I had worked for a couple of years in Bombay on half a dozen buildings before I met Satprem Maini, French Architect and Structural Engineer representing the UNESCO chair of Earth Architecture.
He had an incisive understanding of how forces pass through a building. Just listening to him, I could picture myself standing under a large dome like Hagia Sophia in Istanbul or one of the domes in the Mughal architecture at Delhi or Agra and actually see forces being transferred from the topmost keystone through the courses of bricks forming the dome underneath to the base of the dome to the walls below it and finally to the ground.
He had such an impact on me that I instantly asked him if I could be his student. I told him that I have undergone the entire 5 year course of Architecture from one of India's finest colleges, graduated with honours, worked on over half a dozen buildings and yet I feel I don't know anything. The field of Architecture is so vast and overwhelming that I felt that even after an entire lifetime, I could perhaps start learning the A of Architecture. Can I call myself an Architect ? To which he replied :
"Don't call yourself an Architect until you can build an entire building, from foundation to roof with your own hands."
Of the many stories of my life which led me to Sharanam, this was one of them. A decisive one.