An architect for the house : The Tribune India -

An architect for the house : The Tribune India

Simran Sidhu

Mom was 10 when she heard her father discuss with her mother, ‘We can’t afford an architect.’ She wondered what an architect was, and realised what he does when her lawyer father took her small notebook and started drawing with a pencil, the design of their new house. Soon, the notebook was filled up. And one of those pencilled rough designs was passed on to the construction labourers to be used to construct their house. The house was built without an architect.

Mom grew up in that house. Years later, her parents betrothed her. ‘What does he do?’ she asked shyly. When she was told that he was an architect, she was surprised. ‘Can we afford one?’ she asked them. They understood what she meant. They replied, ‘He doesn’t need any dowry.’ She smiled. Ironically, she got married to an architect in the garden of that same house, which was built without an architect. After the wedding, she went with her husband to live with her in-laws, who made her realise everyday that she still couldn’t afford their architect son.

Years later, her mother was transferred to another city. Wanting to save their dear house from utter neglect, the parents asked their daughter and son-in-law, who were living in a rented accommodation, to shift to their house for a few years, while they would be away to another city.

The architect set up his office in the house. The girl, who once didn’t know the meaning of an architect, suggested half the name of her husband’s firm. The wall that was built without an architect, now proudly displayed the architect’s board. The house that was built with a pencilled drawing was now strewn with endless inked blue-stencilled plans, signed by the architect with his stamp. While the architect continued attending to the endless clients in his office, the house still quietly waited for an architect.

The house had grown old waiting for an architect. Seeing the dilapidated state of the house, finally one day the architect decided to renovate it. He started making detailed drawings of the house. He marvelled at the common sense of his father-in-law who had built it, without consulting an architect.

After all the requisite drawings were completed, the architect took up the renovation. The parapets of the house were constructed by giving the construction labourers stencilled drawings, all the facets of the house that were left incomplete during its construction decades ago were finally completed, the old bungalow was given a modern touch while retaining its old essence, the walls were painted afresh with subtle colours of the architect’s choice, and even the design of the garden was supervised by the architect.

After a few years, when mom’s parents were back and were handed over their house, they could see the invisible stamp of an architect on it. After decades of wait, their house had finally got an architect.

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