This is our Cloud House. To get to the Cloud House we climb the main stairs up two flights and walk across the terrace to the back. It’s our own little house with a loft for sleeping. It’s bright and cheerful and mosquito free! (Below is a view of our living room from the loft above.) V’s parents and his aunt live on the ground floor and his sister lives on the 1st floor with her husband and baby daughter. The Indian first floor is above the ground floor, the British system I think. The house was originally owned by Saras Auntie. The family hired an architect to renovate the original house on the ground floor, keeping the best parts – including the polished crimson floors with black inlay patterns, and to build the apartment and Cloud House above it. The architect has a reputation for ‘green’ building, sourcing local materials, and is known for her beautiful arched brick ceilings. She has also included solar panels for heating water and rain water reclamation
I call it the Cloud House because we can sit on the living room couch (which is also Ashwin’s bed) and watch the clouds through the top window of the opposite wall. In the evening around 7 pm or so, a massive colony of fruit bats flies low over our terrace. They live in the trees at Sankey Tank by day and all fly out in a great swarm in the evening. It’s a stunning sight. The tree outside of our bedroom window is in fruit, so we have been hearing the bats squawking and fighting with each other at night as they eat the fruit. During the day we have lots of kites flying overhead. I woke up from a nap with Ashwin the other day and watched a kite sitting in the palm tree outside. I think it’s building a nest – it flew low overhead today with a big stick in it’s mouth and landed in the same palm tree.
Gopal (Venkatesh’s father) is a great recycler. He has salvaged the extra wood from the old house that was renovated and hired a carpenter to make some beautiful pieces of furniture. The wood is old teak which is very hard to come by and it’s expensive. He keeps all of his old salvaged materials in his wood room on the terrace, (the other little brick house with a red tile roof). I love going in and looking at all his salvaged scraps; ammunitions boxes from World War II, an old camp cot, pots and pans, mirrors, lamp pieces and lots of other things not unlike the mystery utensil from my first post. Oh, and wood of course in every shape and size. He also has a ‘polisher’, a man who comes by and sands, fills, tints and polishes all of his old furniture and new wood creations. Venkatesh’s desk was once the old piece of furniture on the terrace that was piled high with wood scraps. I didn’t think it was even something worth salvaging, but it looks beautiful after polishing.
Ashwin celebrated Onam in school last week. He was told to wear white ethnic clothing to school and to bring flowers. They took the flowers apart and made beautiful patterns on the ground outside his school gate and inside his classroom. He LOVED the kurta/pajama and wanted to wear it to bed. He asked to wear it the next day too. He said it is ‘so comfortable Mummy!’