Tuesday, January 20, 2009

" 'Home' wasn't built in a day."

Post by: Beth

One of the most difficult parts in the beginning, for us anyway, about living in India was literally... living in India. We stayed in a hotel for a couple of weeks upon arrival, until we'd had time to look at apartments and pick the one we wanted for our stay. Once we found the proper apartment, it was time to move in (what an adventure THAT was!) and actually furnish it. It was essentially just a shell to start with -- exposed light fixtures, stickers still on windows, no kitchen cabinets initially, etc. Making our home here was quite a bit of work and we pretty much devoted about a month to making our apartment actually FEEL like "ours."
Many stories along the way are really comical. Things are just done differently here when moving into a new home, and you really have to drop all expectations of what you're used to in America... otherwise, you'll just suffer, and badly. Most of you probably saw the blog post about the internet "installation" that took place from our living room window. I'm not kidding when I say that this is how many of the processes went after our move. For example, a guy came to hang our bathroom light one day and after his installation, he motioned me into the bathroom to inspect the job. I flipped on the light and to my surprise, the light flickered constantly... on, off, on, off, on, off. I looked at the worker questioningly and he nodded his head from side to side, smiling with pride, asking "thik hai???," which means "ok???" in Hindi? I shook my head and said "No thik hai," and opened and closed my fists rapidly, to signal a flashing light. He said "on, off, on, off??" I said "Haan" ("yes" in Hindi) and he promptly began the re-install. Luckily, it went better this time and his proud smile was actually warranted. This was my daily routine, more or less, for about 3 weeks. Raja finally took to standing over and actually watching them do the job on the weekends .. literally just standing and watching and making sure no one left until lights didn't flash, curtain rods were hung straight, and cabinet doors actually opened and closed.

Eventually, little by little, the major things got marked off the list. We now had our kitchen cabinets and drawers.. we had curtain rods and light fixtures.. we also had proper living and dining room furniture. Then came the fun stuff... We spent hours and hours scouring art galleries, climbing over dusty antiques in Chor Bazaar, picking out the softest towels we could find in Shopper's Stop, communicating in broken Hindi & English in plant nurseries, drawing furniture plans, picking out wall hangings in home shows... And finally, things started coming together. We'd scheduled a major repainting of the walls and trims since so much furniture had come in and out, and the painting got done while Raja was visiting Delhi and I was still in America. So when Raja got back into Bombay, he did some last minute finishings by buying more plants, having the final drapes hung, making sure all of the artwork and hangings were hung, etc. When I got back and saw our apartment, it was much less a work-in-progess and actually felt like a real home! It looked like a different place and it's so nice to come home to now.

Since everything is finally all set (for the most part), we wanted to take some pictures to show our family & friends where we live. We still laugh about some of the things, all in good fun, but overall, we're really happy with how our work paid off. :)

Above: living room

Curtain pattern in living room windows

Art that hangs over the couch

Dining room area ... it's connected to the living room space

Bamboo is really easy to find here!

Kitchen... very traditionally Indian. Every cupboard, shelf, etc made by hand.. sloowwllly.. ;)

Hallway sink.. note the swan figure on the mirror. This must be quite popular in India, as the landlord was so proud of the "fancy mirror" that was installed here. We laughed, but it's not so bad once we're used to it. It sort of grew on us! ;)

Curtain pattern in bedroom windows


Big Cuz said...

First, let me say... I love it all and I am so glad it has finally come together for ya'll.
second, I love all the fabrics... they are absolutely gorgeous!!
third, if when you finally get back to the states, and are really, reaally wanting some bamboo... it is not that hard to find in my backyard... Just let me know :)

Beth + Raja Gupta said...

good to know i can just come over and dig some up! ;) never woulda thought it!

i love the fabrics too.. thanks! i'm going to miss these fabulous fabric and drape stores when i'm back in america!

Rhett and Jana said...

Looks good!

The Freeman Family said...

Finally some posts. I love the Taj Mahal pictures and your apt is gorgeous. Nice of them to finally finish it for you. Where is the next stop on your globe trotting map?

Oh yeah, I saw you at Iron Works when you were home talking to Daddy and I yelled when I realized it was you but you had already turned around. Anyway, a belated hello!

Laura said...

Love the apartment! It's beautiful! I wish I could find drapes like that here! Decorating is so much fun! Miss you but glad you have a pretty place to live!