Thursday, August 21, 2014

Reminiscing With Mom Part 2

I am back with Reminiscing with Mom - Part 2. My mom is very touched with all your wonderful comments and thrilled with the lovely responses to her first guest post :) 

Let the story begin Mom........

"Thank you so much for your kind words, I really appreciate it!

One's first home is always special and I am no exception. My first home was a temporary hutmentIt was an army barrack with four rooms in a row and a narrow veranda/patio in front. Hutments typically have mud walls. Also, there was no running water.  It is hard to believe, but we had to wait for almost three months to get the hutment :-). 

Initially, I did have mixed feelings. While I was happy to have our first house, I was also a wee bit apprehensive. I had no clue on how to set up a home. Growing up in my parent's house, I had become accustomed to any easy and comfortable life - one that didn't involve any household responsibilities.  I also had not been exposed to Army life and the accompanying protocols. To add to my apprehensions, I learnt that my anxious mother and brother were coming on a short visit. They were keen to see us settled in our new home. The whole prospect seemed extremely daunting.

However, my optimism prevailed. I let go of all the negativity in my mind. When I took a closer look at the new house, my attention was drawn to a lovely, dried up 12 foot tree right in front of the house. It had beautiful twisted branches and a shelf like table of sorts wrapped around the trunk of the tree. This sparked my enthusiasm. I hung two wicker lamp shades at different heights from the branches. I must say it was eye catching :) This look pleased me immensely and set the ball rolling. I was immediately geared up for the action ahead:) I convinced myself that setting up a home in an odd looking barrack could be a lot of fun!

We had some basic furniture in the house. Almost all of it, needed to be re-touched and painted. I really needed some additional seating in the living area. I put my thinking cap on and got a carpenter to make me two square seats using planks from the packing crates. I painted them and got bright pillows/cushions to go with them. With the seating issue solved , I was ready to tackle my next project or DIY in today's terms :) I created a book shelf to store my husband 's large collection of books. A major issue for me was not having curtains for the rooms.  We were new homeowners and short on cash :) There were no credit cards to bail us out 40 years ago:) However, we got lucky! On a road trip to Pune (India) we came across curtain material made of hessian or "burlap" as you call it! It was an absolute novelty in those days. Today, I am told burlap makes quite the fashion statement:) I think it looked quite rustic and chic. I believe it continues to have the same effect on the design world even today! I found them in attractive colors and with an affordable price tag. We chose two sets. The first one was a pretty green, and the other one was mauve.  I liked the unusual, yet striking combination :) In those days we all had a sewing machine at home. Therefore, it was not too difficult to get a tailor to rig up pretty drapes:) Once the drapes were put up, I was all set :)

Our first guests were my mother and my brother! I am sure they were surprised to see me in a completely different environment. Yet, I could see the joy on their faces to see me happy and settled in. They were pretty impressed with my handiwork :) The fact that our dwellings were temporary made them over look the other shortcomings such as the tin roof, rough brick floors and no running water!! Their coming made both of us really happy and they too loved their stay! Six months later we were allotted our permanent (a misnomer) accommodation! We actually felt awful at the thought of leaving our first home. Reality dawned on me and I realized that this was how my life was going to be! I had to simply accept this fact and happily move on! Changes are inevitable for all of us, but in the Army, the clock does tick faster! Our permanent  accommodation was a little bungalow. At the time, it seemed as if we were moving into 5 star accommodations :) The house came with polished stone floors, smooth walls, and concrete ceilings. We had lucked out :) However, in less than a year, it was time for us to move on and set up another home!"

Now that is a story for another day :) 


Thanks Mom! As we could not locate a picture of the first house my parents lived in, I asked my mom to draw a sketch from memory. Here it is...

Images: A waterlogue sketch of mom and me of a photograph taken on March 19th, 1975 and a sketch of my parents first home!


Aalayam Inspiration said...

Anu, you have stuck gold! Your mom is quite the writer and story teller - i could visualize her first mom via her words. how wonderful!

thanks again for contributing to Aalayam's 100th.


Lakshmi -Celebrations said...

this is beautifully written..i felt as though i was walking with your amma!

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