A R C A: News Alumni of the Rizvi College of Architecture: News

College recalls Minal’s dreams for Mumbai

This article appeared in the Times Of India Edition dated April 19, 2007.

MUMBAI: As Mumbai reacted with outrage at the news of Minal Panchal’s death on a United States campus, another campus – this one at Bandra – recalled the dreams that she had for the city that gave her a chance to dream. 

Minal passed out of Bandra’s Rizvi College of Architecture, where – as a final-year student – she dreamt of designing a children’s museum to tap the creative potential of Mumbai’s kids. She had also planned to come back to the city and look for a place for the museum after completing her post-graduation from Virginia Tech.

 

Her college teachers on Wednesday found it difficult to hold back tears when they spoke of those plans. "Minal promised she would come back and design this museum," college director Akhtar Chauhan said as he turned the pages of Minal’s graphic dissertation on the same subject. Akhtar, who was personally involved in overseeing the project, called it "a unique concept" blending social and creative needs of a child growing up in a congested city.

Her project was chosen as the best in terms of design and innovation in 2003. "This gave her lots of confidence when she applied for her Master’s course," Akhtar said.

The current batch of students came to attend the annual examinations on Wednesday and stood on the corridors, peering into the notice board that displayed the latest newspaper clippings. "This should not have happened to her," said a final-year architecture student.

Over 50 per cent of the 45 students of Minal’s batch went abroad for higher studies after graduating in 2003.

But the death led senior teachers, like Jamshed Bhiwandiwala, to question the very idea of studying abroad. "This would never have happened in our colleges," he said. Minal had two batchmates, Vidya and Bharati, studying in Virginia Tech with her. "They are safe," Akhtar said.

Minal’s batch was like a close-knit family and kept in constant touch with each other through a chat group despite living in different countries. "I have been getting frantic calls from my classmates. Minal was such a jovial and happy-go-lucky person," a shattered Faizan Khatri, one of Minal’s classmates and close friends, said.

"She came to meet me before she was leaving for the United States," computer lab technician Mohammad Afsar, who taught her the basics of photoshop and computer graphics, said. Architecture design lecturer Anand Acharya said she was sensitive person and socially committed to her surroundings. "The only way to pay homage to her would be to kickstart the museum project she dreamt of," Akhtar added.

Original article can be seen here


No Comments Yet


There are no comments yet. You could be the first!

Leave a Comment