WHAT CONSTITUTES A HOUSE

 

News paper reading can become tedious particularly during festival and vacation times in Tamil Nadu. Full page advertisements particularly of high rises, premium townships and full furnished apartments on sale take up nearly four sides of our local broadsheets.

Though I do accept that this sort of advertising constitutes major revenues for the paper, the pictures of full-furnished apartments with state of art designs don’t impress me.

Hey they are totally equipped without an inch of space left for our own things. What if we moved into one of these flats and had to take our personal belongings. Treasured stuff like books, photos, albums, our favourite pillows, beddings, beds, kitchen utensils, home appliances and grandma’s crockery would have to be jettisoned. Where would we put them?

No I don’t think any full-furnished house will satisfy me. I remember living for a short time in a gated community which had identical row houses. One house in this colony was advertised as fully furnished. My neighbour proudly said that future owners just had to buy grocery to move in.

I secretly wished them luck. It turned out that my predictions were true. The owners, a couple with two high school children, had to redesign their front porch, build a kennel for their mastiff and change the plumbing outside to hide the ugly pipes and landscape the garden, besides paying a fortune for the house proper.

I remember a number of houses that I had lived in Delhi. My mother and father had a curious knack for making their own space. He always had a study table and at least four shelves of books, while she always had a corner for her sewing machine, knitting yarns and macramé hangings. My mother’s craft work often overflowed into the kitchen. The garden, a tiny patch outside was the domain of our gardener, who varied flowers, bushes and grass with a huge hanging vine that our dog hated. We three children were no different, though the dinner table was our common homework station in the evenings.

We shared shelves in the same cupboard and nooks in the same refrigerator to store our share of goodies.

Of course now as adults and grandparents we are more indulgent. My home furniture now consists of at least 1000 books, my own crafts collection, a dozen almirahs, four sets of double beds and innumerable kitchen vessels and home appliances. Even our garage has a small space for garden implements besides a power generator backup bought during the electricity shortages of Tamil Nadu in early 2010.

So an advertisement for furnished homes would never suit me, I cannot forgo my stuff to live in homes styled by others. My inherent penchant for personalising my space will never allow me to accept monotonous uniformity.

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