Being materialistic


Today has been a strange day. I sent away two pieces of furniture from home and I feel like there’s a huge void in my heart that’s represented by all the extra space in our home. Two pieces that made our house a home when Karthik and I were newly married. One, a two seater sofa that we lovingly called “madhuve sofa” and a coffee table that was made from old sofa frames that belonged to Karthik’s maternal grandfather.

My life’s mission has been to amass all things old that tell a story – sarees, utensils, homes, furnitures or just memories. I inherited an old wooden chest from my paternal grandfather, that belonged to his grandfather and so it’s probably over 150 years old. It sits quietly in my living room today and everytime I look at it, I feel like a part of him still remains with me. It’s funny how a materialistic thing does a better job at reminding me of him than plain old memory. Maybe memory fades faster with time than good teak wood.

All the furniture at home speak of people of the past, some we know and some we don’t and so, all of these people, including strangers, live on with us in our home. I love to think about what they could have done with these pieces and what their lives were like. Its funny how our lives intertwine with that of those we never knew and good wood has a way to play messenger. I feel immensely grateful to that we were chosen to share a part of their lives.

About 7 years ago, Karthik and I chanced upon this lovely couple who run a furniture store called Maram, who have since made almost every single piece of furniture that make our house a home. One of the first things you will notice (or not) about Maram is that it is not easy to spot since they are located on the terrace of a lovely house in the thick of a quiet residential area. The moment you enter the store, the whiff of good old teak wood transports you to a different era. The ambience is surreal and the people who run the store , Sheila and Krishna, are really special.

In an age when we want use and throw furniture that we can buy at the click of a button and part with yet another click, there exist people like Sheila and Krishna who custom-make furniture using refurbished wood that come from old furniture they collect from houses that are torn down (sigh!). This is shared economy that carries stories across years and transcends generations from a time before shared economy even became a thing. I am so glad Maram’s given me the privilege of hiding a little piece of me in these pieces of furniture forever.

Being materialistic is human. You know how they say we are born with nothing, we take back nothing when we die and while we are in between we amass materialistic things that mean the world to us. While we take nothing when we are gone (and I’m glad we don’t), we leave a little piece of us in materialistic things, genes and memories and I choose to lock my immortal remains in teak wood.


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