The Complete Guide to Modular Kitchens....Part I
I recollect the beautiful red and yellow pencil case that I used to take to school as a child. It was rare! Because it came from Dubai.....my friends adored the different water bottles, erasers that cleaned the pencil written scripts without leaving a mark, the colourful dresses I wore for birthday parties....!
We Indians do have an eye for quality products and lets accept the fact.....we love anything that's imported! ( The other day my friend flaunted a top which she apparently had picked from USA. It was a cotton , embroidered black top.......we argued over its origin.....it looked Indian to me, but she wished it should at least be from Thailand. But it so happened that it was Made in India! ;)
One of the biggest change Indians have seen in the past few years is the need for a Modular Kitchen in their house. The transition from the typical dingy Indian Kitchen to the Ultra modern Kitchen has come a long way since last 25 years.
The Kitchen.....as it was....!
God! From where have we emerged! I loved the old charm of my hometown kitchen. The layout is designed very practically for the lady of the house to move around and cook a sumptuous meal. A typical stone for grinding, a peep window through which the well could be directly accessed with a pulley and steel bucket, the firewood scattered around near the stove and the grand meal! I used to gaze through the greasy horlicks bottles which had salt, sugar, oil, tamarind, lentils etc and the puttu steamer, supposedly brass, but now black in colour due to the firewood!Those were the days....
Black was the colour.....
Black were the vessels....
Black was the ceiling...
So black were my feet....
We were content! There was enough space in the kitchen, more than sufficient space to store the essentials and utensils. Our ancestral home had a main kitchen followed by a huge work area where I remember seeing all my aunts busy ....grinding the dosa batter, grating coconuts for the chutney and curries, pounding the rice, cutting vegetables, cleaning the fish, dressing the chicken and what not!
The main kitchen also had a store room where all the essentials were stored in sacks, cloth bags and huge wooden boxes. There was also a granary, but we children were never allowed to venture into that room! I wonder...why?
When my dad got transferred to Chennai, we all got transferred too! So, I felt! We lived in a small apartment in Chennai. The transition was not smooth. Honestly, I felt like a bird in a cage, doesn't matter if the cage is golden or steel. My mom managed everything skillfully. We had a very small kitchen and I remember the kitchen with a concrete counter top. We were content there too. My legs never turned black, though! I loved to shop for those cute plastic shelves/ stands that we bought from T Nagar, to organise the lentils,spices etc.
The need to organise our kitchen had begun thenceforth! Once I accompanied my aunt to her friends' flat, where I saw a beautifully organised kitchen with tiles on the wall and a tiled counter top. I fell in love with the kitchen! I decided then and there, that this is how my kitchen would look like, when I grow up.
My dad got transferred to Dubai. However, we stayed back in Chennai. He used to send pictures of the lovely flat he stayed in and once, he sent a picture of the kitchen where he cooked all those yummy dishes! I was bowled over. It was a white kitchen with some colourful tiles. I decided then and there, again.....! This is it!!
This was the first ever Modular Kitchen I had seen. 33 years back. Yes.
The Kitchen.....in the making!
Since then, when I look back.......the change has been gradual, though slow. From traditional cudappa stones to marbles to granite to acrylic surfaces to Caesar stones......we have come a long way!
Indians have thankfully realised that modular kitchens are the need of the hour as the lives have become faster, easier and as homes are shrinking in size. Now when we look at our kitchen, I just see a 11 ft by 9 feet space , within which, I have to grind, roast, dress, clean,wash, cut, cook, store and may be....eat!
With spaces as small as 6 ft by 7 ft, designing a kitchen is the biggest challenge for most designers.
Indian cooking remains the same, except for the few appliances that has made our lives easier. When I see a floor plan with a very compact kitchen, I know that we have got some real challenging work in hand. Modular kitchens are the need of the hour. Its' made our lives simpler for sure.
The Kitchen......as is!
Celebrating the kitchens of today.........and Signing off....with a promise that I would dig deeper into the history of modular kitchens or....lets put it this way, the Making of Modular Kitchens for Indian homes!