Thursday, 21 August 2008

Making Homes out of Nothing At all

       As a newly wed bride, I certainly did not realise the ingenuity required to make homes out of different structures and material. As far as 'innocent me ' was concerned, you make homes out of minimum 3-room set-ups that exist in concrete- which is your personal space, sometimes thrown open to entertain friends!

     However, the first home that I stayed in for a month was in Jullundhar, at a friend's house, whose wife had gone on a month's leave. She had left the Separated Family accommodation (SF in the Armed Forces  parlance) for us, to join her husband at Field location in Leh, during the summer vacation. Except for the linen nothing in the house bore my signature. After marriage I guess you give in to the instincts of playing 'house-house', and relive that game of your childhood.  I decided to curb this feeling for a more suitable structure. ( You see, married accommodations were hard to come by in a peace station)

     As the initial month came to an end, we moved into something that seemed like a train of rooms with a door that opened at the front, and another such hole at the back.When there was no electricity supply during the day, you might as well have played darkroom. But I was determined to play 'house-house'. So the first cavity was given the semblance of a living room.The next in sequence, was a long hall kind of space, that was divided into two parts with the kind consent of a rickety old wooden almirah.This served as the dining space and our 'bedroom' respectively. And as you continued your amble from the front door towards the 'back-hole', you would come across the kitchen that was just a hop away from the bed.
    After a tiring day's work of trying to bring about some kind of order to the place on the day we moved in, we decided to crash in early. Every joint was aching and all the nerves were tingling. We could have slept like logs. But Heavens had other plans. It rained that night. Apart from making noise on the tin roof the rains felt like playing 'catch-me-if-you-can' with us. We were caught unawares when a steady drip on the bed woke us up. We were running around the place with little bowls and big bowls to hold the dripping roof, a bucket( the only one we had), a frying pan etc. All the suitable belongings were given a different role to play. After all how much do you really own in the first two months  of marriage!!

       I was happy. It was my home. I would scrub, clean and do everything required to give it a squeaky clean look( domestic helps were hard to come by and in anycase they were a lot smarter than me). In spite of all my efforts the place refused to relent and gave out a strange musty smell. It baffled me , challenged my training in household matters. However, it was short lived as we moved into another dwelling after a fortnight. Later I was told, the 'train- of- rooms' was a horse stable during the British rule. That explained a lot of things !!

The one I moved into after this was a cute two room set-up, with an orange tree right at the doorstep. It also boasted of a hanky-sized lawn . The kitchen was so tiny that it could accommodate only one person at a time. But I fell in love with this place. I still consider that my best home.

Frankly these homes start growing on me, and I tend to shed a few tears when its time to leave and start all over again, at some other place. After three months, we were once again uprooted and hurled into the exotic land of Leh. This time , the challenge came in the form of a 'tin- fibre-wool' one room shed. Considering the altitude and climate of Leh, the space alloted to us was cosy and snug. Once again a partition came up to demarcate 'kitchen' and 'living room-cum-bedroom-cum-dining room-cum-TV room'. Again I was happy to modify it into a cosy nook and ahem..ahem...people found the shed quite pretty. We were all living under the same circumstances i.e., in Juggi Jhopdi ( JJ Colony).  I was proud of my home. Apart from the aesthetics, I was the proud owner of a sink in the kitchen( courtesy , my husband's resourcefulness which was activated once I told him " I Will Not Wash Utensils In The Loo. Bring Me A Sink Or I GO BACK)

I guess vanity has to pay its price. When we were at our home town, enjoying the last few days of the annual leave, we got a call from one of our friends in Leh, " Hey! When you come back, get some more woollens and blankets to see you through the winter. Your house was burned down and I can still see it smoking".

I cried . I cried not for having lost our belongings in the fire. I cried for having lost my 'home'. I cried, for not being able to take my newly born girl to her home. I couldn't have possibly taken her in severe winters ,when the temperatures plunged twenty degrees below zero, without the basics. Yes, those sheds were fire hazards but it was my HOME.


  1. I feel really sorry for what you had to go through.. but quite a learning experience indeed!

  2. Believe me I have learnt to take a lot of things in my stride.They have been some of my great experiences.

  3. Some experience, that ! Excellently narrated with just the right undercurrent of humour running through.Reminded me of an old saying : " you live and you learn" !

  4. mikkie ba, i enjoyed going through each and every writing in this blog. you should compile them into a book, with a name as romantic as the way these stories have been told. and considering the talent that you are, i am sure you can come up with your own art work to grace the jacket of the book.

  5. thank you Piki! Am considering the option! :)

  6. Too good, Homemaking from an absolutely new perspective. Very original and heartfelt. Keep it up

  7. Heartfelt n heartwarming.Such sincerity of feeling, nothing contrived or artificial .Keep up Micky

  8. hey luvd this one too.....shall write on your new page.....somehow, my comments dont seem to register in this one :)))

  9. @Sonia Adappa Your comments do appear on my page after I moderate them! I think you have richer anecdotes :)


Your words keep me going :)