“Why do you need furniture?”, he asked, nonchalantly. “What do you mean by that? Of course we need furniture. I have grown up with art all around me, aesthetically placed sofas and chairs, neatly carved wood, miniature paintings, silk curtains with chain stitch… and so on. Want to feel this place is home. Warm, beautiful and artistic”, I rattled off anxiously. After all, it would be the first time I would ‘do up’ the interiors of my own space.
A couple of days passed. Reading, writing, spending hours at length by myself as Arun went to work. It was nice – calming and therapeutic. Few days down the line, I asked him again, “So when do we start and how? Should we figure out what all furniture we can get from Delhi. The Kashmiri walnut table would be nice to start with.” “The labour union will drive us mad. It is too expensive and complicated. We will see,” he grunted.I was surely irritated, but then sort of settled my mood soon. What would I do sulking anyway. I didn’t know how to go about this. Thought its best to leave this topic for a while and re visit when the air is cooler.
House work started becoming more and more fun. The mopping, brooming, cooking and dusting was playful. The place was bare, it was easy. Nothing to move around, go under or behind! No precariously held crystals or art pieces that cost a fortune and that I would fear breaking. No unnecessarily imposed sentimental values attached to any objects either. Weeks passed by as we ate on the balcony floor, in a perfect cross legged posture, watching the palms sway and the sky change colours. “Life is truly beautiful,” whispered day in and day out.
Each time we stepped back into the flat, post some outing, all that would come to my heart was, “What a blessing the space is.” The breeze travelled unobstructed on pleasant summer evenings, through the hall into the bedrooms and kitchen. There was no need for any air conditioner. The ‘cold front’ came now and then. Never imagined I would need to switch the fan off in Kerala due to a nip in the air.
Several weeks went by, we also had some travels by now. The thoughts of doing up the place a certain way that I had imagined propped up in my head now and then. Somehow, I didn’t pay much attention to them anymore. These thoughts felt rough, heavy and nagging. I just left them.
In course of some conversation regarding the flat, Arun asked me again, “You need furniture?”. I laughed, “You are such a good teacher. You know, I love it like this. It was just my conditioning speaking, I figured. Those ideas about furnishing the flat etc seem so heavy and unnecessary now. I am loving living like this. The flat is easy to clean, uncluttered and calming. The fantastic ventilation and the magical views as we eat dinner, in ways that would keep us fit and flexible, are perfect. Really, it is awesome. I do not need to ‘do up’ anything. The empty hall is great for dancing, painting, yoga… fun – that is what I do when you are at work. Sorry, it was such a pain when I was stuck at that one.” We had a hearty laugh together.
I felt so free. A huge weight, which I unknowingly imposed upon myself, was lifted! This is just about furniture and doing up a house. Imagine, how many more useless yet heavy conditionings bind us for no reason.