The Vanishing Veranda And The View

“There’s a special feeling you get on a veranda that you just can’t get anywhere else”.

-Haruki Murakami

Mere thought of certain places does evoke a strong sense of emotion in us. Veranda is one such word, which comes from the Hindi and Urdu word ‘Baranda’ meaning ‘’roofed gallery’, open on three sides for maximum circulation.

The ‘Veranda’ of my grandparents house has been an indispensable part of my childhood memories and growing up years that makes me all the more nostalgic every time the mere thought of it crosses my mind and as the thoughts relocate themselves to relive and cherish those moments.

Strolling down the memory lane, the yearning to revisit this grand entrance of my grandparents house makes me crave for the times gone by as I feel, I have been deprived of it for so long now. But memories of this sacred space are still so fresh and crystal clear.

The two pillars in the centre supporting the Veranda and two side pillars acted like two sentries on duty.

The veranda offered me a world to view. There were times when this architectural marvel was all about coming and bonding together of families and friends. As it played a pivotal role for social gatherings and functions.

Call it an architectural genius or an invention, this space in the household catered from the classes to masses. If summers of childhood were symbolic of earthen pots placed in the veranda then monsoons were all about the chai-pakora sessions in this comfort zone.

Soaking the sun along with the jars of pickles laid in the open was a sight to behold. The blanket of warm memories of the winters was all about savouring the sunlight with peanuts.

A versatile veranda not only hosted it guests warmly with open arms but witnessed many festivals and seasons and gave us an unfiltered view of all .

The family chitchats and the calls of the street vendors was all about delightful rendezvous. Many times the sole responsibility of holding the hill feast called ‘dham’ came entirely on the shoulders of this versatile veranda.

From the first ray of the sun to the moonlit starry night skies, from the first raindrops to chilly winds of winters, hustle and bustle of the day and night, the versatile veranda has always been a connect between the inside and the outside world .

Once symbolic with growth and abundance, as the success of a household was solely measured and depicted by the arrival and presence of the visitors or guests at the veranda.

The veranda of my grandparents hill house has always been an apt example of transitional space. As this revered entrance has played a vital link between the private and public life. Merging the house with the street it has kept the sanctity, security and safety along with privacy and decorum of the house intact.

This entrance of the house has long been a merging point between the known and unknown worlds. From breaking the bread to breaking news, the veranda at my grandparents place always served the purpose. Always welcoming guests, visitors, acquaintances or strangers with open heart and arms .

The nostalgia of childhood memories spent at the grandparents house is all about laziness and leisure surrounding the veranda of the house, which now has a bleak future, as promises to keep it intact, dwindle.

The veranda is almost on the verge of vanishing and this crumbling structure of the house gives in to the demands of a face lift, so erasing this versatile structure would be the first step towards the makeover. As huge monstrous structures have already overshadowed the significance of this simple yet profound place.

Though some villages houses still retain this old world charm and connect through the veranda life, the city life is all about choking and strangulation of spaces in the name of privacy and safety concerns.

The dust and overburdening by the concrete modernity of times and requirements, paves way for urbanisation in the form of a shoe rack, some sacks and many bags, making the state of these verandas miserable.

In the name of space crunch, flexibility and elasticity of versatile verandas has been put to test. Thus converting and restricting them into so called utility spaces, glass-grill rooms or store rooms.

Verandas have been the indispensable and most accommodating part of an Indian household and has played a connecting link and a pivotal role from centuries, whether it was to greet and meet the special ones or to confine the garrulous ones at the threshold.

As the old order paves way for the new, the versatile veranda have been either overshadowed or overtaken by the swanky glass rooms or masked in the name of privacy or safety. Thus catering to the ever rising and never ending needs of the human race .

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