Josna Rege

376. Verandas

In blogs and blogging, India, Inter/Transnational, places, Stories, United States, Words & phrases on April 27, 2016 at 7:22 am


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  Theme: Bringing Me Joy

V-1In the United States they’re more commonly called porches. In India, though, and around much of the world, they are veranda(h)s—roofed, sometimes partly enclosed porches that extend from a house at the ground-floor level.

The word’s origin is disputed, but it comes to English from the Hindi varanda and other Indian languages and is also found in Portuguese and Spanish, so it is one of the many that entered the English language during the colonial era.

We have a hundred-year old New-England farmhouse with porches in front and back, but I prefer to call the front extension a veranda, because as soon as I set foot in it I breathe different air and seem to enter a different world altogether.

Situated on the north side of the house, it is a cool, peaceful place. A small sign reminds visitors to remove their shoes. Cane chairs and a comfy couch present themselves, evoking a slower past. Stress and striving fall away. The whir of ceiling fans shuts out the hum of traffic on the road outside and the workaday world recedes. A green shade; a homecoming.

Verandas of my youth were shady, protected spaces neither in nor out. Drinking water sat cooling in earthenware jugs on our back veranda, which looked out on an old hammock slung between two jamun trees.

While the veranda beckons, the workday ahead of me demands attention. I reluctantly bid it farewell, for now. But life is as it should be on the veranda. I intend to sit quietly there, alone or with friends, fans swishing slowly, through many a long, hot summer evening; the definition of happiness.

Not long now.

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  1. I’m in Australia and we call them verandahs. Porches are generally smaller and are the entry to the house… a protected area but not a living area. Verandahs can be enclosed (screened) or open. Some homes in Australia have verandahs all around. My husband’s extended family had a house which had verandahs all around… he remember running around it as a chid

  2. Interesting. I didn’t know veranda was a Hindi word. Yours looks lovely and peaceful!

  3. The pictured verandah (I hope it is yours!) looks lovely. We have a solarium that should be three feet wider, but it has a wall of ceiling to floor windows on the south side.The trees and over hang keep it shady in the summer. The only think missing is that more of the windows should open. But then we are not out in the country so just as well :/

    I do love to sit there and watch the rain and the sun and the trees come out or just bare branched. I like the sound of verandah. Porch has more of a working area sound.
    Finding Eliza

  4. What could be better than to do a bit of work from the varanda? We have them at work, but I need a cloudy day to get out there with my laptop. I could spend hours on one like that …

  5. Swishing fans, jamun trees, water in surahis: Josna, I love your definition of happiness. It looks a lot like mine with a pinch of nostalgia.

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