Step into a palm kissed abode

Step into a palm kissed abode

It is no easy task to get her to wax eloquent about anything else but her pet subject politics. Nonetheless, the outspoken ex-minister and MLC Nafees Fazal settles down in her cozy-panelled study and talks about the home she has lived in for the last 40 years ever since she married Hassan Fazal at the age of 16.

“My grandfather Moosa Sait was the Sheriff of Madras and bought this house for Rs 2,000 in 1924. He believed that one should invest one-third of one’s income in property, one-third in jewellery and keep one-third in liquid cash. He founded a trust, which held all the properties he had acquired in his lifetime and since, according to our traditions, the male line is the beneficiary of the income accruing from such properties, we decided to buy this home for ourselves from the trust,” she explains.

Set in a lovely quiet corner on Viviani Road near Richards Park, the superstructure of this old colonial- styled home, with its intimate garden and spot-lit coconut palms, have remained largely untouched but the interiors have definitely acquired Nafees’ stamp and seal.

“One has to remodel an old home to make it livable,” she says and the house has undergone visible changes. The old-fashioned wiring is concealed, the floors are now marble and many of the rooms inside have been panelled in wood. The old Burma teak doors are still intact as is the high-tiled ceiling criss- crossed with wooden beams. The windows and the ventilator have stained glass insets and richly glowing chandeliers, made in Turkey or from Bohemian crystal and blown-glass light up the rooms in jewelled tones.

Photographs of moments spent in the company of famous people line the walls and crystal and China Objets D’art from different European countries fill the carved display cabinets.

“My husband and I are believers in Vaastu and we have shifted some of the doors and entrances slightly for more favourable energy and we are adding a new wing at the rear,” she says.

“Politics has permeated every nook and crevice of this house at this juncture I’m thrilled that women are finally going to get 33 percent reservation in public office so that they can compete on a level playing field and take up issues that affect them most.

“After all, the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world,” she says in closing.

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