I don't, actually. I was born in a nursing home, which was actually the ground floor of the doctor's two-storey house. I remember seeing the place a number of times and my mother pointing it out, but I do not remember anything about the interiors.
My first memories of home are of of my family's haphazard, added-to-in-bits-and-parts house in Barrackpore, which is a small town near Kolkata in West Bengal. [The town was so named because of the barracks built for the British soldiers when the East India Company set up their first cantonment in India in this place in the eighteenth century.]
It (my home, not the barracks) began as a two-room house built when my grandparents came over with their four children during the Partition of India in the 1940s; the plot of land purchased after selling most of my dida's (father's mother) gold wedding ornaments. Such stories are common to many people when they were all uprooted during the Partition upheaval.
When my father got married, a room was built on the roof : this became our room, our corner of the house. More rooms were added later, when my cousin (my uncle's son) got married, when it was decided to have a "drawing room"....During the early years of my growing-up, the house seemed to be frequently under construction - rooms added, verandahs (balconies) elongated or grilled, a jalchaad (special roofing to keep the house cool in the very hot Indian summers) added, the red clay tiles covering a section of the house replaced with concrete roofing. As the inhabitants of the house got jobs/promotions and began to earn money, this new-found affluence would usually result in a new add-on (which was also an accepted way of impressing the neighbours).
The house was white-washed every two-years, usually in summers before the rains came; I remember the hullabaloo which this would cause. The workmen would erect bamboo scaffolding all over the place, climbing up and down the unsteady makeshift ladders quickly and easily, balancing paintcans and brushes. I envied their lithe grace; and I remember that once I climbed up a ladder but was too scared to come down till somebody rescued me. My dadu (granddad) hated moving out of his chosen spot in his downstairs room, so the workmen would have to paint around him, all the other things in the rooms shifted elsewhere, or shrouded in plastic sheets/old newspapers to protect them. Yet the paint would manage to fleck the furniture anyway, and for days afterwards we (my brother and I) would scrape bits of whitelime off cupboards and beds.
I liked the smell of the freshly-painted rooms, the golden-yellow of the kitchen and the blue-tinged white of the other rooms. I liked the way the house looked from the road outside, dazzling white in the sunlight. I also liked the fact that the new paint would keep away the lizards (geckoes) (for a few days at least), which would otherwise crawl all over the walls and ceilings in the evenings, catching insects, hiding behind light fixtures in the daytime.
How do you remember the home you spent your childhood in?