One of my goals at Raga and Northstar is to understand our ecology; our relationship to it and our perception of it.
Landscape affects us: the trees, the plants, the rocks, the crevices, the contours, the undulations, the textures, the smells, and all the minutiae that fill every corner of our perception, albeit without being central to our attention. The normative aesthetic in landscape is green lawns, evergreen trees, exotic flowers, et al. However, most of these are not how the natural landscape would have emerged if we let it be. We are losing native varieties of plants and trees which are far more sustainable and are part of the habitat since millions of years. If we are to preserve and propagate native flora the important thing is going to be our aesthetic acceptance of dry, arid landscape. There is, of course, need to understand the value of natural landscapes in the ecosystem, but if we are unable to find beauty in the dry, arid landscape of where we are, then we will not succeed in building true habitats.
On my recent visit to Udaipur and Jawai, I was acutely aware of the landscapes and the vegetation it supported. At the peak of summer, it looked dry, brown and withered. However, I find it more anchored, more in the tune with the rocky hills of Aravalli. We must learn to find these landscapes beautiful without any qualifications.