My life had so many nooks and corners once, so many places to hide comfortably for while – under the bed, behind the doors, in the false ceiling (that we would call kaar growing up). These spots came handy while playing hide and seek or luko churi. I would sometimes hide behind door and jump out just to spook my little cousins. Those silly fun filled days, when we would laugh and giggle for no reason and get excited at little things.
False ceilings or kaar were a different story altogether. These were not meant to enhance the décor, rather it was a necessary feature in our tin thatched roofed houses in Agartala. False ceilings were made of bamboo or wood. In most houses false ceiling was out of reach of little children. Old things that one didn’t have the heart to discard or items not used often were stored there.
My maternal grandparent’s house, however, had a sturdy wooden false ceiling. There was a ladder fixed to the wall in the storeroom to climb up to false ceiling or the attic if I may call it so. My mother’s grandfather used to work for the king of Tripura. We were told, things that the king gifted him were once stored in the attic.
As a curious little girl, I was drawn to the attic. I would often climb up the ladder and peep into the dark attic. Later, when under my grandmother’s supervision I was allowed to climb up, the attic did offer me several beautiful things. So many old books I pulled out of the attic that I spent hours reading on summer afternoons. I also got pretty little things like an old clock, a beautifully carved wooden letter holder, porcelain vase and other knick-knacks that are still valuable to me. Some I carried with me and they adorn my living room in Gurgaon. The rest are carefully kept in Agartala.
These pretty little things remind me of my childhood days with loving nooks and corners, when we would hide for fun, when we would hide to be found. For now, no matter I how much I look, I find those corners no more. We have box beds that we can’t get under, our doors are kept shut and false ceilings are meant to enhance our interiors. Sometimes I crave for a cozy corner that would hold me for a while!