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Setting up a home

By Nickunj Malik - Jan 25,2017 - Last updated at Jan 25,2017

All of us have our unique stories about setting up our first residence. With our partners, that is. In my generation, it usually happened after we got married and moved into a rented place, which had to be turned into a home. It was a daunting task, made more challenging because of the sheer lack of funds.

Now that I look back, I was completely clueless about a lot of things. I had no idea, for instance, how much was the cost of a bed, a dining table, a refrigerator or even a lounge seat. My spouse was not much better at gauging this stuff either. Both our sets of parents had provided these amenities earlier, and we never got around to asking them how they had procured it all. 

My banker husband’s salary, which seemed a lot on paper, vanished faster than soap bubbles when we started spending it. I was aghast at how expensive everything was. In order to pace the expenditure, I decided to make a priority list and did my best to stick to it. Every month I would buy some essential furniture items and postpone the rest to a later date.

For lack of space, because our lounge area was quite tiny, I had bought a round dining table with four chairs only. I had to bargain a lot with the shop assistant for this, because the entire set came with six chairs, and they were not willing to reduce the price of the two chairs that I was not buying. I managed to convince them finally and was rather pleased with myself when they handed me a refund. 

To shelter the top wooden surface from scratches, I needed to protect it with tablecloth. I had recently seen an advertisement in a magazine where a beautiful red-and-green chequered cover, adorned a rounded table. I made some enquiries, and along with my friend Rano, paid the store a visit, clutching a cutting of the journal, in my hand. 

But once we reached there, we were told that they did not have that particular item because they had stitched it only for the magazine photo-shoot. Rano had selected a raw silk lampshade in midnight blue, which also they had run out of. This information outraged us, and my friend and I quarrelled with the management, pointing out their unprofessionalism, and walked out in a huff.

A week later, I got a call from the same shop. The manager apologised profusely and said that he had specifically got a tablecloth, with the exact dimensions that I had asked for, made for me. A brand new pair of the lampshades that my friend wanted had also arrived. He asked us to go to the shop at the earliest and collect the things.

We rushed there immediately. My tablecloth was for fifteen hundred rupees and Rano’s lampshades were for three thousand! We almost collapsed when we heard the amount because those were huge sums of money thirty years ago. Somehow we cleared the bill and went home to explain to our respective spouses.

“A tablecloth for one thousand five hundred rupees?” my husband hollered. 

“But Rano’s lampshades were for three thousand,” I clarified. 

“Our dining table cost two grand, right?” he asked 

“Including the chairs,” I agreed. 

“We need to put this tablecloth in a showcase,” my spouse exclaimed. 

“Rano paid three grand for her lampshades,” I reminded. 


“Put those in the showcase too,” my husband retorted.

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But what fun it is to put together a nest twig by twig! We started with a trademark black fauji steel trunk, with a kerosene stove and a few utensils and a VIP suitcase containing our "more valuables", ie clothes.
Much to cherish though in the end product, probably more than had we inherited a walk-in mansion.

And so uncannily timed is your column in the subject. Just recently I added that classic song - ye tera ghar ye mera ghar kisi ko dekhna ho gar.... to my collection,when listening to it, the import of the lyrics hit a chord deep down.

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