“A home need not be perfect. It has to look and feel comfortable… and it has to look lived in!”- Mrs. Alaka Hudlikar.
So true, isn’t it? That’s how my role model, mentor, friend, guide & philosopher put it! In her seventies, her spirit towards life is not only laudable but infectious too! I am inspired by her…I want to be like her and I want to grow old like her…eloquent, active, alert, passionate and totally in sync with the current generation! Her life’s mission and passion, for the past 40 years, has been to train hearing impaired children to speak. She is a Speech Therapist. But to me- she is a ‘Life Coach’. She is the one who taught our daughter, Yashaana (with profound hearing impairment), speech and language that today she is one tough, confident cookie!
Alaka ma’am always says, ‘‘One has to IMMERSE the child in language that is relevant to his/her surroundings and then move forward’’. She has worked relentlessly in this field without advertizing or promoting herself ever. It is only now that some of us, especially Ruchi Goyal, who have posted a number of articles and videos to help and reach out to parents of HI children. Google – ‘Alaka Hudlikar’ and you’ll know what I mean.
Alaka ma’am is a walking encyclopedia on anything under the sun! You name it and she knows it; don’t go by her age! She is an avid reader, homemaker, gardener, activist, crusader, philanthropist; she dances (Bharatnatyam) to keep herself fit! Phew! The list is endless…some other day. She is a complete woman and an ultimate DIY-er! I dedicate my first post in ‘Worth a Dekko’ category to her and Uncle’s palatial duplex home. Her home is a reflection of her strong beliefs and her love for all things ethnic and vintage.
The table fan belonged to Alaka ma’am’s father-in-law and is more than 90 years old. It’s an original Italian Marelli Vintage fan and it still works!
The pre-war (WW I) German made clock, which is along the staircase to first floor, is in absolute working condition!
This pendant light is again more than 80 years old which she retrieved from her old bungalow ‘Padmini’. Its complete brass with handmade frosted glass.
The large Saraswati painting in her puja room was gifted to her by one of her HI students Deepa Shah. It is of Shri Akkalkot Swami Smarth; It is believed that he was an avatar of Brahma, Narasimha, Saraswati, Shripadh Shrivalabha and Dattatreya the Trimurti. On a whole, the depiction is in the form of Goddess Saraswati clad in white clothes, seated on a white lotus with a ‘Veena’ in her two hands, a ‘Veda’ in one hand and an ‘Ankush’ in another hand.
The painting was made for ma’am as she is an ardent devotee of Goddess Saraswati (the destroyer of ignorance) and Shri Akkalkot Swami Smarth. The basis of the painting is the Sanskrit shloka –
The ‘Warli’ and ‘Madhubani’, amongst other paintings are her some of her collectibles. The ‘Patwa’ paintings; she procured them from Spic Macay foundation who are instrumental in reviving this 900 year old folk art from Bengal.
The framed ‘City & Guild London Institutes’ certificates that adorn one of the walls of her landing foyer belong to her father-in-law, signed in 1919! Years ago she had fished them out of the trash that was about to be thrown away! And let me tell you these framed cerficates are the highlight of this part of the home.
And not to miss the tropical haven she has created at the around her home! I so regret not taking photos of her organic vegetable garden in her backyard. All this in the heart of the city!
Incidentally her home décor was adapted, as part of the sets, for the Hindi movie- English Vinglish!