this book…

And Epilogue:

An architect is a reflection of God. The feeling of fulfillment is far greater than the feeling of achievement in Architecture. The difference between the two is only of the extent of spiritual satisfaction…

Are there some stories tucked away in some drawer that was written before and never saw the light of the day?

No, I had been fortunate enough in this regard. Whatever I conceived of, it transformed into a beautiful book.

Did any of your characters inherit some of your own quirks?

The characters in this book are not the usual and constant protagonist. This is not a novel in the traditional sense of the word. In Castles in the Air the charactersAppear and Disappear’. They come, say their part and vanish -to appear again when called for. Every character here is important and has a role to play in the total script. All my characters actually inherit my quirk and eccentricities. They are my part and parcel.

What is your most interesting writing quirk?

I ‘happen‘ in flashes. They can emerge and flare at any time be it day or night. My characters own whatever they say and do as mentioned in the screenplay.

Who are your favourite authors and how have they influenced your writing style?

All books are important to read or simply scan through. For me it was books by Ayn Rand, Le Corbusier and Isocaki. Books by Gautam Bhatia, Sri Aurbindo and Shakespeare play an important role in defining me. My writing style in a way unique. I educate through entertaining. I vowed not to write long and boring stuff, and to instantly connect with the readers is the hallmark of my books.

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer, till date?
The bests piece of advice I received was to be first be convinced of the subject to be written about and then to make it simple. Very simple.

Christmas is almost here… What books do you think will make for a good Christmas gift?

My book “Castles in the Air”. I promise an unstoppable wit and humour and empathy with many aspects of life.

What do you have in store next for your readers?

A lot. I work on the genre called ‘Archi Lit’ – Literature and stories based on architecture and building industry as its primary theme. The book will be ready in six months.