Crash that tore asunder dreams

Orphaned home

Crash that tore asunder dreams

Some of Mangalore’s orphans will not get their home for its conceiver and his small family, wife Manirekha, and daughter Harshini, died after flying three hours on IX-812 from Dubai to Mangalore. It was not just Shashikant’s dream project.

It was also a carefully guarded secret that he did not share with either Manirekha or Harshini, though he had worked out the ‘punch list’ –– an inventory of things that have to be completed before construction begins -- on his website www.shashipoonja.com.

When contacted, Shashikant’s relatives told Deccan Herald that although discussed business expansion plans with them, he had chosen never to talk about ‘My Home’. A Dubai-based freelance architect, Shashikant’s origins were humble. Born some 45 years ago, his father was a small-time tailor at Bejai in Mangalore.

He graduated in architecture in the late eighties. He worked in a design firm called Catalysis, in Mangalore, for about two years during which time he redesigned and developed Tagore Park on Light House Hill.

He emigrated to the Gulf where he soon built up a brand for himself, specialising in development of retail stores and entertaining high-profile clients such the Landmark Group, Jashanmal in the United Arab Emirates, Woolworths in Dubai, and Giban in Italy. He also designed and executed the Life Style retail store in Hyderabad and Complete Living showroom in Avenue Mall, Kuwait.

Having achieved professional expertise and success, Shashikant’s thoughts turned to leaving behind a mark for humanity. That is when he conceived of the plan to build and design ‘My Home’ where Mangalore’s orphans could access a healthy and happy surrounding that would strengthen their cultural and spiritual development. In other words, he planned to give the City’s parentless one big family.

‘My Home’, on the Surathkal-Bajpe Road, was scheduled for a grand opening on October 10, 2010. While still in Dubai, Shashikant took care to see to it that his project was well advertised in Mangalore. The colourful billboard near the Circuit House that simply said ‘Shashipoonja.com, design, development, project management,’ projected ‘My Home’ with all its aesthetics, an indication that Shashikant, also an artist and photographer, had a hand in the hoarding’s conception.

“Great design is in details. Design must support functionality and vice versa. One cannot and should not be used to overcome the weakness of the other,” he wrote profoundly on his website.

While ‘My Home’ was to be his first step toward that objective, he had plans to build and design a beach house in Hejamadi in Udupi, another dream torn asunder by an untimely death.

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