You haven’t heard from me in a while because I’ve been deeply immersed in planning our upcoming holiday. I’ve been devouring food blogs and travel blogs and I can just about taste the Char Keow Teoy and Mee Hoon. And then the Navy called to jolt me back from the future.
We don’t usually participate in Navy things unless forced to. That’s just how we are – we like to keep a low profile. Most wives my age have already been married in to the Navy for 10 years or so. Sometimes one gets hoodwinked in to doing things for the Navy Wives Welfare Association. Some people enjoy it because they like to feel involved (and plenty of good work does get done) and others like me stay well clear of getting hooked and sunk.
But last week I entered in to a competition for “Best Interiors” and “Best Garden” in the Navy. It smacked of housewife pride and the domestic goddess in me just couldn’t resist. My first forays in to Navy involvement brought some good things – we won 3rd prize for the best home interiors. So I thought I’d show off a little with some pictures of our beach house-esque Navy home. We are not home interior photographers but please wait for the pics to load.
The prize was a Rs.325 Loreal hair cream conditioner that I would never have bought for myself because it’s just too darned expensive. But I’m happy they gave me something I would use and not a crappy curio that would collect dust on my mantle and not match with anything we had. The DH, whose self made lamps and shelves were greatly appreciated and probably clinched a win for us, sadly cannot use said hair cream because of the hair “style” he chose a long long time ago – the marine one-blade buzz cut.
I’ve always wanted a house with arches – gives it a very Spanish feel. This is more like a Muslim inspired arch though. Note the original design for the Star Wars poster. This is the poster that was put up outside the old Dinakaran Theatre in Vellore that the DH remembers as a child in the 70s when the movie was released. The judges were impressed with the half moon shaped shelf that the DH built. We also scored points for our lighting; they liked the antique tripod stand with two holders to attach two cameras (at the edge of the sofa). We fixed two spotlights on to where the cameras should go, rigged up some wiring and a lamp was born They don’t make these anymore and things made long ago are incredibly heavy.
We may be the only house to have so many books (there are other book shelves all over the house) and a complete collection of every design of slide rules in the world, including a few valuable antique pieces. A slide rule is a kind of mechanical analog computer use for calculations from addition and multiplication to trigonometry and logarithms. We have linear and circular ones. The mirrored wall piece on the upper left side of the picture was bought from an antique shop in Conoor, Nilgiris completely broken and damaged. The DH painstakingly repaired the whole thing. The judges also liked that we don’t have art on our walls but instead most of the “art” is photographs that we have taken and framed.
Above is my favourite chair – the Planter’s chair. It’s called a Planter’s chair because it was commonly found on the porches and verandahs of tea estates. Underneath the long arms are planks of wood that rotate out in front of the chair on top of which you can straddle your legs. A more comfortable version of stirrups you might find at a Gyne exam. The rattan floor lamp we got from Coimbatore’s Seriies A shop in R.S Puram which deals in everything rattan imported from Indonesia. The floor cushion, shaped like a pyramid and was bought by my parents in Kuwait in the 90s. It’s got a new cover and I’ve sewn up its insides but it’s still in good shape, incredibly comfortable and is now where Abroozi likes to perch while we do our yoga.
Our latest acquisition is the white plastic lamp shade we bought at The Hindu lifestyle show in Vizag. It’s called a ZELight Lampshade originally of German design and is now being made in Hyderabad. They come in all manner of colours and what I love is the plastic rosette rivets that interlock many quadrilaterals together.
This is our bedroom and our other “cheap and best” latest acquisition – the cane chair. This is not only for comfort value but nostalgia as well. When growing up we had low slung cane chairs in CMC Campus homes which were unfortunately painted cream and red but they were super comfy. We bought this in Vizag near Diamond Park. With the mattress cushioning we paid Rs.3700 (including delivery).
Our interiors seem to have come together by happy coincidence. It’s very difficult to weed out old, crappy, past their day bric-a-brac (or as my mother- in- law calls them, Knick-nack-paddywacks) because of their nostalgic attachment. I prefer a house that’s not overly designed but lived in; and where everything has a memory attached to it. If they all co-ordinate together, the better for it. We have only recently acquired our knick-nacks. The DH lived in a Mess all his live so never had to set up house. When I left the UK I gave away all my furniture and lamps to Oxfam because I thought it was too expensive to have them all shipped back to India. But the main reason that I gave up all my possessions was because leaving London was my version of a Sanyas. I was determined to start anew and where I thought I was going, I didn’t need any furniture and “stuff”. So I brought very little back to India – after 6 years I came back with 2 cardboard boxes of books and 1 suitcase of clothes. Had I known that I was going to get married and set up house I might have kept a lot of my furniture. In a country where there is no Ikea, simple well made, no fuss furniture has to be made by a carpenter or bought at great expense. Or you are left with overly engineered, over designed ornate or heavily laminated crappy finishes. So often these days my Ikea staples are much missed. The only reason I support the FDI retail investment is so that we can finally get an Ikea! I know Ikea is often ridiculed for its cheap generic furniture but as we say in India – “cheap and best” zindabaad!
Then there’s the best view I’ve ever had from a house: