Aram Nagar, a neighbourhood in suburban Mumbai, India is a military transit camp built in 1935 and known earlier as the Kakori Camp. This camp was converted into a refugee camp in the context of the India-Pakistan partition. The settlement of Aram Nagar was occupied by refugees from Sindh and West Punjab along with migrants from within the country in the later years. Today, Aram Nagar is transforming into a place where commercial film studio units are setting shop. My drawing attempts to map the memories of Aram Nagar’s residents of their house, neighbourhood, work and cultural practices. I represented the deep conversations with residents to develop a thick description of their memories and close visual observation of the built form based on their memories as spatial vignettes of residents’ memories and the form of life such spatialities hold.
Drawing the representation of these vignettes, my drawing argues that the memory of home and neighbourhood emerges as a series of thresholds at multiple scales ranging from the house to the neighbourhood. Thresholds, in the memories of Aram Nagar’s residents, allowed for observation, dreaming and idling; social interaction from scale of two individuals, a group of individuals and even the entire community for everyday chit chat, celebrations of festivals; setting up livelihood enterprises. Thresholds thus defined the mental map of memories of Aram Nagar’s everyday life that drew in memories of ancestral homes, dislocation, childhood, work and cultural practices. A focus on thresholds may allow for interpretative capacities of everyday heritage as against disregarding history or pickling an unaltered archive of built heritage.