Friday, June 04, 2010

In Memory of a House

On the first of June, my mom handed in the keys to her government-provided house and moved into a private bungalow. Even though I am not there to see the move in person, I am feeling very nostalgic at the thought of never visiting that house again, or rather at the thought of Ayaan never visiting that house again. Because my mom moved into that house when I was still pregnant with him, so that is the only house he has ever known as Patti’s house. And what a house! For a space-starved city kid, it was a dream come true. My Mumbai flat could have easily been accommodated twice over in her front garden and that was not the half of it, because the back garden was even bigger!

I don’t know how much of this house Ayaan will remember as he grows so I am putting this picture post together for posterity…

Ayaan’s first visit there was at the tender age of two months, when I went to spend a couple of months of my maternity leave with my mother. I remember that the bane of my existence used to be the daily power cut that used to happen right in the middle of the hot August mornings. After days of sweating it out with him uncomfortable and clingy in my arms, we set up a folding bed under a low tree and hung some toys on it. The slight breeze was preferable to the suffocating heat inside the house and it kept swinging the toys back and forth, keeping him entertained for most of the duration of the power cut.
As he grew older, the toys had to be on the bed itself, since he would refuse to lie on his back
On his first trip, he also got his first haircut – an event that was held outdoors both from the perspective of the mess and to keep him entertained. It worked...
But when we repeated the same procedure for his mundan when he turned one, we had a screaming fit on our hands. It took the barber, my mother and me thirty minutes of wrestling with him to get it done and it was the longest thirty minutes of my life. (The picture below is the calm before the storm)
That’s why we decided to do Tarana's mundan much earlier, when she was too young to figure out what was going on and protest.
Not surprisingly, his favourite place to hang out was the garden and on hot summer days and cold summer evenings, it was quite a challenge to keep him indoors. Most of the time, when the weather allowed, he was generally mucking around…
But there were times when he took to doing dome ‘serious’ gardening as well. Tending to the potted plants...
watering the grass...
and supervising the other gardeners...
In addition to the plants, the garden was also home to a huge variety of birds – some residents and some visitors. Ayaan flitted between between fascinated by the sparrows who built their nest in the light fixture in the veranda, the peacocks and peahens who paraded through the garden in the mornings and evenings, the owls that came to roost in the bird houses my mom had put up in the trees… He also insisted on personally putting out the bird food every day that he was there…
Ayaan had great fun playing with my dogs. Dog actually since Beanz has never particularly given him the time of the day, except to snap and snarl if he got too close. But Buddy and Ayaan have had great fun together over the years. Or let’s just say Ayaan has had great fun and poor long-suffering Buddy has tolerated his attentions.

For his fourth birthday, he got a ‘swimming pool’ for his birthday so a daily splash in it has been an essential part of the Jaipur experience for him. I hope we can find a spot for it in the new house as well...
Ayaan has spent every single Diwali of his life in that house as well, all five of them. The first Diwali came around when he was still a babe in arms so he was dressed up in ethnic wear and lugged around to view the pooja and the fireworks.
On his second Diwali, he wasn’t overly impressed by the festivities. He didn’t approve of the attire, refused to sit in place for the pooja and found the clothes pegs on the terrace more fascinating than the fireworks show that my mom and maid gamely put up for him.
The third Diwali was less than happy. He picked up a horrible stomach bug and was very weak on Diwali day. He just hung around listlessly and watched us go through the motions.
The fourth Diwali was the first one that Ayaan really got into the spirit of things. He actively participated in the lighting of the fireworks and insisted on being the master of ceremonies at the pooja.
And last year, he went there for his last Diwali in this house. The big difference this time was that I did not accompany or join him but he had a blast anyway. And came back to find that he was no longer an only child :)

He also spent his fourth and fifth birthdays in Jaipur and the big garden was put to good use for his birthday parties.

And so it comes to an end. We shall miss the huge garden with its menagerie of animals (my mom had tortoises and a herd of monkeys paid us a daily visit) and birds. 

While we will no longer have a huge garden at our disposal, my mom has moved into a nice, spacious bungalow in a great neighbourhood and I think she will be very happy there. And Ayaan (and Tarana) will make a ton of happy memories there too. 


  1. i dont care much for flats/condominiums.

    they dont have the 'groundedness' of being a house

    great that she's still moving into a bungalow:-)

  2. This place sounds and looks more like a resort!
    When you move from a place you invariably leave some part of you there and take some part of the place with you... and it is so important to do that!

  3. I have visited some of my relatives who have lived in such govt quarters. The outdoors are simply awesome !
    I hope the move was not very hard for your mom :)

  4. Uttara4:26 am

    Sounds like such a great garden! Do you have pictures of the birdhouses?

