School of Architecture

School & Snark Hunting…

One more Treasure Hunt has come and gone by, making me feel younger and older at the same time.

I have done hunts a bit too often now, so the fear of not-getting-it-right-next-time increases. I assume that at some point of time my associations are bound to be out-dated, making my clues un-palatable for contemporary young minds .

The last hunt (of 2011) was the first one played with a wi-fi generation where I could see each clue being googled out by kids who used mobile-mounted search parties that called back the base on finding the clue.

Times..they are a changing but somehow some traditions are too much fun to be allowed to die.

I am putting up some of the stuff that I wrote for various Hunts and then also old clues that I can still see on my hard-disk.


(A prelude to the Treasure Hunt)

“Just the place for a Snark!” the Bellman cried,

As he landed his crew with care;

Supporting each man on the top of the tide

By a finger entwined in his hair.

“Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice:

That alone should encourage the crew.

Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice:

What i tell you three times is true.”

Fit the First: “The Landing”

When I joined the School (Which is more than twenty five years back) I discovered two things during my first festival, one was the Hunt and second was the crazy friends I identified to associate with while playing it. This was just the place where one could still find the Snark and friends who knew it to be Boojum.

The Hunt was believed to have started as a part of students’ effort to introduce new comers to be familiar with School Campus. And obviously it has to turn into a complex game that had all the potential to be an integral part of the way school was to be. Its constitution allowed it to interpret our campus in various ways, each having an associative logic that was expected to connect a space/element/person/trees/dog to a clue that is formed using word and imagination play. For those interested in architectural semantics, this may look like a useful way of looking at space and architecture; honestly for me it was just a way to check if my craziness was relatable or not!!

“The rest of my speech” (he explained to his men)

“You shall hear when I’ve leisure to speak it.

But the Snark is at hand, let me tell you again!

‘Tis your glorious duty to seek it!

“To seek it with thimbles, to seek it with care;

To pursue it with forks and hope;

To threaten its life with a railway-share;

To charm it with smiles and soap!

“For the Snark’s a peculiar creature, that won’t

Be caught in a commonplace way.

Do all that you know, and try all that you don’t:

Not a chance must be wasted to-day!

Fit the Fourth: “The Hunting”

Being a game based on associations that must be allowed to cascade (laterally, most times!!!) hunt at the school resembles (if at all) a crossword puzzle that uses cryptic clues. The idea behind construction of each clue is to establish a connection with the place/element using cross references. Some of the following old clues will explain this:

At very simple level you have: “Red10” which is LalTen (a lantern).

One more level of complexity would be “CAN 13-19” where 13-19 would be referring to Teen age, thus solution would be Canteen.

More Complex would be “Surely not created by JK Rowling nor had he ever met

Sally; but he had no place in a new copy.”

Where JK Rowling would connect to Herry Potter so would Sally from “When Herry meets Sally”( the movie). This put together with Harry the old canteen man being kicked out of the new cateen, you have a solution that comes from converging all of it on one point.

It could get worse with “If I were to write this for a Thesis, it would be a electromechanical device that consumes thermally generated remotely produced energy to alter vertical coordinates of certain complex oxides of most basic form of matter. The device also has a great relevance due to its enormous impact on the urban fabric and city form as in contemporary context it has enacted the role of a vehicle of freedom from the shackles of river based settlement patterns for humanity..

(I wish I could make it as boring as… say architectural writing !!!)”

Where I throw in scientific stuff and combine it with my own perception of thesis writing that prevails in school to get you a bore-well the boring way.

So the hunt means doing all that the bellmen describes (Do all that you know, and try all that you don’t) while letting your mind fire uncharted patterns of neural network that it has.

“Come, listen, my men, while I tell you again

The five unmistakable marks

By which you may know, wheresoever you go,

The warranted genuine Snarks.

“Let us take them in order. The first is the taste,

Which is meager and hollow, but crisp:

Like a coat that is rather too tight in the waist,

With a flavor of Will-o-the-wisp.

“Its habit of getting up late you’ll agree

That it carries too far, when I say

That it frequently breakfasts at five-o’clock tea,

And dines on the following day.”

Fit the Second: The Bellman’s speech

First part of the hunt consists of collecting clues that come to you in form of slips of paper (with each team getting a different clue!!) from the game desk and putting them through processes described above.

