Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The poetry of a South Indian living room

The poetry of a South Indian living room with its skewed symmetry and chaotic aesthetic. Where footwear is meant to be removed before entering and arranged in neat rows in the verandah. With the welcoming smells of curry leaves, garlic and coconut oil, and on special days - ghee. The faded sofa cover neither matches the cushion, nor contrasts it. Blouses, petticoats and trousers decorate the chairs around the dining table. The lady of the house enquires about the status of your stomach before asking after your health.

The wooden cabinet in the hall proudly showcases photographs and medals of the son - the swimming champion, snaps from the daughter’s graduation, and images of the grandparents’ black and white past. In a corner is a tiny picture of the balding father’s office farewell. The mother’s artwork fill the gaps - emboss and glass paintings, quick stitch, cross stitch and crochet.

The centre table is a jumble of newspapers (all of them The Hindu) and a few magazines.Weighing them down is a copy of Webster’s as thick as the Maami’s forearm. If the Maama is a fan of The Hindu crossword, then a copy of Roget’s Thesaurus too.

The television is flat and conscpicuously large. Under it is a DVD player; next to it is a music system; on top of it is a Tata Sky box - all four remote controls are covered in transparent polythene kept in place with coloured rubber bands. It was the Maama’s idea, “So what if it looks odd, as long as it serves the purpose.” An astute mind will know what the Mama said about the remote control was actually meant for the living room.

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