The House on Rue François Martin

I spent quite a bit of time at the main house yesterday, just sitting around for the most part, but quite enjoying the spectacle of several workmen replacing the front door. The whole place is in a state of disrepair, since the ashram’s power-crazed wallahs won’t sort it out, but the door was particularly knackered after a break-in some time ago. My aunt decided to pay for the new door, and having accepted the job, it only two about five weeks of hassle to get them to start the job.
NOTE: Indian workmen rarely do the job they’re supposed to unless watched, constantly, while they do it. If you were to have a house built, you or a member of your family would have to supervise the workplace and the workers every single day to make sure it was done, and done properly. A door is no different.
Highlights of the job included the carpenter asking my father to borrow a saw, for he had none, the drill power cable’s bare ends inserted into the power socket, and the chief worker asking whether the house would be ok without the door on overnight. And these were the quality guys.
In between watching, I shuffled around the house, quietly taking pictures of it all, taking a really good look at things for the first time ever, noting how it differed from my memories and perhaps seeing things in a new way. In a way, the house is a trap – my eldest aunt has been an unmarried ashramite all her life and even now is being looked after in the ashram nursing home. My other two aunts who now live there don’t often leave the house, have great difficulty walking, and hence the upstairs is now closed up. The pictures reflect that side of the house… perhaps.
Update: photo essay now on main site – http://www.vishvish.com/story/tata-chemical

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