Second part is to locate a small square piece of paper having an Alphabet printed on it at the location derived from the clue. You must memories the letter (DO NOT REMOVE IT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE IF YOU WANT TO CARRY ON PLAYING) One needs torches and sharp eyes to succeed in this along with good fitness.

Third step is to get back to the game desk and tell me the logic used for cracking the clue as well as what letter it was. Failing in either would mean that you would not be allowed to proceed to the next clue.

Fourth Step is reached by cracking sufficient number of clues to reach the stage known as Anagram stage, whereby you receive a sentence/jumbled up letters that needs to be reorganized to a word or set of words hidden within.

Fifth is the step I take. Towards my home.

“The method employed I would gladly explain,

While I have it so clear in my head,

If I had but the time and you had but the brain–

But much yet remains to be said.

“In one moment I’ve seen what has hitherto been

Enveloped in absolute mystery,

And without extra charge I will give you at large

A Lesson in Natural History.”

In his genial way he proceeded to say

(Forgetting all laws of propriety,

And that giving instruction, without introduction,

Would have caused quite a thrill in Society),

Fit the Fifth: “Beaver’s Lesson”

The formal instructions to play the game end here. But there are certain universal rules that each player must observe. Which, in their most expanded form are as under:

“I am ALWAYS right.”

This is so because the world we play this hunt in is in my mind and all I am doing is welcoming you to join!!! The facts or leads that are provided are checked and checked again to ensure that you do not go stumbling in the night, but even if you can think up something more lateral than me my word stands… least for the night.

Hark to the locust in their shrill armadas.

Locusts aren’t locusts. Locusts are cicadas.

The seals in circuses I travel on bee lines.

Seals aren’t seals. Seals are Sea lions.

I’m a buffalo hunter. Want to see my license?

Buffalos aren’t buffaloes. Buffaloes are bisons.

I am too old to be pedantically hocus-pocussed.

I’ll stand above the buffalo, the seal and the locust.

I happen to Know: Ogden Nash (Good Intentions 1942)

Samir Shukla


This may be was my excuse to ensure that some of you end up reading Ogden Nash and Lewis Caroll that many of us enjoyed reading twenty years back!!!

The School shall remain just so…. hopefully for ever.


As I did keep some of the old clues after the invention of universal machine, I am putting them up for those who want to try and see if they make sense. Me, being a bad record keeper, I have no record of the year of the hunt so I have made some wild guesses. But, it would be nice if some one actually as something to add here.

Some the clues are pictorial and hence I am finding it too painful to put them up. Anagrams are missing as I keep them with me (which is the best way to loose them) while the clues are handed over the students who help in the hunt.

On the whole.. This post is one more proof of madness that is part of the 84-rians and runs rght across ages.



I also have a strange idea. It would be fun to take pictures of each of the clue-location and keep them over the net. It will be a strange record of how the school changes over time.

The Clues

2005 ??

  1. Surely not created by JK Rowling nor had he ever met Sally; but he had no place in a new copy.
  2. Correct Latin name is hard to guess, but it looks like a Indricotherium (Baluchitherium) to me. It seems that makers never found it moving enough..
  3. Can 13-19 be a good clue ?

Original copies now.. So, look for the copy.

  1. For me, it is a benchmark of a kind.

I had loved being in the groove

but now we seem to have some problem at grass-root level here.

  1. Has architecture gone to the dogs now !!!

Architects may dodge this question,

but dogs dig it !!!

This could be a real dogma for you !!!

  1. Unlike our local, Cleopetra next door is well cast.

… but, we have our own Catering, and they don’t.

So no harm in her having a cast iron stomach !!!

  1. This Samir may not give you a clue.

But knowing him could be good for a Getaway at least !!!

  1. Rock may give you a high,

but here is something who can give it to the Rock !!!

(Adnan Sami is no Rock, but he too got high over this !!)

  1. You may say that the scale is small, but this could be the only place around to find the pull of our dear Gaia.
  2. If you thought that buttresses are architectural and not botanical, you better get to the root of this. But beware, as route to the root will never be easy. You may thank me for making an on campus treasure hunt !!!
  3. If I were to write this for a Thesis, it would be a electromechanical device that consumes thermally generated remotely produced energy to alter vertical coordinates of certain complex oxides of most basic form of matter. The device also has a great relevance due to its enormous impact on the urban fabric and city form as in contemporary context it has enacted the role of a vehicle of freedom from the shackles of river based settlement patterns for humanity..

