Return to India
Updated on Nov 30, 2012 - 3:06 p.m. IST by Merril Diniz

Kerolin Govendar (South Africa)
B Arch student at Acharya’s NRV School of Architecture

Born and brought up in South Africa, Kerolin is a fourth generation South African who traces his Indian roots to the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border. Yet, ever since he can remember, living in India has been a dream for Kerolin who practices Carnatic music and is immensely passionate about Indian art, architecture, culture and heritage. So much so that he plans to apply for Indian citizenship. Kerolin shares his thoughts on life in India.

Q. How did you get into Carnatic music in South Africa?
A. Initially, my parents enrolled me for tabla lessons. Then I stopped for three years and went for Satsang and Bhajans. My parents felt I had a good voice. So I learned Carnatic music and do a lot of Bhajan-style singing. I love the infusion of classical music with modern instruments. Hariharan is one of my favourites! I go crazy when I hear his music.

Q. Why choose India for higher studies?
A. India was one of my first choices from the time I can remember! My main idea was to learn about Indian architecture. I am fascinated by Hindu sculpture, temple structures, and would like to see the Mughal architecture in North India. But seeing it in books is completely different than going to the actual place. I am also looking to use Indian concepts like Vastu Shastra, which is being used in modern architecture. However, that is not architectural Vastu but people who practice just going and rearrange things. I want to use special techniques and do it right from the start of building.

Q. Are you enjoying studies here?
A. The Acharya campus looked beautiful on the website. But the atmosphere here is amazing. Environment plays an important role in studies, than a place that looks ordinary. While the education system is similar to South Africa, I noticed that in my architecture course, I have done a lot of it already in Grade 10 and 11, because I chose a subject that included technical drawing.

Q. Any negatives so far?
A. Many find it weird that I do Carnatic music. Everyone seems “westernised”. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but once you lose your cultural roots, it’s hard to get it back. But there are a lot of things I can learn from India - like how much there is to appreciate about one’s own country.

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