Baithak Khana

DSC_0254.JPGI’m sure that by now you have figured out our love for the traditional, with our quirk to it. This is visible in our spare bedroom, half of which is a slightly raised platform with a mattress and bolsters, defined by two wooden petis (built in chests for storage) on either side.

The other side has the TV unit which is basically the television  set up on a wooden ledge with drawers. The backdrop is the same gray paneling of exposed cement sheets which we have used in the living room, which seems to work very well with the earthy brown of the wooden furniture all around. This room is perfect to just hang out or laze around, watch some TV, or just read a book. There are times when our friends have come over and we have spent the entire day guarding spots, some lying on the bed, some on the bean bag pulled in from the bedroom and some curled up on the wooden peti like a cat, while we debated on the best ways to spend a Saturday afternoon. This is indeed our version of the quintessential baithak khana, where our grandfathers used to have heated discussions over cups of chai or a hukka and some paan.

authentic tribal arrows and some painted dry gourd picked up from the tribal fair called “adhirangam” held at Daman for the last couple of years.

Initially, we didn’t have a clue about how to accessorize this room. The simple brown and grey of the room was relieved slightly by the olive green chic blinds from our earlier house converted into the paneling behind the low bed and the deep maroon jute finish curtains behind the bamboo chic blinds. Apart from that, a Kashmiri yak wool rug gifted by a dear aunt for our wedding, adorns the wall behind the baithak. Slowly, A’s collection of weapons have started taking over the TV ledge, bows and arrows from a tribal fair, a small collection of knives and a wooden samurai sword picked up while visiting Pratapgarh.

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the wooden dhol from Goa flea market, artificial dahlia’s from Crawford market, some bamboo explorations from my NID days and a bamboo bow with bastar art.

There’s also a wooden dhol that I had picked up for him while visiting the flea market in Goa with friends, to celebrate his love for music and a couple of artificial dahlias picked up from our first accessorizing project. A bastar crafted whistling bamboo adorns the opposite corner standing tall on the peti with a bowl of white roses from a craft shop in Bandra. An Andhra leather craft lamp adorns the other peti and its bright glow magically transforms the room to some distant reality, while a dokra art boat (a gift from my mama and mimi visiting us for the first time) is being rowed by a boatsman against the bright green feng-shui bamboo blooming in my favorite black coffee mug. A ceramic glazed coconut shell bowl with a bamboo stick musical instrument from Cambodia, a boat shaped water hyacinth basket which is a peace offering from A and a ornamented quill in a small antiquity bottle make up the rest of the setting against the bamboo chic blind backdrop.

 

 

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a small antiquity blue bottle with  a ornate quill from Willam Penn  stands alongside a wooden damroo from Trambakeshwar and a dokra boat with boatsman from Kolkata.
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pebbles from the ladakh trip as a keepsake of their prayer stones and small ceramic pots from our road trip to mahabaleshwar

So yes! This baithak of ours has now become our favorite afternoon place, where we play cards and read newspaper while sipping on our cold coffees and listening to our favorite music.

Carefully crafted…

254526_10150288162500931_7915622_nWe were born in the age of telephones, and though our grandparents and distant uncles still wrote letters to us, we haven’t ever had to learn the art of letter writing. We didn’t have to. Whatever we wanted to say was just a phone call away. And the easier it became to make a call, the further we went to penning our thoughts down. We became careless about what we said and took offense on what we heard. There was nothing to fall back upon. Memories became distorted, till we found a way to store every moment of our lives in our pockets. Intimate moments needed to be picture perfect, like fairy-tales, and so we started to weave our moments around the picture. We became lesser than the moments captured, and feelings became a tool we played with..

It’s been some time now I’ve been wondering, how words used to cherish our feelings in those carefully crafted letters. Letters that we cherished all the more because of the long wait, the anticipation, looking for the postman every morning. Letter from your mother telling you about the nest in the courtyard tree, or your grandfather reminiscing about football with his brothers in the long forgotten village. The nostalgia of finding a yellow worn out letter in your favorite book with times long gone, but with the hint of rose.  Of all the arts dying in this world, the loss of letter writing is the close of an era.