(I wish I could make it as boring as… say architectural writing !!!)

  1. Wall clad with smallest tiles in the campus !!!
  2. Toil they hard, so they should have had let them have it long back.

But does it look nice to find that they seek relief behind this tall grass screen ?

  1. This seem to be the last double barrel left around. Bore is about 4 “ and I have seen it shooting squirrels !!!
  2. Theory says that all human beings are natural swimmers on birth.

People you call friends, love to put it to test here !!!

  1. Scenes of Electrocuted Birds on High Wire like this are common in Antipodean Landscape. But we seem to be preferring an inverted version.. So our wire is low and direction is north.
  2. At par to Sirimavo Bandaranaike…..

Hummm… Not so correct, as we use the American Model.

I like Misleading very much, though !!!!

  1. Eight Dollars or eighty days.. My idea is about 19 clues and your are back to me.
  2. Harshad Mehta may look out of place here.

But so is this.

He could not bear being a bear…




  1. It is curious that those in the business of protection always need protection. Though this should not be flattering, but this one is.
  2. Considering the amount of Law that prevails on campus, we must be having its exponent’s office somewhere.
  3. We don’t know

with this poor Leda

Is it Modern Art or Swan

Who actually had her!!!!

  1. It is, may be, unfortunate that reincarnating this queen of Chittor is a task beyond our means right now, but putting her back on the road does not seem right from the looks of her!!!

Strange are my associations as this reminds me of a famous play by

Tennessee Williams!!!

  1. If I go by the signage, there is a paint studio in the sky somewhere!!
  2. Did Piet Mondrian officially visit of any of our schools?
  3. Is this a tense Christmas tree outside inside design?
  4. Lord of the L-Keys
  5. Do you know where this incarnation of Parvatiji resides on our campus apart from the first ten days of Ashvin?
  6. The material store of the original construction site is about to open up to the West.
  7. Is it a Jamun tree that is exactly as old as CEPT?
  8. It seems like a line straight from Joseph Heller as here is someone talking about an issue by saying either you are for it or you talk about it!!!
  9. I have seen street furniture by lakeside often but we seem to have decided to put it inside one. A very recharging idea that seems to have little hope of taking off!!
  10. Knowing the command to check accessibility of devices over a network will get your job half done. From there on, all you have to do is to turn line into a circle and you will move on in the game.
  11. Street car named desire, Peter Pan, Doll’s House, Pygmalion,


  1. To someone as old as me, it is extremely surprising that now we do have space that need signs from registar and director on your application to utilise. May be, this is a novel way of understanding space!!!
  2. In this low temp room they want to format temp every month!!!
  3. This looks like a cross between the mode of transport similar to one banned recently in Calcutta and something that moves most of China.
  4. You will need to score a home run in base ball for this.
  5. Ours is a crazy reality where it is live and dead at once in it’s cage.


Unfortunately, it was a comparatively sad treasure-hunt (For me…Mainly because I could not add my two bits of smart comments during the hunt due to lack of good PA system) I will like to explain a few things to those who may consider it worth while to understand the way traditional SA clues are structured.

I am doing this because I really have enjoyed doing this game, whereby I get to check if associative circuits of my brain still hold relevance in your brave young world or not. Though, it is a bit heart breaking to come across minds that connect Benjamin Franklin with an Electrician and Pablo Picasso with a musician, but in the end it is very pleasant to come across people who get “Leonardo Da Vinci Code” in ten flat minutes.

The school lives on !!!

This year I too had very little time, so clues were written in about two hours of time with little checking of facts and I had left all ground work to younger legs (Thank you Abhinav, Sinali, Esha(but you did ditch me in the end, without sound!!!) and one more young man whose name I missed completely.)) But in the end, it was just like all other hunts….Chaos, Screaming, My rudeness to spice it up… So I guess all’s well that ends well.

Following is an explanation about how I had thought of each clue. I am doing it because; I feel that most of what I wanted was missed out. And, that bit is the real fun for a code maker or breaker….

With time constraint, we did only 8 clues out of normal 20 that I do.(These 20 are divided in to simple ones to speed-breakers that stop the leaders till others catch-up by the age old mechanism… i.e. cheating!!!!)

