Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

12 Oct 2010, 8:06 a.m.

Draw A Tasteful Curtain

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2010 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

The other day my mother got on a plane to go to India. Last night, in my apartment with my husband and no one else, I fulfilled part of my dream by drinking wine while eating a salad while we watched Psych.

I leave again, of course, in less than two weeks' time. Since July, I haven't spent more than two weeks at a time in my own apartment. This is one reason why one of our living room windows currently has a torn sheet as a curtain placeholder. My mother and sister decided to give us the gift of drapes -- the gift that keeps on draping -- so on Sunday a few of us went to a big-box store (ugh, not my choice, but I pick my battles).

[Why do I get so grumpy about buying home-ish things like curtains and a nightstand and extra bedsheets? I have no expertise in the process or products (I wasn't involved in these decisions or processes growing up), so the stores and packages seem full of lies and superficial distinctions and chances to get it wrong. One has to choose for both function and form, and I am uncomfortable trying to be aesthetic. And I have a general allergy to homemaking and I'm not quite sure where it comes from (lack of expertise/psychological infrastructure, fear of doing it wrong, laziness, leftover knee-jerk function-over-form reflex, suspicion of companies and cultural forces trying to get me to buy things), just that I want to get rid of it.]

The draperie was a general gift, I think part of our delayed wedding-present collection. (Our wedding didn't provide affordances for Mom's gift-giving tendencies.) Because of my sister's upcoming wedding, Mom wants to give Leonard and me an additional, special gift. It is hard for her to buy us gifts, because we don't want/need gifts of clothes, money, metalwork, or religious paraphernalia. (At some point I stopped trying to tell Mom that really, she doesn't need to get me anything from India when she goes back and forth, so we have a sort of agreement that she'll give me sandalwood soap, Parle-G sugar cookies, and Amar Chitra Katha comic books.)

Mom was sitting in our living room, asking once more what Leonard and I wanted, since she wanted to give us something. Mom's inherent nature is altruistic; maybe the problem is that she passed it on to me, and so we clash because neither wants to take from the other. I looked around my living room and realized we could use some bookends. So Mom will get an artisan to hand-carve a few sets of bookends based on our ideas. If I just end this post here, does that still count as graceful bookending?


Thomas Thurman
12 Oct 2010, 8:50 a.m.

Do post photos of the bookends when they're made: I'd love to see.