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The beloved flower in the covers of a book; A book of romance and of dreams coming true

DSC_0167We all love magic; the magic of romance and youth. The excitement and naivety and faith, that which makes the world rosy and life like a dream. The beloved flowers in the covers of a book, letters written in red ink, the secret meeting, the telltale smile, and surely, each time we press a flower in our favorite book, we dream of these romances. To be a part of the unspoken true love, of fighting against all odds, of the long walks in the monsoon and the fields of flowers, to be mesmerized in love and be besotted with each other. We want surprise gifts of jewelry and chocolates, stuffed toys and scarves, flowers on occasions and dates to celebrate.

But isn’t it blissful to be able to pour one’s heart out or sit in silence through the night, every night. To know that even though you argue over the silliest of things, you’ll walk through the rough patches of life holding hands. And to be right there armed with tubs of ice-cream, even when you are complaining of everything you have. There may not be surprise gifts and date nights, and there will be many caustic comments, but there will also be secrets you share and the dream of a future, and the promise to build it together.

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Tomorrow: a wonderful place to be

DSC_0364It’s next time once again, and I still don’t have anything interesting to say. My plans are still in my head. Tomorrow is this wonderful place that I never reach. I am drowned in a lifelong of todays. Somewhere, deep down inside of me, a voice tells me, it is good to be at least dreaming of this wonderful tomorrow, that it is what lends you hope and the strength to wake up smiling every morning; but who am I kidding? That voice is just my way of procrastinating without feeling guilty.  Then the other voice chimes up. The depressing one, which reminds you that your wonderful tomorrow is a hoax, because you haven’t really done anything to deserve it, and are not focused enough. This voice at least eventually leads to something constructive. Because, then you list down all the steps you have taken to bring you closer to at least one of your dreams. It may be as small as cleaning your cupboard or pruning your small collection of plants. I think this is the reason some people always start their serious work sessions by cleaning up regime. If only I could stick to one single regime.

For me, one session might start with a cleaning up regime, which I will abandon halfway because I have had an idea, and that needs to be executed immediately. Then the next time, I would just keep sitting in a mess because I have no time to think of anything else. If I make out any pattern of my working style, it is last minute panic. That just sets it off. I envy the people who can put out good work effortlessly. You know the kinds who get up in the morning, know exactly what needs to be done around the house, read the newspaper and take a shower. They get dressed and head for work. They work till the evening. Head out, meet up and socialize, come back home, and all the while produce great work. I’ll tell you the secret. They don’t give up when they are bored or low. They go on. And so do I. I will start

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enjoying the walk to that wonderful place

finishing my mini projects. As soon as I clean up my cupboard and do the laundry.

Kintsuki

IMG-20150105-WA0004When I said what’s broken cannot be mended, did I mean that we cannot have a long fruitful relationship? Or did I mean that lifelong relationships are perfect, and no mistakes are committed on either end? The Japanese perfected the art of mending broken objects, kintsuki, in which the fault lines are highlighted. The important thing is not to try to hide the broken edges, but to highlight them; to be proud of your differences, and to celebrate the bridges. You lose the innocence, but you gain beauty, that is the beauty of memories and stories; of standing together even when you hated each other.

That is the beauty of lifelong relationships. We start to appreciate each other’s differences. We find peace within ourselves; the one inevitable relationship we have to maintain!

Work from home!

It’s been a long time since I had an urge to write. To be honest, I am here today only because I saw the journal, and felt a wee bit guilty. The thing is that there is just no time. Or let’s put it this way, there’s plenty of time, but I just can’t manage it well. I want to do so much, and all of it all at once, it’s like god forgot to the basic planning  software in me. I want plants in the garden, with fairy lights entangled among creepers. I want every inch of the wall to be filled with sketches and every room filled with flowers. I want clean kitchen and neat cupboards (I also want this to happen magically by on its own). I want to play and swim, and go for long walks on the beach, have a cup of coffee while reading a book. It all is so idyllic. The trouble is, often when I would make myself coffee, I would be too busy imagining how idyllic it would be to sit in the veranda, reading the book and sipping coffee, to really get any time to read the book. Then the outside would be so distracting with crows on the tree and dogs on the street. Often, I would end up reading a couple of pages, without really taking anything in at all. I store movies on my hard disk, to watch when I have time. But when I do have the time, I spend it day dreaming, about all the wonderful things I would do. And the cycle starts again.

Maybe, next time, sometime, I’ll have something more to write about, than my rumbling thoughts…..