2008 May be ???

  1. If you talk turkey, it would be red crescent, but I guess, here we have a certain class…
  2. With apologies to Ogden Nash…

“ This one has a single one

The dromedary, two;

Or else the other way around.

I am never sure. Are you ? ”

You will need a good head to solve this one !!!!

  1. I have been in the same groove for years now, but I better change.

May be.. to shift to a new groove !!!

Or I would be getting some stick soon…

and.. why not ? as it may be is the only source !!!!

  1. Playing Lights ….

Lighting Plays ..

Plight is

… where it Lays ?

Have I framed it correctly …

  1. If you misunderstand your french, object of art boards here !!!!
  2. Carpet sahib seem to have preferred being on ground instead of this..

But when the hunt is on, it would be nice to find a place like this !!!

  1. One may wash dirty linen may in public, but it is dried in what was the most scenic and secluded place on campus !!! I cant say that I prefer it over the Paradise Flycatchers and Ashy Wren warblers that I use to see there …..
  2. It would be curious for you to note that there is no true blue pigment found in any life form. Now I see art courting this scientific fact !!!!

My guess is that they hung it till it looked dead and turned blue.

If you are fond of irony, I can tell you the Sir Malcolm Cambell set a world record for highest speed on land by a car that was given a name that can describe this most immobile looking thing.

  1. Does the name of Antonio Meucci rings a bell ?

If you didnt know, please note that US Congress passed a resolution on 25/9/2001 and stated that the ring you get is not from bell but from Meucci !!!

  1. Surname could be -ski !!!! And why not.. as they two are whites !!!
  2. They are now made the under-cover agents of our local force !!! Discover the cover that covers the one who cover you.
  3. Have some Fun guys !!!! These seem like something that only Bufonidae would use such precarious perches …

No, I wasn’t trying to be rude. But I don’t think I like the fix here !!!!

  1. Hey Guys …. Simplest clue of them all !!! Just think of Kournikova and you get it.

Oh….I see that you didnt !!!!

No girls in the team or what ?

Come on..

Lady’s first Guys !!!


Do you find it crazy ?

well.. if you look around you will find that I did juggle better than some here !!!!


  1. Today this baby of Colossus fails at Turing while you pass.. But you start Touring right now as in coming years it too may pass !!!!
  2. Smoke on the water on architects’ album !!!

Find a gujarati and he may tell you that it is a Mori

son !!!!

  1. It may mean to be the last word that kids learn, but it looks more like a paleontologist’s night-mare !!!!
  2. I feel like a Maori who has missed his Wallaroo with his traditional weapon…
  3. ‘A “_______”, I explained, ‘I should describe as a journey, long or short, without an end; only thing regulating it being the necessity of getting back within given time to the point from which one started. Sometimes it is through busy streets, and sometimes through the fields and lanes….. But long and short, but here or there, our thoughts are ever on the running of the sand…… We have been much interested, and often a bit tired. But on the whole we have had a pleasant time, and are sorry when ‘tis over.’

Most appropriately fitting last lines of a famous sequel of a very very famous book by:



  1. Inhi_ne….. pakiza me dupatte ka problem kiya tha.
  2. Nazi or not, it would prove lucky for you to find it.
  3. Last of the ALW is seen mixing in the east…and it surely isn’t JCS…. Could be OPC or PPC though.
  4. It is there for 168 hours but don’t feel secure as it is only for this little while.
  5. Authorities, under assumption that photosynthesis must stay uninterrupted 24X7 for local flora, have endeavored to annoy us brightly.
  6. Vi Frangipani stay together
  7. With Sensex snaking down, looking at its scale/s, I wouldn’t be surprised if this has swallowed the Bull.
  8. M with Two Eyes took the delivery of Shahid-Kareena MMS and we are still left with two eyes now!
  9. Walt Disney’s baby of the recession seems to have carved into the traditional wood work here.
  10. If Padma Vibhushan of this year would have chipko here, we may have been saved of one more artistic expression.
  11. Is it accommodating an abbreviated residence of black retriever?
  12. Composter of CHHHH?
  13. 24/12 and a day tree put on one side
  14. Zeus’s powerful weapon is housed here.
  15. DNA/2 cast in black
  16. Security paranoia may have Finished our chances of approaching all other but these two members of most right Scandinavians.
  17. Be the biblical prodigal before it is late.



  1. He hit thick axe at the God’s ugly heir.

And found that it is not the question but the ultimate answer, “Is she the one?”

