The Joy of Decorating in India
The sofa/curtain combination in my bedroom was looking a little drab, so my mother-in-law and I decided that we would do some re-decorating.
In general, I’m not a big shopper, but I loved shopping for the new upholstery and curtain material. In fact, I’ve always found fabric-shopping in India to be such a pleasure. Whether I’m looking for shawls to keep me warm in the winter, a sari (like the one I wore for my engagement), or new curtains, fabric-shopping is one of my favorite Indian experiences.
When you first step into the shop as a potential buyer, there is a little commotion as workers scurry to switch on the display lights, pull up chairs for you, and offer water, chai, coffee, or sweet lime. You describe what you’re looking for – red upholstery, for instance – and within seconds you have fifteen different styles of red upholstery laid out in front of you. You can then browse through the materials, asking to see as many other colors, textures, and patterns as you like, until you’ve found something that’s to your liking.
Since my mother-in-law and I were looking for a sofa/curtain combination, the fabrics were laid out in a special display for us – the sofa material laid over a sample couch, and the curtain material draped over a rod behind so that we could see the full effect.
After about an hour we had selected our fabric. We paid, and left with the promise that someone would be by in the next few days to take all of the measurements for the materials.
The following day we had two different men from the shop stop by – one to measure the sofas, the other the blinds. Two days after that, a whole crew arrived to begin working on the sofas. For the next six hours, there was a flurry of activity in our living room as the sofas were stripped, cushions were sewn, and the new upholstery skillfully put on. And two days after that, I was pleasantly surprised to come home to new curtains that had been fully installed in the two hours that I had been away.
We now have brand new sofa upholstery and curtains in the bedroom! It was a quick and painless process, and it didn’t put too big a dent in our pockets. Plus, I had fun decorating in colors and materials – like deep red and shimmery gold – that I probably couldn’t get away with in America, but that fit perfectly in our Indian home.