Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The White House

So while driving around a circle in South Bangalore, I came face to face with this gorgeous old white house. I kept remembering its beauty. Then one day I returned here, sat in my car and drew it in my sketchbook. 

Then another day while buying some fruit in front of this place, I saw a young woman come out of the gate. Since she had a friendly approachable face, I called out to her and showed her my drawing in my phone. She took me inside and introduced me to her mother.

Once you enter the compound it is a different world. You leave behind urban Bangalore and enter into a time capsule which is a remnant of British Colonial times. There is a distinct change of energy and you feel you are moving back several centuries.

Unlike many old colonial bungalows which have been converted into hotels and boutiques, this home remains unchanged. It was almost reminiscent of entering into the Bronte House I visited somewhere in England a long time ago. The couple who owned the home, Ranoo and Umraz where gracious enough to show me the rooms. The floors were slate, there was a narrow spiral staircase, the dining room was like a setting from an old English story. I hardly wanted to remove my phone and brazenly photograph the surroundings of this gracious couple, so I waited until I was taken to the open space beyond the kitchen.

This house once housed Home School, which is pretty much where most girls in South Bangalore studied.

Ranoo and I chatted for sometime in her cool verandah. Connections were made of course. If you've lived in Bangalore since the 70s then everyone knows everybody else: Ranoo's teacher was my neighbour.
Ranoo told me that those who are familiar with Home School would remember the Cherry Tree in the courtyard. While the old one did not survive, a new one was planted in its place which you can see here in the picture below. 

I was told how Ranoo would hear people walking past this house wonder aloud why the owners had not "developed this space", i.e. built a towering apartment block.That might be an inevitability to old structures such as these. They are staggeringly difficult and expensive to maintain. 
What more can I say but conclude that I consider it a blessing to have been allowed to look inside this garden and this beautiful house and to have enjoyed this moment for what it was. 


Shikha said...

Such a lovely tale. Glad to take a tour of their home through your eyes :)

Priya Sebastian said...

Thank you Shikha, and thank you for leaving a comment :-)

SSNarayan said...

Dear Priya,
Thank you for this post . It makes me so happy to see this place still untouched.I used to always wonder about its residents. 18 years back, when we were dating (ahem!) I would ask my (now) husband to drive through this area often, just to see this house! He is an old-time South Bangalorean, and used to call it Home School.I called it my dream house. We would park, walk around Krishna Rao Park once and then depart to the darshini nearby , tired after all that exercise :))).
South Bangalore is my favourite part of Bangalore and it looks beautiful in your pics and sketches.


Priya Sebastian said...

Thank you for your comment. I am very happy when I learn that my posts have touched someone in the way you describe. Old houses in this city always evoke so much nostalgia in Bangaloreans. I am glad to have you share your memories with me here. I totally comprehend why you would call it your dream house. I always drive around the circle with a sense of anticipation and when I make the turn and the house comes into view, I slow down, pause for a moment, look at this house and drive on.

Aarthi said...

What a lovely post. Your illustration is so beautiful

pRiyA said...

Aarthi, thank you :)