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   I am sometimes invited to people's houses where their drawing-room is as large as the Oberoi's Regal Room. (June 19, 1998)

Well, almost as large. And it is filled with things, sofas, divans, chairs you can sink into and find difficult to get off, large tables, small tables, antique tables, coffee tables, coffee table books on various esoteric subjects and places, a music system that can blast the place off, and a variety of objects d'art, crystals, ceramics, ivory, ash-trays made out of Belgian cut-glass, flower vases, flowers.

It looks very grand and half the time the guests at the party are telling one another: "What a great house! Really, what a great house! How well she has done it!"

Why 'she', I have not understood. The credit is always given to the wife, when the husband may very easily be the one with the artistic mind and taste. Though nine times out of ten, it would be some interior decorator at Mahim or Bandra.

The object of this piece is not to describe these drawing-rooms, or envy people who have them. My point is, what do these people do with their grand drawing-rooms when there is no party on?

When there is a party on, it is most appropriate. "Why go to the Regal Room when I can accommodate everybody here in my humble house," the host would say, not too humbly but quite correctly. And you can see it also, the guests have fit in in various nooks and corners, on sofas, carpets, arm-rests, talking to friends, strangers. At least five of them, at any given time during the party, would be saying simultaneously: "What a great place to have a party!"

But what do they do when there is no party on? I mean, I cannot visualise a drawing-room like this, say in the morning, with the host sitting in his pyjamas and reading The Economic Times. On which particular sofa in which particular corner would he sit, or would he sit in the centre of the room, or would he be changing his seat every day, which would mean making decisions every day?

And where would they be having their evening tea, and who would be carrying it all the way across the room? And if the wife is in the bedroom, or in the kitchen (no, she would not be in the kitchen, they would have servants there), how would she call out to her husband who would be at the other end of the football field of a drawing-room?

And children and dogs in such a house, with all those objects d'art, are out. Children and dogs have a tendency of picking up things and dashing them to the ground, with all the strength at their command, or swiping things off with their bushy tails, respectively. No, I think it would be very unwise and inappropriate to have a drawing-room

like that. So, if a fairy were to come to me and offer me a drawing-room like that, would I accept or not? I would accept.

 
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