Monday, October 29, 2012

A Picture on the Wall

There are a series of serious lectures by Virginia Woolf under the title A room of One's own wherein she says that that there are not more women writers for to write one needs a room and money..........
to my understanding ... Implying that women have less independence and more duties, to devote much time to creative writing.

A Room of her own by Chris Cassen Madden, is one of the books I have taken.  from the Lexington library. It has pictures of stuff I could drool over. Lovely arty collections, murals on walls, pottery. She says that every woman must claim a room or a space in a house as her own. She must decorate it with things she likes. That would give her peace, confidence and a perception of self-worth.

A large side table with an assortment of odd shaped urns and pebbles collected from river beds.
This here is a room corner boasting of cane stuff -2 chairs, a basket, a box, 4 containers, wall pieces, and a partition, all made of cane.
This over stuffed room has pictures, letters, cards, nest with eggs, horse-shoes, antique boxes, painted stones, a miniature chair and a sedate buddha!
This dainty pouch perches on the table tied with a string of beads .... oooh

I like the thought that a woman can claim a part of the house as her own. This thought is new to me.
Women in India are taught to be self-effacing.
Be strong within. Your beauty is within you.
You do not need material presence around you to make you happy or peaceful.
The entire house is yours. Why do you need a space for yourself?
This is what we grew up to believe.
In most Indian homes, the only space that one can really claim is a picture on the wall. Now nobody would bother to remove that picture!
Come to think of it... Perhaps the Indian woman claims the kitchen as her space. This is her claim to individuality and creation. And that is the cause of the perennial Saas-Bahu skirmish?

I am beginning to imagine. A space of my own.... to decorate and keep ... as goofy as I want it to be!



  1. Hi, nice article! I actually agree and dis-agree. Having a room just for an individual is hard.. I mean it need not be for the woman, i guess even men have similar cribs. Their creativity in typical large families becomes how to resolve the saas-bahu issues and how to tackle this month's budget! So, I guess if there is a creative person in the house who sees pleasure in writing or painting, he/she will need a place one is comformtable at.. people paint on streets, in the circus and write in malls.. so I think it really depends on how many people start commenting or disturbing you if you do your art/writing in the living or dining space.. I remember Akhila and you sitting for hours together reading, forgeting the rest of the world, right in the middle of the house :)

    And for the goofy house.. I think you had that too.. hehehe

  2. I disagree. You have yourself given sufficient reasons why Indians do not claim a part of house only but advice to consider the whole house as there's. I like more of this thought. It is more a thought that keeps connected with others rather than this typical American thought that differentiates and makes you more selfish. When you say "I like the thought that a woman can claim a part of the house as her own", dont you think you are disassociating with the rest of the house" Are you not narrowing down your thoughts, and becoming selfish? Having time only for yourself in any part of house is more justified and I think will give you more satisfaction.

    1. yes. What I suggest is a truly radical thought. Our grandmothers had their own special trunk that preserved their sentimental stuff. With sleek modern homes the lady of the day, does not get to have even that! And... only a person comfortable and happy inside can help and love others.


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