An ingenious giant in Architecture & Pritzker Prize winner, Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi had an insightful conversation with ace interior designer, Lipika Sud, in the second episode of our latest campaign “Icons of Creativity”.

B.V.Doshi, the one who brought the Indian Architecture to the forefront, talked about designs, creativity, and friendships. Here is an excerpt from this inspiring and thought-provoking conversation.

We all spend so much time in planning our future, but the uncertainty of it blows it all. But looking at your journey, it was just life running its course and you managed to have a wonderful journey without planning anything. What was your mantra?

Well, life has to be lived and not thought of. You accept what is proposed to you, either good or bad you enjoy things as they are. Just living in the moment and be attentive to your surroundings. There is no possible way you can plan a life, life demonstrates what life is and you find a way to rejoice in every situation.

How do you go through the transaction of being a student in Mumbai, to going to London and then working for Mr. Corbusier?

Acceptance, one thing I learnt was acceptance and gratitude. You have to show gratitude towards god for the opportunities and life. And that I think it was wondrous thing that I practice. You go through many stages and ups and down in life, every day is a new challenge, but I have accepted everything that comes. Crisis or otherwise, if it’s sunny today there might be a storm tomorrow. Nothing is constant and we know that. So, why do we not enjoy the storm? I just try to rejoice and wonder and thank. There is some message in it, and that message is beautiful, it takes you somewhere else. “paisa deke film dekhne jana accha hai, ya Duniya dekhna, btao? To main duniya dekhta hoon”.

You have seen the world. You shared a success mantra at some place.

The success I was taking about there was in another context. For this, rejoice is one word more important. Success always comes with a lot of failures. The best way to not think about success and failures and take it as it comes. When I was living with my grandfather, he always kept the light on and left the door ajar in evening time. I asked him the reason and he said you never know who’s going to come through that door the next moment. Maybe goddess Laxmi herself, maybe in form of a guest, you never know.

How your sense of wonder is has impacted you as an architect?

It has given me a chance to do something. The wonder has a message, I have a lot of guides in the heaven who give me directions to browse through life. Wonder and acceptance is the tradition of India.

Challenges are something you have very well known. How do you tackle all those challenges?

I have accepted them as opportunities rather than challenges. And those opportunities have a message.

How do you recognize challenges from opportunities? And in current scenario how can we look at the bright side of the things.

Why would a challenge be there if it’s not an opportunity? It depends on your perspective. Don’t doubt, don’t fight, it’s your destiny, accept it and wonder about it. Sometimes things are totally different and unusual. It’s a question of a mindset. I traveled extensively while teaching in USA, a lot of anxiety, uncertainty and uneasy feeling was there. It was a foreign land, late night and early morning classes, but then when you sit back and think about it, that uncertainty has many ways to look at it.

When you went to France, you lived on very limited resources. Was that challenging?

I never thought about the current situation. When I went to Mr. Corbusier I accepted that he will not pay me salary. With limited money I used to have cheese, olives and tea, along with another assistant draftsmen and never thought about the why’s of the situation just accepted things as they were. The sense of containment is your choice, the sense of grace to understand that this also you should thank. My grandfather lost his one eye to an accident when I was young. I used to ask him about it. he’ll always say “kabhi kabhi ho jata hai, ek to hai na” something is always better than nothing. The idea is, thank the god and live gracefully.

Deviating a little, having multiple interests myself. Is it okay to be active in other fields rather than solely focus on your profession?

There is nothing wrong in it. That is what you’re supposed to be doing and excelling. Otherwise you would have been a laborer not an artist. If you have chance to do other things also, why not do it. If you look around, you’ll find yourself very lucky. So, every time there is a problem, look around and reflect. You are not privileged. You have what you’re supposed to get. There is no comparison or privilege. That’s just your state of mind.

How do I figure out my happiness quotient?

Don’t think. Over thinking kills happiness. If you don’t think you are happy. Don’t look around. Look within. Listen to your heart and find happiness within. Find small things to rejoice in your surrounding and nature. It’s all attitude, Living and being yourself.

You can watch the entire episode of Icons of Creativity with none other than BV Doshi with Interior Designer Lipika Sud here: