Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Unfathomable Absence Of Ceiling Fans

Where have all the ceiling fans gone? For that matter, where have all the ceilings gone? If one strolls down the market lanes and ventures into an office or a shop (most of these being a franchise of a large company or chain store), one finds glass fronted (sometimes glass-sided too!) buildings looking unbearably greenhouse-like. Well, India's shining and everyone wants you to see just how nice it all looks. Or perhaps all this gleaming glass just makes you feel comfortable, when you arrive from New York or even Singapore. Or it indicates a reassuring level of transparency meant to inspire confidence. I am unclear as to the reason why architects design these structures in tropical countries.

When you step inside, you find a lowish false ceiling with some wires tucked in here and there (and if you visit at night you might hear the patter of little mice-feet). There are air conditioners discretely placed, but they are never switched on because of cost cutting measures! There are no windows in these buildings, just sheets of glass. And no ceiling fans! The result is a terribly claustrophobic room (and in the summer, a sweaty one as well!). It certainly makes me want to leave as soon as possible and I wonder how the employees feel. Most of them seem quite comfortable in these surroundings and look very surprised when I enquire about irrelevant issues like ventilation.

Ah! How I long for those high ceilinged-rooms with the ceiling fans hanging down from their long rods. And those solid brick walls with regular windows (preferably looking out onto a quiet road or a strip of greenery). Ah! For those thoughtfully made colonial buildings and also for those shaded tribal huts plastered with mud and cow dung which keep one cool through the summer. Wonderful designs which are rapidly vanishing.
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