A “Home Connect” Essay by Nandini:
“It was here when I had asked my mom if I could have beer in a beer mug and she replied ‘No, but you could have milk in a beer cup!'”
The Home is located in Ranchi, capital of the State of Jharkhand in India. The Writer is Nandini.
Her expectation from a ‘smart city’ is – “Creates a sustainable environment fulfilling the modern dreams as well as having a connection with the traditional well being of the place.”
Image Source – Kegworks
Read the story of Nandini’s home here…
Milk in the Beer Mug
The earliest vivid memory I have of this place is me and my cousin’s enjoying a bath one bright summer morning in a parrot green tub. My cousin brother trying to splash water with one hand on my sister while the other is engaged in pushing my face underwater. Being a 90s kid was fun in its own way and people had a ‘home’ which was more about family, the emotions, the fond memories rather than a fancy car or a comfortable sofa or a 42″ oled screen TV.
Everybody has a favourite spot in the house, might be the bedroom, the little chair in the study room, the sofa facing the sea. For me, the balcony of my house was my entire childhood. The was no ocean view or valleys complementing the house , but it was the balcony where I had built palace for the prince and princess with bedsheets and lamps, it was here where I had painted hundreds of finger paintings when I thought I wanted to be an artist when I grow up. I would be Sherlock Holmes and Watson both at the same time, holding a magnifying glass, trying to bring out the detective in me. It was here when I had asked my mom if I could have beer in a beer mug and she replied “No, but you could have milk in a beer cup!“.
The house was built in the year 1992, four years before I born. My parents were married that year and for my mom this was her new house in a very literal manner .Since balconies hold a special place in Bengali family , this 3m X 3.5m space was the ideal spot for the evening rendezvous, where the elders of my house would have their evening ‘cha- biskut’ and unlimited ‘golpo’. It had a an iron gate on which me and cousins would climb and move it to and fro. The balcony has the balustrade with balusters shaped like a flower bud or partially opened flower just like the traditional ones . With flower buds and bonsai arranged on the top of the railing it was beautiful. Two rooms overlooked the balcony and and the sloped tiled roof on one of them would be covered with saffron colored flowers during spring and the tiny frangipani tree by the window would make the entire scene so picturesque.
I remember my mom used to bring me up here to show the sunset and how the sky looked dreamy, different days different color – blue, purple, pink, red, orange, yellow, it was mesmerizing. I remember reading Tintin with my dad on Sundays. Watching my Badi Ma ardently, when she used to water the plants would be my favourite pastime and it would be treat for me when she would let me do it once in a while.
It seems like it was only yesterday when me and my cousins would sleep in the room scared of shapeshifters at midnight, my sister having her haldi ceremony in the balcony when it was decorated multi coloured buntings and white flowers, my little nephew being oiled and massaged before bath on the carpet. I remember being wondered how those little fingers would grab my fingers and hold on to it. It was here where I had started taking photographs of the garden, the flowers, the leaves, the insects everything! And one Holi when I had poured a bucket full of colored water from the balcony on my brother in law standing downstairs. How amusing it was!
And then one fine day when my parents gifted me a pup – the balcony welcomed its new mate. It was there where we had played, I saw him change from this tiny little puppy to a huge handsome German Shepherd. Every time I returned home from school it would be there, poking his face from in between the balusters, barking at the strangers moving on the road. He was my companion and the balcony his home. He would take sleep and eat only in the balcony even if the entire house was open to him.
The time I was leaving home for college, he was there his forehead legs on the railing watching and barking his heart out. And every holiday I would be visiting home things would be the same and little did I know that nine years later after I had made cot and bedding for my pup in the balcony, I would see him taking his last breath there itself. His eyes looking around at the people around him and then at the place where he lived all life and chased butterflies and sparrows. It was a peaceful end, at least that is what I hope. With the passage of time so many things change around you and evolve but there are few things which will always mean and matter you the most like they did and for me, the balcony was and will always stay my favourite.