The Real Laal Bungalow aka "Laal Bunglo"
The Laal Bungalow is a real place. In our family, it is known affectionately as "laal bunglo". It is the name of our fathers' childhood home in Baroda, India.
Laal means red - named so after the red brick exterior of the building
Bunglo is short for bungalow. Often the name of a common home in India.
Growing up, we were told endless stories about our fathers’ childhood misadventures at the “laalbunglo”. It was their home for 25 years. The home all four brothers were born into. Every week, the five of us would gather around our parents for story time and giggled as they recounted tales of misbehaving under the strict and tough watch of our grandparents.
Unfortunately, we never got to meet our grandparents. They passed away before any of us kids were born. Our dads kept a part of them alive by putting their picture up on the wall and telling their story. In this way, people can live beyond their time. It's funny/amazing isn't it how we only have two, maybe three photographs of our grandparents? When we pass, there will be hundreds, if not thousands of selfies, iPhone pics and some hard prints stored in some digital wasteland or an old shoebox. (*Side note reminder: take fewer, but better pictures. There's something to having less of something that makes it incredibly more valuable.)
I digress, Back to Storytime
As our dads talked about the “laalbunglo,” our imaginations ran wild. I imagined a gorgeous abode in that India Pink - that deep hot, yet earthy pink inspired right from India’s dhirti (earth). Creamy, clay like textured walls. Simmering aromas of chai and cardamom and saffron filling the air, turning the house into a home.
This was the laal bunglo of my imagination.
This is the laal bunglo of reality:
Vinod Patel, Kanta Ba, Jayram Patel stand on the agasi of the laal bunglo, 1978
Different and no less beautiful. Gorgeous for it’s reality. Stunning for the three wonderful men raised in it like millions of other Indian boys. Rich in the parenting, love, respect and values drilled into their minds by their mother, my grandmother, Kanta Ba.
The Laal Bungalow we are trying to create here is meant to deliver the romanticized version of India while honoring and staying true to the roots of our heritage. We love India. It is very much in our heart. But we are born and bred in America. And that is very much who we are. The Laal Bungalow is designed to explore the not so separate line between the two.
It is a love letter to our ancestors, an exploration of India’s influence on the rest of the world.
We hope your time spent here evokes curiosity, awe and excitement. We hope it fills you with an appreciation for the ancient traditions of India. We hope you leave here remembering we are all connected, no matter where we are from or where we are now. We hope you leave here with some gorgeous pieces for your home and your closet. We hope you feel inspired to live with a bit more “Laal” in your life.
A lifelong commitment to explore the dance between
Where India meets the American
Where ancient meets modern
Where tradition meets timeless
Where regal meets everyday
We want to send you home with a piece of our family. May the values instilled in us be passed onto you.
Xx + namaste