Saturday, July 11, 2009

Suniti's Colonial Bungalow

The "bungalow" as Californians use the term is a modest dwelling compared to the colonial-style bungalows of India. The word actually comes from "bangla" (Hindi for "Bengal style").

About ten of us arrived on Friday night to spend the weekend at Nita's mother's home in Lucknow.

Suniti Naresh Kumar has lived in this home for twenty years since her husband, Naresh Kumar, retired. He died a few years ago.

Because he worked for the police department, he was assigned to various cities in India and the family always lived in a "cantonment" or military compound, often started in the 19th C. by the British.

They also own a home in the Himalayan foothills near the Nepalese border.

Suniti lives in this home with 12 servants (the cook who also serves meals, gardeners, drivers, a person who does the laundry, another who irons, etc.). These employees and their 23 children live in several buildings behind the main house at the side of the property (see "Radha's House").

The home is filled with beautiful pieces of art, including some sculptures that are a thousand years old or more and originally were in a Hindu temple.

One enters the veranda and then the front hall with a large dining room on the left and a large drawing room on the right. There are four bedrooms (one with three large beds), 2-3 bathrooms, a sitting room and dressing room for the master bedroom, a small living room with a television, a kitchen, and an enclosed patio.

Behind the house is a large open patio with a swing hanging from a tree. The 3-4 acre lot includes an orchard, flower garden, vegetable garden, and many trees.

A few of the rooms are air-conditioned; others have large ceiling fans. Water in all the bathrooms is room temperature, which is pleasantly cool.

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