2010 ???

  1. Structure of Diptera with Mrs. Future Big Beta!!!
  2. This could be a structure that visitors from north-west who entered by putting sugar in milk may find their God in.
  3. What Benjamin Franklin was looking for by flying kite is expected to be housed here soon.
  4. Pre-“alea iacta est”(after you remove the “die is” from it (and you have read your asterix comics well) protects our protector at the very edge.
  5. Future of stuff such as the curve of your back-rest will be decided here in near future.
  6. When you start using your hands for your legs, playground gets real small, isn’t it?
  7. Capt. James T. Kirk may have boldly gone there (apart from to Space). As he was used to being on the bridge. But now he may need to relieve himself in a different space.
  8. It is no surprise that Rudyard Kipling’s water-bearer is an ancient but surviving part of us now.
  9. What painters like Pablo Picasso, Fernand Léger or Georges Braque played around with got pushed out from the east and is now really not in much use.
  10. Old city and horses are gone and now we have Christmas taken out of the best selling single in music history only.
  11. Strange way to know a place in a manner similar to what portion of Marijuana was called once up on a time.
  12. From the name it seems that the entire group of Jaap B. Bakema, Aldo van Eyck, Georges Candilis, etc would have found a seat each here? (But I am not sure as Alison or Peter Smithson would make it a bit difficult.)
  13. Konark or Abu Ghurab is not the only place to find Him.
  14. These are normally used to catch birds in tropical tree canopies. I fail to see them here.
  15. Considering the undignified position of this fallen great, I can help you locate it by connecting it to products of Nitex or Ranjit!!!!?
  16. Commemorating the e-day of Sept-e-mber?
  17. Oldest known relative of Jim Davis’s creation on campus to me.
  18. Unlike Beatles they dream of Busses in the sky (without diamonds though)!!!
  19. It is at the other end of the universe proclaiming the new found identity. But, was it worth going this way just to be taken as granted is a question.
  20. Tomas Cook did it and got back in seven months,Phileas Fogg and his valet Passepartout was to do it in eighty days. I want you to do it now.
  21. A Lord do a dive in one cc

So can you!!!

And get your treasure out.


  1. Secure

23° 2’19”


  1. When it was up and about, the White-backed (or White-rumped (if you preferred the new nomenclature) and at times Long-billed and may be even the Egyptian but never the King or the Griffon(You have my personal assurance for that)) sat and shat on it. Now it is laying camelesque locking the carbon in till someone gets a burning desire to release it.
  2. You have known the Vikram and the Hijri but now you need to go to the root ….
  3. A little bird tells me that this is an Unfaithful rendering of Agapornis roseicollis out of love?
  4. Broadway goes anti-edison…
  5. Fency place planned for Feeding some birds..
  6. Have they Mess/hed up with the north light?
  7. Machan from IS:800-1984
  8. They may have used NBC 2005 part 6: Section 3B but surely have ignored provisions under part 4.

10.It was a real sad discovery for me that students now needs outsiders to questions them. It was an irony that the one who stood here to do the job was aptly named after a most original of native minds.

  1. I have seen wooden, gypsum, AC sheet, metal and even Vinyl – Faced Fiberglass but never strained my neck before to see graphically abused flattened wood pulp fiber sheets.
  2. Sheth Elephant-Lion seems to like his pots large.
  3. Pink dream of
  4. A rare Non-biodegradable plant bottled up in our back yard.
  5. Though the officials may not be appreciating it but I know Jagjit to be very keen to give up his wealth and youth to get hold of this along with the rain and rainwater.
  6. Common cold virus stoned and laying on grass…
  7. A tree showing us the direction for water treatment?
  8. Reach lack of fear and the end is near…

I am happy to admit that I have managed surviving till now with minimum effort as all my intellect has be used to avoid doing anything meaningful. As I needed to while all the free time I generated in course of being lazy, science has been my favorite muse that I have enjoyed company of. As an effort to kill time (in a way, to get even with it) one fine day I decided to write a science column, more for my personal amusement than to attract readers. After getting educated about the attention span of modern readers from my editor, it became more like a challenge to tackle esoteric subjects in 600 words that I have managed to remain interested in for more than a year now. I do not want to add my worldly profile here as these are ideas that need to be considered only on the merits they carry and not as an opinion of a certain human being.

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