According to the Oxford dictionary, Verandah means a roofed platform along the outside of a house, level with the ground floor.
For me, Verandah (we called it “chawk”) brings back the beautiful childhood memories.
I grew up in a joint family where my uncles and aunts lived under the same roof but on different floors. My dad’s elder brother, referred to as Bade Papa, lived on the ground floor. We lived on the first floor. My dad’s younger brother, referred to as Kaka, lived on the second floor.
Growing up in a joint family is an exciting experience. Like most of the things in life, it has its own merits and demerits.
Anyways, the verandah played a critical role in bonding and connecting with the family.
Every family function, from our birthday party to Diwali, was celebrated there.
One of my favorite memories is playing gully cricket with my cousins there. We had created our unique rules for the game:
A batsman is out if he
- Hits the ball outside the house because of which we lost several balls.
- Hits any glass window. Although, we still broke several glass windows and got frequent punishment from Bade Papa.
- One tip, one hand where the fielder has to catch the ball after one bounce with one hand.
Oh man, it was fun. We would come back home from school and play cricket every evening.
Verandah’s significance wasn’t just limited to our childhood games. It also played a crucial role in every season.
- During winter, Udaipur becomes immensely cold. I would wrap myself in a thick blanket and sit under the sun and let my body soak its warmth. It was a great and pleasant feeling.
- During monsoon, Udaipur becomes a paradise as its beautiful lake would get filled with water. We had shades from where the water droplets tickled down and made a tinkling sound. I used to enjoy the ambiance while drinking a warm chai and eating hot pakodas.
- During summer, Udaipur becomes scorching and sultry. I would help my grandmother, lovingly called dadi, in making papads. She had a machine where we would put the batter and press it hard to make raw papad. Then we would spread it evenly on the cotton sheet to let it bake under the sun.
Every time, I think of home, the picture of verandah comes to my mind and bring back the memories of my childhood.