Home Diaries: A Life in Color

Nothing ordinary can lie behind a green and purple door.

When we were led in through the enchanted gate at this Delhi home, it was a window into another world. We were still in the dusty capital city, it was still a sunny Saturday morning, with its sounds floating in the air, somewhere in the distance.

But not in here, among the dancing creepers, the pebbled walkway and stairwells leading up and towards everyday life.

Aditi Prakash of Pure Ghee Designs, and her husband, film-maker Sudhesh Unniraman, have created a space in the city that reflects not just their minimalist (and colorful) taste, but allows them to be inspired by its environs in their individual crafts. There are no cluttered walls, no curio heavy corners. Each and every item in this beautiful home has a story, a function, an expression in and of their lives.

As you walk past the little plant grove at the entrance, the veranda opens up with a sense of limitless space and is an extension of their philosophy to bring the outside in. Aditi admits having struggled with choosing between a large living room and the current form of the open veranda leading to a comfortable, closed seating space. We, for one, loved their final choice! Many a glorious hour could be spent sitting at the table, sipping some chai and musing on life, with their pet dog Gulab and the singing mynahs for company.

Once indoors, the stories begin to unfold…of the kathwa stitch cushions from Jharkhand, the brightly colored paper hangings from Kerala (used as Christmas decorations in the state, and picked up during Aditi’s visit) or the thin metal figurines from Bastar in Chhattishgarh.

Reminiscing on her days at National Institute of Design (NID), Aditi recalls being called a junkyard Queen by her father, as she would return home for holidays with all forms of items from the garbage that she knew she could put to some use. These included typeset alphabets that now sit pretty under the transparent glass of the center table in the living room.

A ‘Tree of Life’ Gond painting decorates the walls downstairs while a fascinating piece, by Aditi (she trained as a fine artist before heading to NID) titled ‘Universe Lies Within’ adds to the serene ambience of the master bedroom upstairs with its four-poster bed and plain white walls.

Conversations float in and out of the kitchen when friends are visiting, in line with the Arabic verse printed on the ‘dastarkhan’, a traditional table cloth that Aditi picked up in Pune. It denotes an invitation to those gathered to join together in the meal.

For this Hyderabad girl, setting up home in faraway Delhi had seemed a daunting, nervous task. But when they found an inspiring community of designers and artists in this neighbourhood, including Madhu Shankar, the architect of this home, the decision was almost made for them.

Being able to set up her studio and her husband’s workspace here (with its unparalleled advantage of not having to travel everyday for work), they are happy to have ditched plans of living in an apartment in Gurgaon instead. And aren’t we glad about that!

– Text & Images by Manika Dhama