About a fifteen-minute drive from my house reside my relatives — distant relatives, but relatives nonetheless. And fine people too. Their residence is a sprawling, 78-year-old, single-storey house built in 1935 British India: a place oozing welcomeness and carrying an ambiance (of what appeared to me during the couple of hours I spent there) of serenity and distance, yet closeness, to the urbanity of Mysore city.
I admire and am excited by everything vintage — I’ll readily step into a time machine taking me back to Victorian England — and this little visit was no different. I am indeed very grateful to them for allowing me to invade their privacy and shoot their house more or less unrestricted.
A fine lawn covers most of the grounds around the place in which potted plants abound and a scatter of trees rise from down south. With glass doors opening to a cozy portico and a smaller, wooden one serving as the main entrance, the place oozes old school sophistication from the moment you step in.
It was luncheon hour and I hated to take anymore than half-an-hour but I found it quite easy to lose track of time once I was inside. And I hate to go on with words when I have a select few photographs I made there.
My intention was to portray the house as it was: practically, not idealistically. That meant I had to suppress the artist in me to climb, crouch, lay prone and shoot from awkward angles and instead shoot more descriptive pictures. Again, more practical and less artsy ones.
I could have turned the photographs inside out in post processing, but restricted myself there too. I hope I have done a better job of representing the near-century-old house than of digitally painting it.
Further, none of the rooms were set-up; I believe the house gets more life this way, if things are as they usually are in the middle of the day rather than being straightened out as if specially for a photo shoot. In any case, that is the way I prefer it.
The R.K. Narayan connection
Apart from the numerous old photographs, invaluable paintings, and nostalgic dolls pleasantly overwhelming anybody who walks into the living room was a little factoid that held my awe for long: this house was, apparently, where R.K. Narayan wrote one of his famous novels, The Guide. His room is pictured below:
The time I spent here was memorable (I rarely make photographs otherwise!) and I hope the beautiful place stands tall ad infinitum. ❖