Sunday, February 8, 2009

Laid-back house

As with most things old and stately, this house - Mithila - on TTK Road would also be easy to miss, but for the sudden contrast it makes with its neighbours. Where all the other buildings along the road try to get as close to the road as possible, this one stands back, allowing a sweep of driveway to get to the house. Walking down the driveway, one gets a chance to admire the different trees that have been planted all around the house, creating a feeling of it being more jungle lodge than house.

It is a house, of course, one that has been well maintained by Mrs & Mr Nagoji Rao. The high ceilings, topped off with the Madras Terrace - something that I had not seen for long years - helped to keep the heat off one's back. At first look, the house appears symmetrical, but it is not entirely so. Of course, the verandahs on the sides have now been covered with grilles and are therefore quite different from the one in front. But it is the corner rooms that are fascinating; two of them are heptagons and the other two are hexagons, something that is not recognizable until one is actually inside those rooms.

The house was built in 1931 by T Ramachandra Rao, who was a descendent of one of the oldest Maharashtrian families to have settled in Madras. Ramachandra Rao was a successful businessman, and was also very much into public life. It is certainly not a coincidence that the Maharastra Nivas in Chennai is just a couple of doors away from Mithila!

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