‘Everybody can close their eyes, picture a dream house or a perfect place [where] they'd like to have a picnic. But actually creating it - how do you create something from nothing? Anyone who's creative understands that that's the magic, that's the alchemy.’ - Billy Corgan
When we go abroad, we feel so elated. Why do we feel so good traveling to Europe or Canada, Australia or the US? Have you ever thought of that? While we talk of our soft power, we have a lot to learn from them.
Let me tell you two simple points one it is the cleanliness of the cities, two, all the homes are decorated from the outside- yes decorated in most cases. Each owner takes pride in the exterior may be more than the interior of the home.
Travelling to Scotland, UK, and Netherlands I found each home so well decorated from the outside. It was a treat to walk around the homes in the evening and each open space was delicately manicured as if to compete in a competition ‘whose facade is the best’? They were like doll houses- most of them.
This was not done by the county councils or city Municipal Corporation but was done by every individual- with, love dedication and hard work and of course a bit of investment.
They would put up beautiful flower pots, nice decoration pieces, toys, little handmade curious, small paintings and some colored stones very tastefully- creativity at its best. Special wrought iron planters, baskets, spillers and trailing plants on the walls and balconies with lovely seasonal colored flowers could make your day. Windows had nice laced curtains and even a small open patch had grass. Some of the houses in downtown London were literally concreted and there was not a blade of grass. I asked my friend about those homes and he gave me a wry smile and said ‘They are mostly homes of Asians’!
He added ‘They just don’t want to put in any effort to make their homes- homes. Inside they may have the best furniture and gadgets but outside it is – zero effort zero maintenance attitude. Just cemented flat frontage!
Even in India of late people buy homes in societies which are ‘well maintained’ and look good. Here also a person pays for maintenance but makes no or very little effort to shake a leg or move his royal behind to spend even a few minutes towards making exteriors look good.
Prime Minister Modi started a ‘Swatchch Bharat’ Movement to keep our surroundings clean. Imagine a Prime Minister telling us to keep our cities clean. For this also ‘nay Sayers’ had to say something silly- Some said ‘nothing has been done, still we have dirt on the streets, dirty drainages, unkempt trees and a long list of complaints. Yes, work is in progress and it has at least started. Of course, there has been a huge public awareness and people think twice before throwing garbage on the roads or in public places. Even if a movement has 30% impact it is a success.
Outside of our homes is our own responsibility. We live in an upmarket place with a down market attitude. Yes we live in homes costing us crores but are reluctant to do our facades.
Some are a step ahead
Driving or parking a dirty car in Dubai can incur a fine of around AED 500 on the owner.
Be prepared to be slapped with a fine of approximately 2000 Roubles for driving a dirty car in Russia.
You cannot drive a dirty car in these countries, that is the level of cleanliness and aesthetics they look into.
“We shape our homes and then our homes shape us.” – Winston Churchill
Time for us to act
We cannot expect a government directive to keep the façade of our homes nice and bright. We spend so much money on salons, face massages and face creams to make us look good. People spend thousands on spas –no harm done. But do we spend even a fraction of it on the outside or exteriors of our homes?
Most of the buildings and bungalows look unkempt, dirty, and even dilapidated from the outside- yuk. The moment you enter that tenement it looks so swanky and cool.
Why can’t we change the attitude of making the exteriors of our homes look good. We need to take pride in it.
If we take a video footage then India, Pakistan or Bangladesh look pretty much the same- as far as exteriors of homes are concerned. From Patna to Peshawar to Pabna, all look the same.
Let us not worry about Pakistan or Bangladesh, it is time to a call for ourselves. Let me tell you it will not cost you a bomb but it will make a huge difference to your self-esteem if you come to think of it.“May this home be where you come back to feel alive, not a place to store your worries but a place to let joy thrive. May any darkness be graced with light and may you find comfort and rest each night. May this home be more than a collection of rooms; may this be a space to let love bloom.” – Jennifer Williamson