Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Queen of my castle

I read recently how Oprah is re-doing her home to become something much more personal than the show stopper homes she has had till date, that merely reflect the image of a super successful woman who has enough money to buy everything that she desires....and more! Well common sense  is often the last wisdom to impact us!  Personally I have always disliked overly "designed" homes that bear the stamp of statements and current trends. Instead I prefer interiors of homes to reveal the essence of the people who inhabit those spaces; where you discover glimpses of the personal and the private from the arrangement of things that reveal the unstated.

Practicality and functionality should determine the way a home grows. In accordance with this you add a pinch of whimsy and you will always come up with a winner! A home must also be inviting....where people who share your space understand the house rules and yet feel at ease with the easy spirit of the space. Too often untidiness and dirt are excused away as "casual" lifestyles. However a time comes when the dust and grime swallows one up and you are left (in a hot and dusty country like India) feeling overwhelmed and out of control. So my mantra is always keep the upper hand on time management and everything will run like clock work !

The trick to a beautiful home is not to try and imitate others, but to know what works best for oneself. The key to this is to make rules within a home that are related to routine,  and to remain consistent with this at all times. A home should never be a showpiece for others. However it shouldn't either be a private pigsty either! Small details that are dealt with in time avoid catastrophes and crisis management of the hair tearing type. Each day should hold a rhythm that makes personal sense to you.

Always remember the old saying that the grass will appear greener on the other side.....
So for example: a big house will be the great dream for somebody.
However the more space we have the more we accumulate!
Ok! Then a small space is the answer.
Well in such cases space management and order is essential!!
Basically it is all about adaptability and finding joy without over reaching or underplaying....

I have lived in all types of houses. From the huge palatial ancestral houses of my grand-parents, to the grand colonial bungalows of the air-force days to the rented one room abode of my student days.....and each of these places place holds special memories from the spirit of how they were transformed into homes.

I have had a match-box home and a studio that measured only 6 feet X 18 feet for ten years of my life, and yet I lived with the elan and joy of a queen in a castle! Today we have a six thousand square foot home within which I have my studio too;  not counting the neighbouring Collective Studio space, my mother's adjoining flat and Surendran's studio that is a five minute drive away from our home Sauparnika. All this requires my attention and yet the real essence  of our home and respective studios reflect a harmony of co-existence that comes from the way our home has evolved over time. Objects gifted by loved ones and stray memorabilia that hold personal stories evoke the real nature of whom we are as people. Scratches and scars on the furniture mark the history of existence.  The aroma of lemongrass oils and the fragrance of sandalwood or rose joss sticks are always percolating the air in our home. The glow of simple paper lights and the quiet tidiness of a room adorned with candles and fresh flowers at the entrance,  transform an ordinary day into holding the significance of family togetherness.

I am often welcomed in the morning by the heady fragrance of jasmines arranged in the living room by one of our spiritual children. Or greeted in the evening with lotus flowers bought from the market by them to decorate the dining table for dinner. It is these acts of love that embellish and bring grace and beauty to the aesthetics of a home.

Our furniture holds memories that are equally vivid to the bright array of cushions that liven our space, and both Surendran and I have our "favourite"chairs that everyone politely leaves vacant for us to cozy down in at night!  A home has to be much more than a cold design space with brand labels that impress. It must hold the imprint of your heart and only then will it sing the right tune to captivate and delight you each day.

So for any of you who are either shifting, renovating or planning a new space, don't try to make your home look like a hotel or match a photo-shoot from a magazine spread .....
Instead make it hold the charm of good taste from the experience of your understanding.  Understand who you really are and not what you imagine yourself to be, and allow this to reflect itself in your choices, because a home is really the mirror of your soul too.

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