We lived in the government quarters and the walls of the house were not painted, they were whitewashed. It was an event in itself and as a kid, I absolutely loved that time of the year. I am sure for the elders in the family it must be tiring because they had to move all the furniture out and vacate the rooms. 


Baba would hire workers to whitewash the whole house. It was mostly done before Durga puja so the house was clean before welcoming the goddess. His favourite shade was light blue and he would always use that colour to paint the house. The workers were required to mix blue and white colours to reach the desired shade that baba wanted. He wouldn’t allow even a slight change in the shade and no wonder that looked really bright and beautiful. 


I had a gala time playing in the other rooms with heaps of things dumped there. It was such a joy to watch the workers do their preparations. They would make ladders with bamboo sticks, tie them tight with ropes and then climb on them with a bucket full of the whitewash and a brush. They would first apply a layer of white and then a layer of blue, which was approved by baba. 


Baba would be busy moving things and covering them with bedsheets. He would talk to the workers, ask them their names, about their families and their work. After a few hours, they would go for a lunch break. We also had our lunch exactly during that time and even the food during these 3-4 days was not the routine lunch but something quick and easy and I would wait for it. We had to keep the fans at full speed and also the windows open so the walls could dry quickly. I loved the smell of the newly whitewashed walls and they looked all new and beautiful.


For all those years we never changed the colour of the walls and we were also in love with it. It was during my sister’s wedding; my parents visited a lot of hotels for bookings and other stuff. There, they saw the walls of the rooms painted in light yellow and they loved it somehow. There and then they decided that they are going to try this new colour this time just before the wedding. They had high hopes that the house would look beautiful in yellow. Maa wanted a change for a long time and only this time baba also agreed.


While the wedding preparation was in full swing, we booked the workers for a whitewash in a week very close to the wedding date. This was the first wedding of our family and we were excited beyond imagination. Every day all four of us would sit and prepare lists of things to do. Baba took out his register and red pen to write the names of the people we were inviting. Maa took out another notepad to list down things we need to buy and then began the never-ending shopping. Clothes, jewellery, utensils, bags, shopping separately for the groom, for the bride, for the groom’s family and our relatives.


Finally, came the day to whitewash the house. We packed all our things in suitcases and stuffed some in the cupboards. There was huge storage space under the beds and it was all filled with things this time. As decided, this time we were going to try yellow, one that my parents saw in the hotel rooms. As usual, the rooms were vacated and the workers started whitewashing the walls. The blue was covered with white and then they started applying the much-awaited yellow. Initially, it looked a little different but we thought it might look better after the walls dry. Since we didn’t have much time, the whole event was wrapped up in a day and left us all tired. Late at night while having dinner, we looked at the walls and then looked at each other. Nobody was happy with the result. It looked dull, patchy and shabby.


The next morning, we took a closer look at the yellow walls in the bright sunlight and it looked the same. Maa and baba had already started quarrelling about the choice of colour and that it was a wrong decision to try a new colour just before the wedding. There was no chance we could arrange for another whitewash, neither did we have time to waste, nor the energy. During morning tea, lunch, evening tea and dinner, our only discussion was about the walls. Maa and baba couldn’t figure out where did they go wrong and why was it not looking as beautiful as the hotel. In the hotel, they had used paint and here at home we used whitewash and there is a lot of difference between the two, but by the time we realized it, it was too late. Baba surely was the one who was most upset and also the one who didn’t stop telling us why blue is the best!


How much we wished it could be undone, but that was not a possibility, so, we started finding new ideas. We covered the patchy areas with beautiful posters and wall hangings and gave a makeover to the entire house to an extent. The very next day we resumed the preparation, we divided the wedding cards among us and started writing the names and postal addresses on them. Maa sat with a bowl of turmeric and added a pinch at the corner of every card. The first card was then placed at the temple of our house, next at the temple in our society and then the distribution began.


What happened when we had guests? What did they say?



Coming up next-

X – Xenial (relation between host and guest)




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7 thoughts on “W – Whitewash and Weddings”

  1. The post title itself was so intriguing. I was chuckling at the fiasco between painting and whitewash. There are somethings you learn only after trying no?

  2. We’ve all had such disasters with wall paints. Thankfully we Indians are quite innovative in hiding our walls behind the decor and other stuff. 😀 I’m excited to learn what the guests said.

  3. Our quarters in Chittaranjan had whitewash and I so wishes to have a paintes room for me. And now, when we live in a painted house, I so long for my small room with simple whitewash of yellowish white, with a book shelf, my study desk with the deaktop, a fridge, a tv, and a bed. Everything was so perfect there. I had a corner beside my desk where I used to paste my favorite quotes. It was my small world of happiness and alone time. But I don’t have this room in our painted house. I miss it very much every day.

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