Verandah - As soon as we enter the main door, there was a verandah like space. The main door had rods on the top half so that we can see whoever it entering the house. When I was very young, I was very scared of the milkman by name Ramachandran for the simple reason that he used to sprinkle milk in sharp droplets. One afternoon when I was fast asleep, Amma and Paati went to a shop nearby locking me inside. I remember holding the verandah window railings and crying my heart out!
This verandah was generally used for leaving the slippers and one side where there was a passage leading to the stairs downstairs was closed by lot of junk stuff. On the other side corner was the kalli petti where the Golu dolls where stored. Our beddings and pillows were kept on top of the kalli petti. Any function at home, the chairs and Nayana room cot will be shifted to the verandah and we kids were asked to stay only in the verandah in case of devasams etc.
Hall - As a doctor was staying in this house before us, there was a wooden partition in the hall which divided the hall into – Nayana room and hall. Sabitha and I used to do a lot of artwork with chalk on the wooden partition on the hall side, but Sundari did some lovely paintings of Asterix, Obelix and Cacofonix on the Nayana room side. We were all great fans of the Asterix comics that we named ourselves after the five Gauls. Sujatha was Vitalstatitics, Sundari – Asterix, Jayshree – Cacofonix, Sabitha – Getafix and myself – Obelix. Only behind my name and Sujatha’s name there was a meaning. She was called Vitalstatics cos she is the eldest and I was called Obelix because of my figure
We also nicknamed ourselves as pancha pandavis, in the same order – Sujatha being Dharma putri and I, Sahadevi!
Amma’s afternoon nap was always in the hall near the entrance of the bedroom, so that she can have a view of anybody knocking the door.
Sabitha and I used to sleep with Paati in the hall. I always insisted that I sleep only in the middle as I was very frightened to sleep in the corner near the window. I remember getting very scared seeing the shadows of some movement in the next building on the wall in front of me.
The first room was Thatha room and we had two strong wooden chairs with a centre table for Thatha to meet his clients. I used to be fascinated when my sisters Sujatha or Sundari used to sit on Thatha’s chair (only Thatha’s chair and not the chair opposite which is meant for the visitor) and read books. I remember copying this when I grew up!
The telephone was also kept in Thatha room and when I was in eighth standard, I picked up courage to take the telephone number of my friend and call her one day just for the thrill of using the phone personally!
Nadu room - The second room was Appa, Amma’s bedroom was called Nadu room (as it was kind of in the centre) and we had a huge wooden bureau there with all our clothes. There was a dressing table in this room without a mirror and also a wooden laundry cupboard. The favourite hiding place for all of us was the small space between the laundry cupboard and the wall next to it!
Next to the hall was Swami room. As soon as we cross the hall, there used to be a small step which was wide enough to sit on! Most of the days Sundari used to sit there and have her morning coffee. There were huge doors between the hall and swami room and on either side of the wall, there was a small shelf like space. One side Paati used to keep sunnambu jaadi for Thatha and on the other side, we had our ink bottle, from which we had to fill up ink into our pens!
Kitchen was in the right corner of this Swami room. It was such a tiny kitchen, but Amma used to cook food on the medai and also have a stove on the floor for preparation of coffee etc. During rainy season, all of us used to sit in the kitchen for our meal!
Though it was called Swami room, only one almirah had Swami padams and the rest of the room was used as storage space. We used to have aatukal in the corner near the backdoor. Opposite the Swami almirah, there was a wooden bench with a line of aluminium dubbas filled with groceries!
During any festival time all special preparations were made in Swami room by shifting the stove there!
There was a wash basin opposite the aatukal near the other door leading to the back yard aka veli maadi.