Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Family Life

  My Mom often described the life she led at her Grandfathers place as her father had decided to leave his motherless children at their ancestral home.
  This was pre-Independence and ladies were escorted in veiled tongas or horse driven buggies for social visits.If ladies desired new clothes, the shopkeeper came home with a large collection of saris and dress materials.The same modus operandi was adopted if they wanted jewellery.The Goldsmith carefully sketched the designs they wanted and home delivered the jewellery. Similarly the bange-seller and other vendors were a regular feature in the household.
Afternoons were spent doing embroidery or other artistic pursuits. The young girls embroidered bed sheets, table-covers for their dowry under the supervision of mothers and aunts . Evenings were spent reading or helping in the kitchen in the flickering lantern light. My mother was a voracious reader and enjoyed reading the trendy Chrandrakanta series of the day . Even later our home always had Hindi  and English magazines like Dhramyug , Sarita,Reader's Digest, Filmfare, etc and newspapers for us all.
Mom's  joint family lived in a huge Haveli or mansion with the mandatory courtyard , a must for ventilation and sunlight ,and the rooms opened into its sweeping verandahs.There were separate sections for men and women called Mardana and Janana respectively. The visitors were allowed only in the outer rooms reserved for them.
 Electricity came later and water was drawn from a well located inside the house.

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