• Daniele Gennara

Puducherry work in progress​

Since we've been in India, Europe is different. We are surprised if it is full of dirt, stray dogs, strong smells, and so on, because we have nothing like that at home. Our generation was born and raised in cities where hygiene regulations and people education are so consolidated that by now, they are only appreciated when we are in a country where the norm is not that structured.

Here in Puducherry, to be precise in the White Town of Puducherry, these two worlds face each other thanks to the construction of the new sidewalks over almost all roads.

The space 'road' here in India is very different from what it is in Europe: if in our country the vehicles are the "bosses of the road" and pedestrians move on the sidewalks only to go from one point to another, here in India the road has a very strong social intensity. People sell all kinds of goods and services on the streets (including haircuts), some religious rituals are celebrated, some sleep at the edge of the road, many take advantage of it doing their own needs... The result is always the same: the street becomes an intricate world of activities and a collection of rubbish that, with sewages, turns it into an unhealthy place. If its construction is well done, the cleanliness is simpler, but above all, everything that takes place on it gains a level of human dignity, unappreciated otherwise.

These works are the basis of a healthier life, and their nature is as strong and stable as the stone used. Even for us, simple walkers, the atmosphere changes radically: finally we do not have to be (that) careful where we place our next step. In this sense, Puducherry is an example for all the cities in India.

I imagined Paris before and after Haissmann, or simply the city of our grand-grandparents through the same works of modern urbanization and the importance that everyone proved in this progress.

A beautiful city, before having beautiful buildings, needs efficient and well constructed streets, sewers and squares. All these achievements have already been made in our cities, but I use to forget their importance.