The Godrej Cupboards
Did you have Godrej cupboards in your house? Almarihs? This is a sentimental recollection of GOJREJ cupboards at my home and how my family used them as a child.
Growing up in Pune, we had 6 loyal GODREJ cupboards in our house. One per person. They were made of solid galvanized iron with an ordinary brown but reliable paint, that chipped off only after i stuck bird and mickey mouse stickers on them. All our clothes would magically fit into these cupboards. Hidden under the folded clothes were precious chocolates, some secret notes my friends gave me or the small casio piano that i wanted to hide from my sister.
Dad’s closet was the most interesting. When we were very young, we could not afford a cupboard, so my dad, the clever engineer he is, had cordoned off an area with a curtain, that zzzziped open with the pull of a string. (I used to hide behind the curtains, when playing hide and seek or crying after a fight).
When he finally got a cupboard, It became our central bank; the single source for cash. Its “security” was tight: The keys were kept in full public view, at the same place, for 30 years…. which was ok, because we never had enough money to make it steal-worthy, a worry that middle class families never had. Dad’s closet never changed. He wore the same formal jacket and shoes to wedding receptions, which turned were 25 years old by the time I was in college.At family functions he would be gifted cloth, which he diligently stitched into trousers, making that the only way his clothing community grew.
Mom’s GODREJ cupboard was the most attractive to me. Neatly, her saris were hung in a row, along with their matching petticoat and blouse. These sari’s had a softness and a scent to them which I would experience by putting my face into it, making me feel exactly how I felt when I hugged mom...safe, secure and loved! Her salwars and long printed nightgowns (which is what most mom’s wear to sleep) were neatly folded and filled up all compartments tightly.
I don’t remember how my cupboard was as a child, because we had a uniform for school, and mom took responsibility to handle our frocks. As college approached, my cupboard got messy. Clothes were crumpled and thrown in, not because I was any different, but because mom stopped policing and organizing it. There is only one episode on record, about how I arranged my tangled cupboard. It was achieved by my sister faking that a mouse entered my cupboard (yes, there were mice in the house that came in from the garden). I screamed, and reacted by pulling 2 compartments of clothes out on the floor, which I had to fold back when I realised it was a trick.
One 10th standard summer, dad wanted to paint my cupboard. We were out in the veranda, digesting Pune’s summer heat (which I was uncomplainingly used to), and I was tasked with scraping off the paint. Once it was bare, we painted the cupboard purple, and because I wanted to be a ‘cool’ geeky teenager, I painted an “E = MC2” onto it, which no one really noticed.
I can’t understand how little I lived on. My current closet has tops and dresses hung in VIBGYOR order, shoes at the bottom, old clothes in a vacumn pack for space management and photography equipment delicately balancing somewhere in a corner. The IKEA drawer has chipped off in 5 years, and tips over if I put in too many clothes. The consumer in me has won.
Back home, the GODREJ cupboards still stand tall. Dada and Dadi passed away and their cupboards pours out memories, so I keep away. My cupboard is now filled with steel bowls my mother gets as diwali gifts, winter sweaters folded with moth balls in them, and my “US return” clothes. [Cross Posted on GreenOkPlease an online store that sells eco friendly organic substances and is passionate about the environment. Founded by my school friend Sweta]