From the house I was born in, to the apartment I'm staying today, there have been many houses I have called my home. All of them have given me unforgettable moments that symbolize various periods in my personal and professional life.
Vivid childhood memories
I was born in Thiruvananthapuram. We relocated to the family property near Ravipuram in Ernakulam, when I was still very young. Ours was a joint family in Ernakulam and most of our relatives stayed close by. My childhood was filled with incidents my cousins and I would create. My mother, who we used to call CID, used to sniff out all our naughty designs. I took my first steps into learning music when we stayed here. My father had passed away when I was 2 and its possibly because of all the memories associated with him that we haven't yet sold that house. I am still flooded by memories when I return to Ernakulam.
It is only when I got married at the age of 18 and went to Mohan's that a second house came into my life. His house was in Palakkad but because of my studies, I had to come back to Ernakulam soon after. The spicy Palakkadan food Mohan's mother used to make is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of that house.
From one rental to another
Once my husband got a job at the Apollo hospital in Chennai, our time of rental houses began. We came to Chennai in 1983, to a small house with two rooms and a hall. Shwetha was born while we were staying there. That house also became special to me and today I remember in amazement the big parties we used to throw for Shwetha's birthdays in that small house. Priyadarshan stays near that house now.
We moved to a flat off Sterling Road, next. A lot of my favorite songs, quite a number of awards, Shwetha's first words, all came while we stayed there. She had started going to school and she got admission at a nearby institution. An aunty called Padmam Ramankutty stayed next door and she used to babysit Shwetha and give my mother company when Mohan and I went to work. Such relations made that phase in life special.
Finally, our own house
We bought a house on Habibulla Road. I got a lot of awards at that time and that house had a nice energy. Later, when we felt a little constrained for space in that house, we moved to a bigger flat, converting two adjacent apartments into one 2600 sq feet duplex. I have a music room there to practice my songs.
When Shwetha had a child we made the move to live close to her. Last September we relocated to the three-floor building she stays at in Anna Nagar. We stay on the ground floor and Shwetha is on the second. Initially it was a little difficult to stay away from our house but soon we got used to the new locality and now it very much feels like home. The best thing is I can see my grandchild whenever I want to and play with her. Every evening, all of us get together at the roof garden on Shwetha's terrace, singing and whiling our time away. We have given our house on rent for the time being.
I am in awe of Dasettan's house in Chennai. He had also stayed in rented accommodations for the most part like me. That he didn't have time to build or oversee the construction of a house is the biggest reason. Its only been two years now since he built his own house. On one floor, his son Viju and his family stays, while Dasettan has one floor, with a third kept as common space. The interior designing and décor in the house is a sight to behold. Unni Menon's house is also one which I really like.
I am crazy about homes. I constantly read and follow books and TV shows on houses. I check out various interior designs online and overall, I like simple house designs and interiors. Our house is not very gaudy and has been finished with simple, yet elegant, interiors. When we travel, I keep a check on how different hotels do up their interiors. I like simple houses which are not extravagant and are clean. While Shwetha like contemporary houses more, I am a big fan of ethnic, traditional structures.
When I leave my house to begin music shows itself I get homesick. Sometimes, I start crying. No matter how many five star hotels you stay in, the comfort and happiness of being in your home is something else!
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