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Friday, November 13, 2009

Faces of huts:

I am going to write about those huts in which I lived and have felt with my senses.

To begin with…ever since I was a child, I dream of living in mud house, tree house and use to depict that look and feel in my doll house.I still remember Igloo (housing structure in Polar Regions or say ice house), kind of structure which my brother introduced to me when I was in nursery who was one year older than me. He used to tie two ends of the long bed sheet to the desert cooler and once it was switched on and all the sides of bed sheet was closed with the help of  pillows, the air used to blow the sheet and formed enclosed structure . That was a paradise. We used to play in that and for us that was our real home. Further, variations of it were seen when we were growing up. Three- four dining chairs were kept one after the other and then they were covered from the top by bed sheet. Bed sheet formed the roof and the back rest of chair formed the walls. Chairs one after other used to form different cells for room. At that age our body was so small that such customize cell also felt to be bigger. After this phase came the other phase.
I remember once there was a heavy wind because of which our huge mango tree fell on the ground within our house boundary and that was fun and it happened during vacation time. It had fell in such a manner that it formed two huge rooms and was like leaf hut.
All the children of our society had a great time for a week until the leaves wore out.
We used to eat, sleep and play in that leafy hut from morning till evening.

Furthermore, when my brother, sister grew older and I still could not give up my urge of playing house-house game, I made friends from my neighborhood and  every evening we used to go to barren land nearby our house locality on which few cement rings were lying which was used to make wells.
We, were three of us and each ring was occupied by each of us and for us that ring was our house and we used to invite other children to our place for food which was wild flowers, leave and sands.. ha ha ha
And no more than that, for us that was rice, chapatti and vegetables.
Childhood is always a memory, I thank God it is still sharp and fondly expanded in me and my dementic mind will never forget it.
Gone are those days and time swept by, and then I came to Indian Institute of Crafts and Design, a place I had never thought it would offer me an opportunity for turning my dream into reality.
In our Ngo training, I got to live in different huts in different places and they were made differently but yet so similar.

So true, our nature is the best example of unity in diversity.
Starting with Aruvacode, a small settlement in hill top of Kerala, near Thrissur, where I did 15 days of my Ngo training in terracotta craft. I remember it was rainy afternoon in Aruvacode when I reached and stepped into Jinan’s place which was small and a modern version of hut. My eyes were only on the elemental detailing of the house.
From there I went to Rajni’s place where I lived for seven days. It’s so true, how sudden your dream comes true that you don’t even get to realize it.It was made up of brick structure on to which mud was plated and rooms were separated by half walls. Roof was made up of wooden log structure on to which thikris, (terracotta curvilinear structure) was placed.

The most striking and logical use was of transparent glass I saw there.It was smartly inserted in place of thikiris with the column support of wood log. Thikri roofing are done on wooden grid structure, wood logs are placed in vertical and horizontal alignment and form column and rows.
Glass plate helped sunlight to pass through and thus cut the use of power during the day time and brings natural warmth inside the house.
Our villages knowingly and unknowingly lived in green ways and are so compatible with nature. However situation contradicts from place to place.
Moving to Baswa, a Kasbah in Rajasthan known for its terracotta cluster.
Here, I find hut, houses made of brick, stone and cement. Since, It was a Kasbah (settlement of banjarans and people from different places), people dwelled in a house that was economical to them.
I really liked the way they make the structure for the mud house and every Diwali you will get to see renovation of their mud house and the way they repair the damaged part of the house.
It is the best example of utilizing the terracotta waste. They reuse the broken garden pots and stack them to form pillars for the structure and after forming the skeleton of the house, mud are thrown uniformly till it cover up the whole structure and forms wall. It is left to solidify and onto that cow dung is plated uniformly as a sacred ritual. Roofing is done by thikris and hays & straws. For ventilation, kitchen chimney and room’s window, hollow garden pot to which you can see through are used, must say great minds.
In kitchen you will see smart use of pots for hanging spoons and other accessories. There drainage is also well designed but it limits to a place where whole household waste coagulates though far from house but are prone to diseases.

Now coming to Orissa- a state I was born in, in this place bamboo is used as foundation for the skeleton structure of huts and they are sandwiched by mud and are left until they solidify, here also huts are plated by cow dung. Surface decorations are done by gheru & rice paste in traditional motif and designs.

New addition to the article-

Now after coming to Kutch I am like getting confused by so many different kinds of huts and all of them so interesting. I really like Bhunga and dream of having two to three bhungas in my own house. Since I am adding to this old post of mine after seeing bhunga’s of Kutch. I will import more detail on it from: as I feel it is clearly articulated here.

Few days back I was going through north eastern huts where all tribes or say caste is having a different style of hut and that are their identity like earlier in many places the safa or different kind of topi were used to determine the position of a person professionally as well caste wise. The same way their huts do the job.

However, huts are now a days, not area specific but demand and need specific. You may find various design of hut in same place. Everything is getting customized and available with time, so are the huts.
But contradiction is traditions are preserved and persevere.
Article by
Subrata Pandey


swapna samir said...

hey.. that’s a really good post.

The way u have explained things here gives me a clear idea of your dynamic personality.
you not only have explained the design of those huts but their construction mechanics as really have done a great job in articulating the latter concepts .
The illustration of the ”mango house” is awesome.
Well , I never enjoyed those type of games when I was a child, but they way u have explained things here makes it interesting.

waiting eagerly for ur next blog :)

Subrata said...

Thanks Samir for encouagement. Y I have lots to post just short of time. You can check new post in this two days.