    Am sure Ayaan will like the new house and garden as well because it's Patti who makes everything special :)

  5. the houses we have grown up in are so close to our hearts isnt it

    i was so sad when i parents moved from that to a different one

  6. oh this post comes at a time when my parents are thinking of moving out of their house in Baroda...I have so many memories of my childhood and R's first 4 months there...Guess this post made me nostalgic again :)

    - Beautiful blog....
    - Women are so attached to memories na?
    - I wonder if men ever think this sure they don't :b

  8. Lovely pics of the brat. And of Beanz and Buddy.

    Sure Ayaan and Tarana will love the new Bungalow too. After being in a Bombay flat, how could they not love a Bungalow ? Plus it will have Patti there to spoil then silly.


  9. the house sounds soooo fab. oh well, they'll have fun as long as patti's around, whether the house is a grand ole mansion or bungalow :D

  10. Such a wonderful post, Rohini. May your mother enjoy this new phase of her life in her new house. I'm sure she's looking forward to all of you visiting her once she's settled in.

  11. [mim] I so agree. My Mumbai brats will only get to experience that when they visit their grandparents

    [Uma] Resort? Only the garden is lovely. The insides are standard issue crumbly and old government accommodation

    [CA] She really likes the new place. I think I am feeling more sentimental about this than she is :)

    [Uttara] Nope, no pics of the birdhouses. Just the standard ones with a little hole and a perch.

    [Monika/ R's Mom] I never grew up in any house since we moved around a lot. But I get what you mean.

    [Gayatri] Jai read your comment and said 'Nah. We don't'. Guess that is one mystery solved :)

    [Zen/ Mona] True. That they will...

    [Dipali] Thanks, Dipali :)

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  13. sigh! which is why I sometimes wish civilisation hadn't developed so fast. Hope your Mom and you guys have a great time in the new bungalow as well.

  14. This made me so nostalgic. *sigh*

    I'm glad your mum had the place long enough for Ayaan to have strong memories of it, at least.

    BTW, *except to snarl, not expect.

    Am feeling extremely nostalgic for our Vizag house these days. Happens every guava season.

  15. such a lovely post.. i love your photo posts
    reminds me of my ranchi home(s)

  16. lovely lovely photo post! :)

    and yes, its the paati that mkaes every house home! so am sure Ayaan and taraana will have an awesome time in new house!

    and yes, the ghar sounds absolutely fantabulous! :)

  17. I believe the garden is one amazing thing from the entire post... and I guess being from a city, that is something each of us craves for!

  18. Awwww! I hope that Paati's new house will create loads of fond memories for the kids too. No, wait!! I KNOW it will!!

  19. Wah...wah...real cute babies and nice pics tooo...:) ..nice passion .keep it up..belated happy Bday to him..

  20. Rohini - Just catching up on the last several posts. Whew! I missed a lot! You've been a busy lady. I thought of Ayaan on his birthday--give the big boy a squeeze for me. (I keep thinking of Jabin as 5 already, even though it's still six months away. He just keeps ACTING five, you know?) Anyway, I'm glad to hear that you are all healthy at the moment, and I know it won't be too long and you WILL make those great memories at the new house!


  21. [Choxbox/ Itchy/ Abha/ Being Pramoda] Thanks :)

    [JLT] Seriously! This big city life has some major drawbacks...

    [Sue] Oops, the Sue is here with her red marker *runs away to correct mistakes*

    [Athira] Oh yes, it is all about the garden

    [CeeKay] I'm sure they will :)

    [Talena] Hi ya! Nice to see you in these parts. Can't believe Jabin is going to be five. Where did the time go???

  22. Preeti11:12 am

    Hey, had posted a comment earlier... guess it got lost in cyberspace. Anyway, made a combined comment abt last few posts:
    1) Glad that everyone's doing better.
    2) T looks adorable in pattu pavadai. Kudos for carrying off entire visit smashingly (too Enid Blyton??)
    3) Ayaan is one lucky boy to have experienced all these lovely things in his own (grandma's) backyard. Esp for someone coming from space crunched Mumbai. Hope ur mom's new place provides similar memories for T as well :)

  23. While I am here... you do know that Ayaan was the most adorable baby, right? Just look at those cheeks.

  24. A lovely post! And I understand the sentiments so well.

    Four years ago, while still preggie with the YO, I visited 'my house' in B'lore for the last time with the EO, just before the parents sold it and moved to Cal to be with us.

    Your post brought back tons of memories!

    Cheers to a happy house-warming for your Maa!

  25. What a lovely house. Glad ayaan got to enjoy it at least for some years

  26. Ro what a lovely place for a little boy to go to. When Srin and Tani were small , they used to live for visits to Ma's house and the huge terrace she had with her plants and flowers and the dogs and birds . Every child should have these memories .And what a lovely idea to capture them all in the post :)

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